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State and Local Climate and Energy Program

Regional Circuit Rider for Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations

Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Federal Funding: $242,651
Project Timeline: February 2011 – January 2014

Latest Update

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is continuing to improve energy efficiency in the Delaware Valley. DVRPC has met with regional and state experts and visited towns implementing energy efficiency projects to learn about their best practices. The Commission launched the first round of Direct Technical Assistance (DTA) to work closely with nine municipalities in southeastern Pennsylvania to identify opportunities to reduce energy costs in their daily operations. DVRPC has worked with its contractor, Practical Energy Solutions, to gather energy baseline data from the municipalities and assess buildings for energy efficiency opportunities. Since November 2012, DVRPC has held scoping meetings with eight of the nine DTA communities to review the data analysis results and discuss each municipality’s priorities, and Practical Energy Solutions has drafted assessment reports based on the findings from the energy assessments. DVRPC also hosted a roundtable with the energy company PECO as part of a quarterly seminar series to provide information and training to municipalities. The roundtable aimed to help municipalities better understand PECO's street lighting tariff, which poses a barrier for energy-efficient street lighting improvements due to a high fixed cost for this service embedded into the rates. In addition, DVRPC has conducted outreach on the LED Traffic Signal Conversion Program through email announcements, phone calls, and a survey and will work on coordinating a pilot study. Upcoming activity includes delivering final assessment reports to municipalities, convening the nine DTA communities for a working session on how to implement projects, and creating workshops and trainings for water and sewage treatment facilities.

Project Summary

Helping Small Municipal Governments Achieve Energy Efficiency Improvements

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Regional Circuit Rider for Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations project provides training and direct assistance to the governments of the four suburban counties in Greater Philadelphia to develop and implement strategies to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with their operations. This project works with four of the nine counties within the DVRPC region and focuses on the 228 small municipalities that are too small to qualify for Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program and lack the resources of larger cities. DVRPC serves as a "one-stop shop" for these municipalities to address the capacity gaps they face in making use of energy efficiency resources.

The project is providing six distinct services to the 228 targeted municipalities, beginning with outreach on savings opportunities available in energy efficiency and conservation. DVRPC also develops and provides trainings, analytical tools, and outreach materials for the municipalities on the benefits and processes for managing energy use and improving energy efficiency in municipal buildings, wastewater treatment facilities, vehicle fleets, employee commutes, and outdoor lighting. DVRPC also provides technical assistance on analytical tools that evaluate energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from local government municipal operations. The Circuit Rider project designs cost-effective packages for reducing energy use in municipally-owned buildings that leverage available grant funding and incentives to assure a maximum payback period of five years. DVRPC is also preparing case studies and monitoring and reporting data to track outcomes and lessons learned from the project.

By engaging municipalities in cost-effective energy efficiency investments in their own operations, this program will increase awareness of energy efficiency opportunities among citizens throughout the region. DVRPC will profile select communities that have institutionalized energy and greenhouse gas management through this program, using a standard template that will summarize energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions and provide a narrative of the project. These case studies will be available on DVRPC's website and will be used to publicize the program, demonstrate the value of energy and greenhouse gas management, and communicate progress to other municipalities.

Community Characteristics

Population 2,438,866
Area 2,031 square miles
Government Type Regional Council
Community Type Urban and Suburban
Median Household Income $61,605 - $83,759

Program Results

  Reported Results (as of June 2013) Projected Cumulative Results
Annual GHG Reductions 0 mt CO2e 4,300 mt CO2e
Annual Energy Cost Savings $0 $680,000
Annual Electricity Reductions 0 kWh 4.5 million kWh

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