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Update on the GHG Community Protocol Development

by Don Knapp Jan 30, 2012

Bird's Eye View of Cityscape

ICLEI’s work on a national protocol for community greenhouse gas inventories is moving forward rapidly in 2012. When it is released in the third quarter of 2012, the Community-Scale GHG Emissions Accounting and Reporting Protocol will set the standard for how local governments across the country measure and report GHG emissions for their communities.

GHG accounting iconThe Community Protocol development is now being supported in part by Pacific Gas & Electric Company. ICLEI is grateful for the generosity of PG&E and other funders who recognize the importance of this groundbreaking project. ICLEI’s Richard Alden Feldon leads the development of the protocol, working with other ICLEI staff and the Community Protocol Steering Committee and the sector-specific Technical Advisory Committees.


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A Chance to Restore PACE: Submit Comments to FHFA

by Jan 30, 2012

Downtown San Francisco, CA, Houses

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is seeking public comment on local property assessed clean energy (PACE) programs, which FHFA effectively shut down in 2010. If you want to help restore the job-creating, energy-saving programs pioneered by local governments, now is your chance to submit feedback on PACE and on FHFA's objections to these programs.

According to, "The United States District Court found that FHFA violated the federal Administrative Procedures Act when it issued its July 6, 2010 statement that prohibits Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and other government sponsored enterprises that it regulates from buying residential mortgages with PACE assessments." A court order ruled that FHFA must conduct a public notice and comment period for 60 days to weigh in on PACE programs.

PACENow also writes, that "this is an important opportunity to challenge the FHFA’s ban on PACE and provide comments to FHFA on the broad public policy objectives that PACE furthers, the extensive public support for PACE programs, the FHFA’s stated objections to PACE, and suggest a rule to allow residential PACE programs to proceed."

Comments are due by March 26. View the Federal Register Notice, suggestions on how to comment, and other key documents on the PACENow website.

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How Berkeley Tracks Climate Action Progress

by Don Knapp Jan 16, 2012

Berkeley AC Transit bus (credit: lensovet)

An AC Transit bus in Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: lensovet via Wikimedia Commons

Local government staff: If a city councilor or community member wanted a detailed progress report on your climate action plan implementation, could you deliver it?


Tracking and reporting performance is a key to successful climate action. Take a cue from City of Berkeley, CA, which now provides annual updates via its website for each core strategy of its Climate Action Plan. Berkeley’s website makes clear the benefits of this effort for any local government. You don’t need legions of staff or fancy software to track and report progress, only a smart effort, (especially at the outset), staff commitment, and some well-organized spreadsheets.

“As sustainability professionals, I don’t think we do a good enough job of communicating what we’re accomplishing,” says Timothy Burroughs, City of Berkeley’s Climate Action Coordinator in the Office of Energy and Sustainable Development. ““We have a lot more work to do, but we’re also doing a ton of great work and we have data that can communicate that story.”

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Get EPA's Clean Energy Financing Decision Tool & Guide

by Erica Bollerud, EPA State and Local Climate and Energy Program Jan 12, 2012

House With Roof Solar Panels

EPA logoStates and communities are increasingly investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy to achieve their air quality, economic, and energy goals. They can do this by adopting clean energy financing programs that can make efficiency and renewable energy more affordable for their residential, commercial, and municipal sectors.

EPA's State and Local Climate and Clean Energy Program is supporting these efforts with the launch of a new online Financing Program Decision Tool and a Financing Program Decision Guide.

Financing Program Decision Tool

This Tool is designed for state and local staff in the early stages of choosing a clean energy financing program. Answer a handful of simple questions, and the Tool highlights quickly the most promising program options for your jurisdiction to pursue.

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Tool

Financing Program Decision Guide

This Guide complements the Tool, and includes the basics on financing-program options, as well as key considerations and factors for states and communities to weigh as they
start up or expand their clean energy financing programs.

Blue yellow arrow icon small View the Tool

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Green Business Challenge Goes Rural in Decorah, Iowa

by Carolyn Corbin and David Paquette, Winneshiek Energy District Jan 09, 2012

Decorah green business challenge 1

More than 50 businesses participated in the Green Business Challenge.  At a minimum each business tracked it's energy use with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.  Many businesses made major improvements to their buildings and operations.

Communities around the country have found value in ICLEI's Green Business Challenge model.  From increasing energy efficiency to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, or engaging businesses to implement sustainable actions, the Green Business Challenge program is easily adaptable for any community.

Decorah, Iowa’s Winneshiek Energy District Green Business Challenge is an excellent example of a successful program in a rural community. The District aims to make energy transitioning happen quickly in order to reduce greenhouse gases, improve local economies and create sustainable energy societies. Decorah has 8,000 people and the county has almost 20,000 people.

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Saving on Energy Bills: Meeting Families in the Middle

by Allen Chen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Jan 09, 2012

middle income report banner

A study released Dec. 20 by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) identifies steps that energy efficiency program managers can take to deliver significant savings on home energy bills to middle-income households.

LBL report cover“Middle-income households have been hit hard by the recent recession, and sagging home prices have undermined the traditional reliance of middle-income households on home equity for financing home improvements,” says Berkeley Lab’s Mark Zimring, a researcher in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) and co-author on the report.  “It is really difficult to motivate them to invest in improving the efficiency of their homes, and to overcome the up-front cost barrier once they’re motivated.”

Blue yellow arrow icon small Read the Study

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