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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

March 2014 Volume 65
Community Energy Challenge (CEC) Monthly Update

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Welcome to the Community Energy Challenge Monthly Update, a monthly publication by EPA New England promoting energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy.

Disclaimer: Some of the events, articles and websites listed in this email are not sponsored by EPA. EPA is listing them for your information only. EPA is not responsible for the content of information from non-EPA sources, and does not endorse any commercial product, service, enterprise, or policy that may be included.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Manchester, NH – Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference **Travel Grants Available** – May 19-20
  2. U.S. EPA and Freddie Mac to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Regional Hubs to Mitigate Climate Change Impacts

ARTICLES

  1. Connecticut Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation
  2. Mayors from Ten U.S. Cities Announce City Energy Project Partnership
  3. Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Presents Green Communities Awards
  4. Vermont Makes Available up to $6.5 million in Energy Efficiency Loans

EVENTS

  1. Kingston, RI – Home Energy School – March 8
  2. Burlington, VT – Zero Energy Homes Retrofit Pilot Meeting – March 10
  3. Augusta, ME – Climate Solutions Expo & Summit 2014 – March 12
  4. Orange, CT – Solar for Your Home – March 22
  5. Plainfield, NH – Hands-on demonstration on Restoring Historic Wooden Windows for Energy Efficiency – March 30
  6. Waterbury, VT – 8th Annual LEAP Energy Fair – April 5
  7. Tilton, NH – 6th Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference – April 12

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. U.S. Department of Energy Announces Funding to Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid – deadline April 28
  2. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15 or until funds run out
  3. Efficiency Maine Home Energy Savings Program
  4. Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources "Energy Resiliency for Climate Adaptation Initiative"

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. Smartgrowth webinar – Scenario Planning and Fiscal Impact Modeling – March 10
  3. U.S. EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board Releases Report on Financing and Implementing Municipal Energy Efficiency Projects
  4. U.S. EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program launches new tool AVERT
  5. U.S. EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update to National Stormwater Calculator
  6. U.S. EPA Releases Annual Climate Protection Partnerships Report
  7. U.S. EPA Releases Guide for Local Governments on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Green Power
  8. U.S. EPA releases eGRID with year 2010 data
  9. ENERGY STAR releases New Guide for Cafes, Restaurants & Institutional Kitchens
  10. Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP)Releases Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy
  11. Researchers Release Report on Green and Cool Roofs as Urban Adaptation Strategies

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Manchester, NH – Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference **Travel Grants Available** – May 19-20
    Antioch University New England and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Regions 1 and 2 are hosting a regional conference for local planners, decision-makers and educators to understand how to create healthy resilient communities that are better prepared to handle severe weather and climate impacts.

    Days 1 & 2
    The first two days of the conference are about Building Resilient Communities. The program will inform community planners, decision makers and those responsible for implementing change at the local level how best to identify current and future vulnerabilities, followed by adaptive responses to build resilient communities.

    Day 3
    The third day, the Educators Summit, will inform middle and high school teachers how to design community-based, problem-solving curriculum that will teach students how best to support municipal officials preparing for impacts from a changing climate.

    Looking for travel grant support to participate in LOCAL SOLUTIONS? Check out opportunities.

    Register.
  2. U.S. EPA and Freddie Mac to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings
    The U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR program and Freddie Mac signed a memorandum of understanding designed to reduce carbon emissions while increasing the affordability of multifamily housing properties. The agreement outlines strategies to save water, energy, and money for multifamily property owners and residents. The agreement supports the President's Climate Action Plan, which calls for helping multifamily buildings cut waste and becoming at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020.
  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Regional Hubs to Mitigate Climate Change Impacts
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the creation of Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change at seven locations around the country. The "Climate Hubs" are designed to address increasing risks such as fires, invasive pests, heavy floods, and droughts on a regional basis, aiming to translate science and research into information to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners on ways to adapt and adjust their resource management. The announcement is part of the President's Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gases, slow the effects of climate change, and put America on track to a cleaner environment.

    The Northern Research Station of the Forest Service in Durham, NH, has been selected to serve as the Northeast region's center of climate change information and outreach to mitigate risks to the agricultural sector.

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ARTICLES

  1. Connecticut Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation
    The new Institute for Community Resiliency and Climate Adaptation is a collaboration between the University of Connecticut, the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    The Institute is designed to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities and individuals along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways as they are affected by the growing impact of climate change on the environment. By bringing together experts in a wide range of academic disciplines and by developing cutting-edge research to solve practical problems, the UConn/DEEP/NOAA partnership will facilitate development of strategic plans for protecting the state's coastal region.
  2. Mayors from Ten U.S. Cities Announce City Energy Project Partnership (PDF) (3 pp, 62 K)
    Mayors from ten major U.S. cities announced a new partnership called the City Energy Project (CEP), an effort intended to increase the energy efficiency of city buildings, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and lower energy costs by nearly $1 billion annually. CEP is to be administered by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation. The ten participating cities are Atlanta, Georgia; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; New York City, New York; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; and Salt Lake City, Utah.
  3. Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Presents Green Communities Awards
    The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs presented the communities of Ashby, Lunenburg, and Westford with $446,600 in Green Communities grants to fund municipal clean energy projects. These municipalities are now three of the 123 Green Communities across the Commonwealth making investments in clean energy.
  4. Vermont Makes Available up to $6.5 million in Energy Efficiency Loans
    The Public Service Department of Vermont, the Clean Energy Development Fund, and the Vermont Low Income Trust for Electricity have made $670,000 in funding available to help attract up to $6.5 million in private sector funding for energy efficiency investments. The program is projected provide up to 1,300 homes with $5,000 loans for energy efficiency.

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EVENTS

  1. Kingston, RI – Home Energy School – March 8
    9:00 PM – 2:30 PM
    Center for Biotechnology & Life Sciences, 120 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881

    Join the University of Rhode Island at their Kingston Campus for the first Home Energy School. You'll learn the fundamentals of energy conservation and efficiency, and walk away with useful tools to help you save energy and money at home and on the road.
  2. Burlington, VT – Zero Energy Homes Retrofit Pilot Meeting – March 10
    6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
    Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, The Innovation Center, 128 Lakeside Avenue, 4th Floor, Burlington VT

    The South Burlington Energy Committee, in conjunction with Efficiency Vermont, will be hosting this event.

    Efficiency Vermont's Zero Energy Homes pilot study is a one-year effort to promote and develop the science, economics and knowledge-base for ultra-low energy homes in Vermont. Li Ling Young, of Efficiency Vermont, will discuss how a home becomes a Zero Energy Home, what the likely costs are, and financing options. Find out whether your home is a candidate for aggressive energy savings. Throughout 2014 you can take advantage of Efficiency Vermont's special support for Zero Energy Homes, including consultations between the homeowner and an Energy Consultant and design assistance for your contractor. Come with your most lofty home energy aspirations and your questions.

    Pizza will be served.

    Please RSVP to Keith Epstein (keithepstein@gmail.com), of the South Burlington Energy Committee
  3. Augusta, ME – Climate Solutions Expo & Summit 2014 – March 12
    8:00 AM – 5:00PM
    Augusta Civic Center, Community Drive, Augusta, ME

    Two concurrent events on one day: Across Maine, families, farms, small businesses, schools, organizations and governments are engaged in exciting initiatives to solve climate change. Climate Solutions will showcase these initiatives, bringing people together to explore practical and sustainable climate solutions here in Maine.

    Expo: What We Can Do Now – free and open to the public with exhibits and presentations

    Summit: What Should We Do Together? – $25 registration required
    • 8 am to 9 am – check in and networking
    • 9 am to noon – morning session: mitigation
    • noon to 1 pm – lunch (included in registration fee)
    • 1 pm to 4 pm – afternoon session: adaptation
    • 4:30 pm – legislative panel
    What to expect at Climate Solutions
    • Climate science from climate scientists
    • Renewable energy solutions from Maine's leading providers
    • Policy challenges and ideas from Maine's politicians
    • Action opportunities with organizations around our state
    • Ideas and partners for real solutions
    For more information or to get involved, please contact Karen Marysdaughter (207-525-4538) or Fred Horch (207-522-6844)
  4. Orange, CT – Solar for Your Home – March 22
    10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
    SmartLiving Center, 297 Boston Post Road, Orange, CT

    Join a Free Informational Seminar at Energize Connecticut's SmartLiving Center presented by Brendan Smith, Systems Designer of Sunlight Solar Energy. Learn the basics of how solar energy works and find out if solar is the right option for you. Learn how solar can be more affordable by incorporating weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades in your home. Gain valuable knowledge from experts on the correct size system for your home based on energy needs.

    Topics covered will include state and federal incentives, new solar financing available to homeowners, detailed explanation of both grid-tied solar electric systems & solar hot water systems and much more.

    Register by calling the SmartLiving Center at (203) 799-0460
  5. Plainfield, NH – Hands-on demonstration on Restoring Historic Wooden Windows for Energy Efficiency – March 30
    1:00 PM
    Plainfield Town Hall, Route 12 A, Plainfield, NH

    Do you have old wood windows and would like to restore or replace them to save energy and money?

    Sally Fishburn, owner of S.A. Fishburn, Inc., an historic preservation company, will present a lecture with a hands-on demonstration on Restoring Historic Wooden Windows.

    The lecture will include information on the history, materials, and construction of wooden windows, restoration vs. replacement windows, energy efficiency, working with lead paint, window maintenance and restoration methods. It will be of interest to those who “do it yourself” as well as those who might hire an expert restorer.

    Presented by the Plainfield Historical Society and Plainfield Energy Committee and Co-Sponsored by Historic Windsor and the NH Preservation Alliance.
  6. Waterbury, VT – 8th Annual LEAP Energy Fair – April 5
    9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
    Crossett Brook Middle School Gym, 5672 Vermont 100, Waterbury, VT

    Waterbury, VT's Local Energy Action Partnership is holding its 8th annual Energy Fair, one of the largest energy fairs in Vermont:
    • Tour 70+ exhibits and talk with experts
    • Learn how to reduce fuel bills, save energy and shrink emissions
    • Participate in break-out discussions on many interesting topics
    • Walk through weatherization and energy demonstration projects
    • Enjoy children's activities and student projects
    • Shop localvore at the Waterbury Farmer's Market
  7. Tilton, NH – 6th Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference – April 12
    Winnisquam Regional High School, 435 West Main Street, Tilton, NH

    Brought to you by the New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group, the annual LES conference provides critical resources, information, and guidance for local governments and school districts across the state seeking to implement an energy reduction project in their municipality. The conference provides an ideal forum to meet and learn from other New Hampshire residents who have successfully implemented an energy project, hear best practices, identify financing options, and much, much more!

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. U.S. Department of Energy Announces Funding to Improve the Resiliency of the Electric Grid – deadline April 28
    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $7 million through the “Microgrid Research, Development, and System Design” Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). The FOA is intended to develop the design of technologies that will help communities become more adaptive and prepared for power outages caused by severe weather and other events. The FOA targets teams of communities, technology developers and providers, and utilities to develop advanced microgrid controllers and system designs that will help communities take a new and comprehensive approach to microgrid design and implementation.

    More information on the funding opportunity is available.
  2. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center – Commonwealth Wind Development Grants – deadline May 15 or until funds run out
    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is pleased to invite applications for grants to support the development of community wind and commercial wind projects.

    Community wind projects may use development grants for both development activities (such as permitting, environmental impact evaluation, geotechnical studies, public outreach, interconnection studies, etc.) and for construction activities (such as turbine procurement, erection and commissioning). Commercial wind projects may only use development grants for development activities.

    This solicitation describes the general scope, grant levels, application process and payment process. Applications may be submitted at any time and will be accepted for evaluation on a first-come, first-served basis.

    As the program evolves over time, this solicitation may be updated or withdrawn without notice.
    MassCEC expects applications will be accepted through May 15, 2014.

    Please contact commwind@masscec.com with any questions.

    Apply.
  3. Efficiency Maine Home Energy Savings Program
    Slash energy costs by at least 20%
    Upgrade your heating system, weatherize your home, or make other improvements to lower your energy bills with Home Energy Incentives and a Home Energy Loan.
    • Receive up to $1,500 in incentives
    • Upgrade your heating system and building envelope
    • Connect with heating and home performance contractors
    • Finance up to $25,000 with 4.99% APR financing and no closing fees
    • Make low monthly payments and offset the cost of your loan through your energy savings
  4. Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources "Energy Resiliency for Climate Adaptation Initiative" (PDF) (1 pg, 411 K, about PDF)
    Mass DOER's "Energy Resiliency for Climate Adaptation Initiative" is part of the Patrick Administration's comprehensive climate change preparedness effort. The grant program is focused on municipal resilience: protecting communities from interruptions in energy services due to severe climate events enhanced by the effects of climate change.

    DOER will engage with other state agencies, regional planning agencies, and the utilities to prepare for this initiative. Grants will be available for communities to harden critical energy services using clean energy technology for critical facilities.

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    • Mar 5, 1:00 pm, State of the ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Program
    • Mar 12, 1:00 pm, Benchmarking Water/Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Portfolio Manager and using the Cash Flow Opportunity Calculator
    • Mar 20, 1:00 pm, Portfolio Manager Office Hours, Focus Topic: Spreadsheet Templates
    • Mar 25, 1:00 pm, Portfolio Manager 101
    • Mar 26, 1:00 pm, Portfolio Manager 201
  2. Smartgrowth webinar – Scenario Planning and Fiscal Impact Modeling – March 10
    3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

    Developing a clear-eyed understanding of the short- and long-term fiscal implications of development choices has never been so necessary for planners in local and regional agencies. This webinar from EPA’s Smart Growth Program explores the development and use of scenario planning and fiscal impact modeling, investigating their use of analytical tools to explain fiscal costs (including local infrastructure capital and operations and maintenance costs and revenues). Speakers will discuss how scenario planning and fiscal impact tools can support smart growth implementation at a range of scales through innovative methods and how various communities can use fiscal impact analyses to support planning and economic development decisions.

    APA Continuing Maintenance Credit
    AICP members can earn 1.0 Certification Maintenance credit for attending this webinar.

    Register.
  3. U.S. EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board Releases Report on Financing and Implementing Municipal Energy Efficiency Projects
    The U.S. EPA Environmental Financial Advisory Board released a report designed to help communities understand the benefits of developing and methods of financing energy efficiency projects. The report discusses the challenges and steps leading up to energy efficient retrofits, describes various financing mechanisms, references several reports that provide more in-depth analysis, and lists financial resources available to support municipalities’ efforts in energy efficiency.

    The report, "Municipal Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: Financing and Implementing Energy Efficiency Retrofits in City-Owned Facilities," is available.
  4. U.S. EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program launches new tool AVERT
    U.S. EPA’s State and Local Climate and Energy Program has launched a new tool that estimates the emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs. The AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) is a free tool with a simple user interface designed to meet the needs of state air quality planners and other interested users. Non-experts can easily use AVERT to evaluate county-level reductions of electric power plant emissions due to energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) policies and programs.

    State air quality planners, energy office staff, public utility commission staff, and other organizations interested in knowing the emission benefits of EE/RE policies and programs can use AVERT to:
    • Quantify the nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (S02), and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions benefits of state and multi-state EE/RE policies and programs.
    • Examine the regional, state, and county level emission impacts of different EE/RE programs based on temporal energy savings and hourly generation profiles.
    • Include AVERT-calculated emission impacts of EE/RE policies and programs in air quality modeling and Clean Air Act plans used to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards with the concurrent of the appropriate EPA regional office.
    • Compare the emissions impacts of different types of EE/RE programs, such as the emissions impacts of wind installations versus solar installations.
    • Understand the emissions impacts of different EE/RE policies and programs during high electricity demand days.
    • Analyze the emissions benefits of EE/RE programs implemented in multiple states within an AVERT region.
    • Share information about location-specific emissions benefits in easy-to-interpret tables and maps.
  5. U.S. EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update to National Stormwater Calculator
    The U.S. EPA released phase II of the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package, which includes future climate vulnerability scenarios. The calculator, a part of President Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan, is a desktop application designed to estimate the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location. The Calculator now includes changes in seasonal precipitation levels, the effects of more frequent high-intensity storms, and changes in evaporation rates based on climate change scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  6. U.S. EPA Releases Annual Climate Protection Partnerships Report
    The U.S. EPA released its annual Climate Protection Partnerships report, which outlines the steps that more than 21,000 U.S. organizations have taken to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The report, "EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs Climate Protection Partnerships 2012 Annual Report (PDF) (48 pp, 4.3 MB)," includes achievements that support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. It finds that in 2012, EPA’s climate protection programs prevented 365 million metric tons of U.S. GHG emissions, and Americans saved more than $26 billion on their utility bills in 2012 through the help of ENERGY STAR products.
  7. U.S. EPA Releases Guide for Local Governments on Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Green Power
    EPA has released a new climate and energy strategy guide for local governments, titled Green Power Procurement: A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs (PDF) (36 pp, 890 K).

    Green power is a subset of renewable energy produced with no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, typically from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, or low-impact hydroelectric sources. By substituting green power for conventional electricity, which is produced primarily by combusting fossil fuels and accounts for nearly 33 percent of total U.S. energy-related GHG emissions, local governments and their communities can achieve significant energy, environmental, and economic benefits.

    This guide provides comprehensive information for local government staff and policy makers on how to implement these GHG reduction strategies, including:
    • Products/technologies and their applications
    • Environmental, energy, and economic benefits
    • Steps for designing procurement plans/installations
    • Key stakeholders to engage
    • Policy mechanisms for initiating programs
    • Implementation strategies for success
    • Costs and funding opportunities
    Key features of the guide include:
    • Case studies and examples from communities across the United States
    • Links to technical resources, analytical tools, and sources of funding
    To access other guides in this series, please visit the Local Government Climate and Energy Strategy Series page.
  8. U.S. EPA releases eGRID with year 2010 data
    U.S. EPA just released a new edition of the Emissions & Generation Integrated Resource Database (eGRID), a comprehensive source of data on the environmental characteristics of virtually all electric power generated in the United States. This new edition has year 2010 data, providing emissions and emission rates data for nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.

    Data are presented at the boiler, generator and plant level and aggregated data are available by state, power control area, eGRID subregion, NERC region, and the nation.

    eGRID can be used for the following:
    • greenhouse gas registries and inventories,
    • carbon footprinting,
    • consumer information disclosure,
    • development of emissions inventories and emission standards,
    • analysis of changing power markets, and
    • estimating avoided emissions.
  9. ENERGY STAR releases New Guide for Cafes, Restaurants & Institutional Kitchens
    The ENERGY STAR Guide for Cafes, Restaurants, and Institutional Kitchens (PDF) (14 pp, 1.1 MB), previously titled the ENERGY STAR Guide for Restaurants, has been updated and reorganized to make energy efficiency information more accessible for all sectors of the foodservice industry.

    Did you know that food preparation accounts for approximately 35% of the energy consumption of a full-service restaurant? Through the ENERGY STAR Guide for Cafes, Restaurants, and Institutional Kitchens, operators will learn about ENERGY STAR and other energy efficient food service equipment and how they can save by looking beyond the sticker price of a piece of equipment. The guide also includes tips on how to operate and maintain their kitchen equipment to save energy and water. Operators will also get a better understanding of energy saving equipment options for the rest of their facility, outside of the kitchen.

  10. Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships Releases Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy
    The Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) released the third annual "Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States (PDF) (46 pp, 2.7 MB)." The Roundup is intended to give policymakers, program administrators, advocates, and other stakeholders a comparative view of building energy efficiency progress across the region in 2013.

  11. Researchers Release Report on Green and Cool Roofs as Urban Adaptation Strategies
    Researchers at the U.S. EPA and Arizona State University released a report that finds that the performance of urban adaptation technologies, including green roofs and cool roods, are expected to counteract warming temperatures, but they also vary seasonally and are geographically dependent.

    The paper, "Urban adaptation can roll back warming of emerging megapolitan regions," is available.

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