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Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants

Westminster, CO, Gets Creative With EECBG Funding

by Ryan Foshee, South Central Regional Officer Apr 04, 2010

Westminster Green Matters banner (credit: City of Westminster website)

Photo credit: City of Westminster website

City of Westminster, CO is using its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds in a variety of innovative ways within their community. Westminster has been working hard on a number of projects:

  • Creating a community-wide bicycle master plan
  • Commercial programs like the Re-Energize Main Street retrofit
  • Residential energy programs like home energy audits and furnace rebates
  • Education of the community on the City's adopted 2009 Energy Code and other Green initiatives
  • Hiring an Energy/Capital Facilities Coordinator
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Obama's Visit Spotlights Savannah's Energy Action

by Eli Yewdall, Southeast Regional Associate Mar 09, 2010

Savannah old street (flickr rights via gobucks2)

Photo credit: gobucks2 via Flickr Creative Commons

After visiting Tampa, FL, last month to announce the federal government’s funding for high-speed rail, on March 2 President Obama chose another ICLEI member, Savannah, GA, to announce the latest sustainability-related Federal program, called HOMESTAR, which would provide rebates of up to $3,000 for home energy efficiency upgrades.

Local Savannah business leaders and green contractors joined President Obama for this announcement, and when you learn more about Savannah's energy goals and accomplishments, it's no wonder the president chose the city for his announcement. In fact, Savannah, surrounding Chatham County, and the neighboring small city of Tybee Island all have significant local efforts for sustainability underway.

All three jurisdictions participate in the Chatham Environmental Forum, which has created the JoinIn plan with a goal to reduce county-wide greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020. Both Chatham County and Savannah have completed inventories of government operations emissions. A few specific emissions-reduction measures:

  • The Savannah Housing Authority in conjunction with private partners has made a big commitment to green affordable housing with the LEED Neighborhood and EarthCraft Coastal Communities certified Sustainable Fellwood development. The first phase of Sustainable Fellwood, completed in 2009, comprises 110 affordable apartments and five affordable single-family homes, each using 20 to 30 percent less energy than conventionally-built counterparts. An additional 210 apartments and eight single-family homes will be completed in phases II and III, while another green housing development at Savannah Gardens will have 550 mixed-income housing units as well as neighborhood retail.
  • Savannah recently completed relocating and upgrading their information technology data center. The upgrades include a high-efficiency chilled water air handling system for IT equipment and new hardware for the computers which will result in a dramatic jump in efficiency rating from 35.6 rating to a 73.7 percent rating. $353,000 of the $970,000 cost of this project was paid for through the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program. In addition to generating considerable savings for the city on energy bills, the project was estimated to create 45 jobs.
  • Tybee Island councilperson Paul Wolff has been a longtime advocate for wind power off the Georgia coast. The city with a population just under four thousand has applied for stimulus funds to power most government buildings with renewable energy after maximizing energy efficiency, and would place the energy cost savings into a fund that would be loaned to businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
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Saint Louis County Fast Tracks Its Energy Efficiency Strategy

by Amy Malick, ICLEI Midwest Regional Director Oct 05, 2009

St. Louis County greenhouse gas inventory chart

Preliminary findings: 2008 greenhouse gas emissions by source
for St. Louis County. By reducing its energy use, especially in residential
and commercial buildings, the County can slash its emissions. Department
of Energy funding will be a key to this effort.

 

ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability is assisting St. Louis County, MO, to develop its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy as part of its $8.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Like many local governments, St. Louis County is on a fast track to establish a long-term sustainability framework by which to guide its expenditures of Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds, and to create a path forward for the County’s future in six areas:

1.    Building management and energy conservation
2.    Transportation and mobility
3.    Land use, development and green building
4.    Economic Development
5.    Waste management and environmental conservation
6.    Administration and procurement

As part of this initiative, St. Louis County completed a series of regional coordination and public engagement activities on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 to ensure that its EECBG expenditures will be aligned with those of neighboring jurisdictions, and to create a community-wide dialogue about the region’s future through the St. Louis County Green and Growing Framework.

ICLEI presented preliminary findings for the emissions inventories for government operations and the community as a whole, and assisted the County in outlining a wide range of strategies for potential inclusion in the EECBG application and long-term sustainability framework. The County will submit St. Louis County Green and Growing Framework as part of its EECGB application at the end of November. ICLEI is delighted to engage deeply with the County and members of the ICLEI network in the St. Louis region as a part of this work.

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What's Next for Local Governments With the EECBG?

by Don Knapp Jul 06, 2009

Warning sign with question mark

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program provides a singular opportunity for local governments to begin – or accelerate – implementation of their climate mitigation plans. ICLEI's economic recovery expert KC Boyce explains what’s happening with the program currently, and offers recommendations for how local governments of all sizes can move forward to make the most of this opportunity.

>> Read the Full Article

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Cramming to Meet the EECBG Application Deadline? Call Our Hotline

by Don Knapp Jun 22, 2009

Warning sign with question mark

Thursday's the big day for local governments. June 25 is the deadline to submit applications to the Department of Energy (DOE) for economic recovery funding through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program.

How's that going for your city, by the way?

If you're a local government staff member scrambling to finish your application, ICLEI's got your back. Just call our Application Assistance Line on Wednesday, June 24, between 2 and 4 p.m. Eastern. We'll field any last-minute questions you have on the application, and share the latest guidance we've gotten from DOE.

To reach the hotline and speak with an ICLEI expert:

  • Dial (218) 862-1115 and enter conference ID 354979, then hit #.
  • Can't wait till Wednesday? Submit questions anytime by e-mailing stimulus@iclei.org.
  • Remember, you can find a wealth of resources, including the ICLEI Guide to Preparing Your EECBG Application, at www.icleiusa.org/stimulusfunding.
  • Our Application Assistance Line is free to all ICLEI members.
  • Good luck meeting the deadline!
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Countdown to the EECBG: Our Checklist of Top 10 Tasks

by Don Knapp Jun 04, 2009

 

3 Street Lights lit up

The clock is ticking for local governments, whose Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) applications are due to the Department of Energy on June 25.

Local government staff: Below are ICLEI's top 10 to-do list tasks to ensure that your application is filled out correctly, and thatyou're on track with projects that maximize your ROI.

1. Double check that you're registered with FedConnect. No registration, no funding.

2. Re-review ICLEI's Guide to Preparing Your EECBG application to make sure you've entered information correctly, or to refine your strategy.

3. Talk to your ICLEI staff liaison about how our Enhanced Services can take the burden off you to complete an application or develop a strategy.

4. Ask any and all questions on ICLEI's online Member Forum.

5. Consider institutionalizing your energy initiatives by creating a municipal energy office, then scan our step-by-step guidance on how to include an energy office in your application.

Read more »

In Washington and Copenhagen, Local Governments Call for Continued Climate Funding

by Don Knapp Jun 04, 2009

Thermometer Temperature Rising

Local elected officials and local government representatives gathered in Washington, D.C. and Copenhagen, Denmark, this week to voice their need for continued or new funding for climate and energy initiatives.

In D.C., a coalition of large U.S. counties, led by Dekalb County, GA, held a Capitol Hill press conference to advocate for ongoing funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. Thanks to economic recovery funds, the EECBG received $3.2 billion this year to be allocated to states and local governments, who can use the grants for any number of energy-efficiency projects and programs.

The message delivered on Thursday: Keep the money coming. The EECBG funds are critical for local governments to meet their greenhouse gas and energy reduction goals, and the program should be funded at or near its 2009 level in 2010 and beyond.

“While this … was a vital first step in helping local governments reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption, more must be done,” said DeKalb County Chief Executive Burrell Ellis at the news conference. "There’s a measurable [monetary] savings, and there’s also a savings to the planet that’s more difficult to measure." Read the full story.

In Copenhagen at the Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit, more than 700 delegates from municipalities around the world met to solidify their positions and responsibilities before the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December. ICLEI, which represents local governments at the U.N., was on hand during these discussions.

As a result of the Summit, local governments are calling on national governments worldwide for $1 billion to fund local action, especially in developing regions, and especially toward climate adaptation measures. Read the full story.

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Buzz Is Building for Ed Mazria's 14x Stimulus Plan

by Don Knapp May 31, 2009

Money Falling From the Sky

The buck starts here: Take one dollar of federal stimulus money earmarked for local government energy efficiency projects, but don't spend it directly on a one-off project. Instead, use it -- and thousands of other dollars -- to create a local program that lowers the mortgage interest rates for homeowners who renovate or invest in energy efficiency upgrades or renewable energy systems.

When the program takes off, you'll leverage each $1 to generate $14 of private spending and 14 times the number of jobs, reimburse the federal government $3, put $1 back in your local government coffers--and take a big leap toward your local energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets.

In a nutshell, that's 14x Stimulus: A Plan for State and Local Governments. 14x, the brainchild of Architecture 2030 founder Ed Mazria (who hatched the idea after a 1 a.m. phone call from Michelle Wyman), is winning interest among local governments who see its potential. And if you study the plan and grasp the arithmetic, you'll see what they see: that its everybody-wins ROI is for real.

Mother Jones' Michael Mechanic's May 29 article "What One Stimulus Buck Could Do," tells the story of how Mazria created 14x and caught the attention of local elected officials at the Local Climate Leadership Summit.

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Local Leaders on the Bus to Capitol Hill

by Don Knapp May 30, 2009

 

The movers and shakers of local climate action hopped on a bus to Capitol Hill during the Local Climate Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. from May 18-20. Local elected officials, sustainability coordinators, energy managers, and others took the trip to make their voices heard, shining the light on local initiatives and local priorities, and making the case for ongoing federal funding to expand their already successful efforts. Check out the on-the-bus interviews, especially the comments of Leon County Commissioner Cliff Thaell, who explains the troubling climate change consequences for south Florida.

The message from local to federal leaders, especially as the Waxman-Markey climate bill makes its way through Congress: Strong climate action can't wait!

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Tired Feet, Undaunted Spirits

by Don Knapp May 19, 2009

Guest Blogger: Cyrus Bhedwar, ICLEI Southeast Regional Manager, reporting from the Local Climate Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.

DC summit text

While none of the 100+ local government officials present at the Local Climate Leadership Summit brought with them a pedometer, it’s not hard to imagine the hundreds of thousands of collective steps they took, striding purposefully across the grounds of Capitol Hill on Tuesday May 19, the second day of the Summit.

Their goals: to urge their members of Congress to support passage of the cap-and-trade climate protection system embodied in H.B 2454, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, and to support funding in future years for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

 

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