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ICLEI's 2013 Tools, Resources, and Leadership for Local Governments

by Don Knapp

Did you miss our webinar last week, "ICLEI's Vision to Support Resilient Cities and Counties"? Watch the recorded version, or read on for full details on the exciting new software tools, resources, and leadership initiatives ICLEI will offer in 2013 to help our local government members create safer, more prepared, and more resilient communities.

>> Watch Recorded Webinar (members only)

Five Focus Areas

ICLEI will work to support local governments across five areas (click to jump to these sections—there's a lot of information!):


Empowering Elected Officials

Goal: Empower and support the leadership of local governments and local elected officials to create more resilient communities.

Rallying Leadership

After two years of unprecedented extreme weather, local government leadership on resilience is more critical than ever, said Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines, IA and ICLEI USA Board Member, who spoke on the webinar. ICLEI and its Board of Directors of elected officials will work to rally and coordinate more elected officials to take action on resilience initiatives.


Resilience Legislation

ICLEI was pleased to share that new federal legislation will soon be introduced to support resilient communities and coordinated local-federal planning efforts. ICLEI will share more information as it becomes available.


Policy Leadership

ICLEI's new Policy Council of local elected officials will endorse legislation and organize elected official champions on various issues. The Policy Council is comprised of ICLEI USA Board Members, but will expand in 2013.


Connecting Local Elected Officials

In 2013, ICLEI will work to connect local leaders with one another on resilience, climate, and energy issues, and connect them to federal leaders. In fall 2012, ICLEI organized a delegation of local elected officials to meet with leaders on Capitol Hill about the needs and priorities of local governments on resilience, and in early 2013 will host a virtual meeting of local elected officials and high-ranking State Department officials on climate policy.


Climate Adaptation

Goal: Help local governments assess their risks and vulnerabilities to climate change, and begin adaptation planning and initiatives. A resilient community is a prepared community, able to bounce back from extreme weather.



We’ll develop an updated version of our existing Adaptation Database and Planning Tool, or ADAPT. This is an online tool for management of your adaptation planning process. We’ll be upgrading it with new features based on the knowledge we’ve gained through ICLEI’s award-winning adaptation pilot projects from around the country.


Extreme Weather and Climate Communications Toolkit

We’re finalizing a new toolkit to help local government staff communicate to the public and their own elected officials about extreme weather and its links to climate change. Our toolkit will include detailed communications guidance and in-depth resources on regional climate data.  Look for the toolkit in January.


Risk Assessment Guidance

We’re developing new guidance on how local governments can assess their climate risks. Right now we’re connecting city planners and emergency managers with insurance industry experts to advance this critical work.


Resilient Cities Congress 2013

ICLEI will continue to host the largest climate adaptation event in the world in June 2013 in Bonn, Germany, where pre-eminent experts and local government staff around the world will share emerging best practices. We hope you can join us, but if not, we’ll share with you the invaluable information and resources that result from it.


International Knowledge Exchanges

ICLEI USA and ICLEI Japan have partnered to connect U.S. and Japanese cities in a policy dialogue around climate adaptation best practices. We’ll announce the participating cities soon, and we are working to leverage our global network to have more of these international exchanges in 2013.


Earth Hour City Challenge

In 2012, ICLEI partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to introduce the Earth Hour City Challenge to U.S. cities and counties. The Challenge is a year-long competition among cities to prepare for increasingly extreme weather and promote renewable energy. U.S. cities that participate receive free resources—many developed by ICLEI—and gain recognition. Right now 29 cities and counties are participating. ICLEI will continue to support this competition in 2013 and develop new resources for its participants.


Member Support

In 2012 so far, ICLEI staff have responded to approximately 500 questions from our local government members, including climate adaptation questions. In 2013, we’ll streamline our member support processes to make it easier for local governments to get answers. We’re rolling out a toll-free support line in early 2013, and we’re building a knowledge base of short articles that answer the most common questions. We’re also exploring other online solutions to make asking and answering questions even more efficient and easy.

Climate Mitigation

Goal: Help local governments set and reach their greenhouse gas reduction goals. A resilient community is a low-carbon community.


GHG Inventory Software

In 2013, we will release the next-generation of our industry-standard GHG emissions inventory software. The days of clunky desktop apps and cumbersome Excel tools are over: We’re building an integrated suite of online emissions management tools that work with the newly released Community Protocol.  Data stored “in the cloud” will be easy to manage and will carry through modules for inventories, forecasting, target-setting, climate action planning, and monitoring. The good news: We already built this online tool for the State of California – it’s a tested and proven offering that we’ll be improving on and rolling out nationwide in 2013, starting with the Inventory tool that will be released in spring 2013.


On-Demand Trainings on Community Protocol

In 2012 we released the Community Protocol, a groundbreaking and innovative new national standard for conducting community-wide GHG inventories. In early 2013 we’ll release a series of short web trainings to help you follow the new Community Protocol as you measure your community-wide emissions.


Updated Climate Mitigation Guidance

We’ll update our existing climate mitigation guidance resources to support the Community Protocol. This includes innovative new guidance on how to monitor your progress in reducing emissions.

Renewable Energy

Goal: Help local governments scale solar energy and expand local markets. A resilient community runs on resilient energy infrastructure contributing to local, regional and national energy security.

SunShot Overview

ICLEI is a primary partner in the Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Initiative, which seeks to make solar electricity cost-competitive with other sources of energy by 2020. Over the course of the past two years, we’ve offered resources and training workshops to thousands of local government staff and elected officials across the country. In 2013, ICLEI will be working with the Department of Energy and partners under the Solar 3.0 and SunShot Solar Outreach programs to expand this work with exciting new offerings.


Direct Technical Assistance

We’re pleased to announce that ICLEI is now offering direct technical assistance to local governments who are interested in receiving support on their solar initiatives. There are a variety of ways in which our staff and expert partners will be providing support; from answering one off questions to reviewing draft solar RFPs or feasibility studies for municipal solar projects to providing guidance on solar program design. These services are available today and in 2013 we’re looking forward to helping municipalities across the country achieve their clean energy goals through capitalizing on the opportunities that exist in today’s solar market.


Customized Solar Trainings

In 2013 ICLEI will be working with our partner organizations to provide local governments with customized in-person and web-based trainings where we’ll be outlining opportunities and strategies for removing barriers to local solar market expansion. Topics will range from solar finance and leveraging local lending institutions to planning, permitting and inspections for solar.


Peer Support Facilitation

Recognizing that local governments often learn best from the opportunity to consult their peers directly, in 2013 ICLEI will be offering peer support and networking opportunities according to areas of interest. For ICLEI members this offer extends beyond the U.S. to our member network around the world.


New case studies, fact sheets, model ordinances

In addition to all of these activities, in 2013 we’ll continue to work with our partners to produce resources highlighting best practices for local governments from around the country to equip and enable our members to move their renewable energy initiatives forward.


Energy Benefits program

ICLEI’S groundbreaking program allows municipal employees to coordinate a group buy for residential solar. This employee benefit program offers them major savings and helps local governments reach their energy goals. In 2012 the work of our three pilot communities—Denver, CO, Tucson, AZ, and Yolo County, CA—resulted in over 230 contracts signed for residential solar systems totaling nearly one and a half megawatts of new installed solar capacity. In 2013 ICLEI USA will be expanding the program to help more ICLEI members educate and incentivize their community members to implement RE and EE projects.


Energy Efficiency

Goal: Help local governments make community-wide gains in energy efficiency and resource conservation. A resilient community uses less energy.


Green Business Challenge

In 2012 ICLEI’s Green Business Challenge emerged as one of the most cost-effective and successful programs to help communities save money and energy, lower GHG emissions, and save other natural resources. For example, in Chicago, 150 business participants saved a collective $17.5 million in energy cost and reduced energy use by 124 million kilowatt hours.

In 2012 ICLEI released our new Web Application to make launching and running a Green Business Challenge program far easier for local governments.In 2013 we’ll add new features to our Web App. We’re also launching a Green Business Challenge network to help local governments share questions and best practices for running a Challenge Program.  We’re helping link local governments with major corporations interested in sponsoring Green Business Challenges. And finally, we’ll launch a national Green Business Challenge competition.


Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC)

ICLEI has been a lead partner on this California project since 2010. We’ve provided dozens of no-cost trainings to local governments across the state, and developed a range of guidebooks on energy efficiency and climate action planning. In 2013 and 2014 we are pushing forward a very exciting advancement of this program, working across the state to advance energy efficiency and integrate energy efficiency into climate action planning. The SEEC guidance and trainings we develop lay the groundwork for national resources. Learn more at


Climate and Energy Decision Support Tool

ICLEI’s new emissions management software suite will include a module to help you choose the most cost-effective climate and energy efficiency initiatives. This module will be a much more powerful and flexible version of our existing Excel-based CAPPA tool. It already exists for California local governments through the SEEC program, but we will be rolling out a national version late in 2013.


Building and Energy Codes

We will continue our strong work to support the advancement of energy efficiency building codes with partner organizations like the U.S. Green Building Council and the Alliance to Save Energy.


Thank you! ICLEI is proud to support its local government members. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals in 2013!

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