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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

December 2012 Volume 50
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. Portfolio Manager upgrade coming June 2013! Learn more about it with the Region 1 Energy Team
  2. The New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group announces the Local Energy Solutions Training Series (monthly webinars) – starting December 12
  3. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is Now Accepting Applications for the 2013 Vermont Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence – deadline January 25, 2013

ARTICLES

  1. Wind Farms Generating Revenue in Small Towns
  2. Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council Approves Energy Efficiency Plan
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Publishes Paper on Climate Change Modeling

EVENTS

  1. Hartford, CT – Understanding C-PACE Seminar – December 4
  2. Cambridge, MA – Join the Energy Circle for a Book Chat with Richard K. Lester – December 6
  3. Portland, ME – Geothermal Energy in Maine's Homes and Businesses – December 13

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – deadline December 12
  2. EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program – deadline January 7, 2013
  3. National Endowment for the Arts FY 2013 Our Town Initiative – deadline January 14, 2013
  4. Vermont Community Foundation Small and Inspiring Grants – monthly deadlines on the 15th of each month

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. National Academy of Sciences Creates Climate Modeling 101 Primer
  3. Study: A comprehensive review of climate adaptation in the United States
  4. NEEP Releases the 2012 Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Portfolio Manager upgrade coming June 2013! Learn more about it with the Region 1 Energy Team
    Thank you to all our Community Energy Challenge (CEC) towns, cities, and supporters! This is the 50th edition of the CEC monthly e-update, representing over four years of outreach to communities and organizations that work to increase energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve air quality. We would like to thank you for your continued participation and alert you to upcoming changes in the Portfolio Manager tool.

    Portfolio Manager has been adopted by leading commercial real estate, retail, healthcare, and educational organizations, and is a reporting tool adopted by state and local governments for mandatory benchmarking laws. In June of 2013, EPA will release a complete upgrade for this popular tool. Portfolio Manager is currently in use by more than 40,000 individual accounts and is used to measure, track, assess, and report on the energy and water performance of more than 250,000 commercial buildings. The upgrade will include a new interface, streamlined functionality, and improved usability.

    What will be upgraded?
    1. Database architecture
    2. System processing
    3. Web services (automated benchmarking services, etc.)
    4. User Interface
      • Simpler, more streamlined functionality
      • Easier-to-generate, graphical reports
      • Improved sharing features
    What Will NOT Change?
    1. Your Data — all of your data will be transferred to the new system
    2. Portfolio Manager Metrics — calculations behind the ENERGY STAR 1–100 scale are not changing
    For the facts sheet and a webinar schedule of using the new version »

    Most importantly, now is a great time to take a fresh look at your Portfolio Manager account. Do you need help benchmarking for the first time or need a brush up on using it? Region 1’s Energy Team wants to help communities in New England get familiar with the new tool and re-focus on benchmarking and energy planning. Let us know if you would like this assistance – we will be on the road in New England next summer.

    Email Cyndi Veit at veit.cynthia@epa.gov or call 617-918-1666
  2. The New Hampshire Local Energy Work Group (LEWG) announces the Local Energy Solutions (LES) Training Series (monthly webinars) – starting December 12
    11:00 AM -12:00 PM

    The LES Training Series is comprised of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate change related training offerings from the LEWG and its member organizations as well as a number of other trusted sources.

    These trainings will be largely free and open to the public except where noted. They are designed to help energy committee, municipal, school, county volunteers and staff tackle their local energy and climate change challenges and goals but will often be highly transferable to other participants such retailers, building owners and institutional representatives.

    The December 12th webinar will walk you through the "Field Guide to New Hampshire's Municipal Buildings & Energy Audit Guidelines.'' Space is limited, and registration will be up soon.

    For more information and to register »
  3. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is Now Accepting Applications for the 2013 Vermont Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence – deadline January 25, 2013
    These annual awards honor the actions taken by Vermonters to conserve and protect natural resources, prevent pollution and promote sustainability. Applications are encouraged from: business, industry and trade or professional organizations; environmental, community and non-profit organizations; individual citizens; institutions such as schools, hospitals and municipalities; teachers and students; and public agencies.

    Applications must be received electronically, no later than Friday January 25, 2013. Application materials are available on the internet.

    For questions or to obtain email copies of the application, contact Gary Gulka at gary.gulka@state.vt.us or 802-241-3626.

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ARTICLES

  1. Wind Farms Generating Revenue in Small Towns
    According to an article published November 14, 2012, wind farms are generating revenue in small towns. Three wind farm projects in small towns in New England, with a combined 62 turbines, are expected to help the utility NStar meet half of Massachusetts' state requirement that utilities use long-term contracts to get at least 3 percent of their power from renewable sources. The wind farms brought hundreds of construction jobs to the area, and will generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for small New England communities.

    The full article is available.
  2. Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council Approves Energy Efficiency Plan
    On November 14, 2012, the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (EEAC) approved the 2013-2015 Three-Year Energy Efficiency Investment Plans. The 2013-2015 Plans are expected to expand Massachusetts’ goals for electricity and natural gas savings from energy efficiency investments into its second multi-year agreement. The EEAC approved a resolution on the Plans to provide input to the Department of Public Utilities, which is expected to vote on approval of them in January 2013. The energy efficiency investments are expected to save 3.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity and 72 million therms in 2015 from the improvements installed over the three years of the plan.

    For more information »
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Publishes Paper on Climate Change Modeling
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change has published a paper titled “Quantifying the Likelihood of Regional Climate Change: A Hybridized Approach.” The report describes a method to help city planners and policymakers who want to prepare for the prospect of extreme weather events, such as recent Hurricane Sandy. It combines MIT’s own computer models with climate projection work done by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The report is available.

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EVENTS

  1. Hartford, CT – Understanding C-PACE Seminar – December 4
    The Hartford Club
    46 Prospect Street, Hartford, CT
    8:00 AM - 10:00 AM

    The Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority (CEFIA) and Pullman & Comley are pleased to present a morning seminar explaining the new Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy or C-PACE program.

    Jessica Bailey, CEFIA's Director of Commercial and Industrial PACE will discuss the benefits and eligibility requirements for C-PACE and answer questions about the new financing program. Jessica Bailey's presentation will be followed by a panel of CEFIA's General Counsel and Pullman & Comley's environmental, energy, and municipal finance lawyers addressing some of the legal considerations for C-PACE projects.

    For more information, contact seminar@pullcom.com or (860) 424-4344.
  2. Cambridge, MA – Join the Energy Circle for a Book Chat with Richard K. Lester – December 6

    MIT Stata Center, Room 32-155
    32 Vassar Street, Cambridge, MA

    Come to a book chat with Richard K. Lester, author of “Unlocking Energy Innovation: How America Can Build a Low-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy System.”

    Lester’s new book on energy innovation, co-authored with David M. Hart of George Mason University, shows why energy innovation offers us a chance to solve the three urgent and interrelated problems of climate change, worldwide insecurity over energy supplies, and rapidly growing energy demand. Unlocking Energy Innovation is based on a three-year research project at MIT’s Industrial Performance Center, sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

    For more information and to register »

  3. Portland, ME – Geothermal Energy in Maine's Homes and Businesses – December 13
    Lee Auditorium
    Wishcamper Center, USM
    34 Bedford Street, Portland, ME
    7:15 AM – 9:30 AM

    Geothermal energy is an often-overlooked tool in the renewable resource portfolio, but in reality these systems have the potential to power, heat, and cool homes and businesses across Maine. An impediment to the more widespread use of geothermal energy for residential and commercial applications is the upfront costs of installation. In a state where energy efficiency, wind, wood, and solar receive most of the attention, it is important to promote a broad portfolio of available resources for residential, commercial, and industrial needs.

    This forum will walk attendees through the design, installation, and operation of cost-effective geothermal systems in Maine, describe the types of systems, and advise on the benefits of an barriers to its use.

    Proper education of the home and business owner and accurate information as to the types of economically viable and environmentally benign geothermal exchange systems available, along with potential financial incentives and transparent payback scenarios, are crucial to home and business owners' courses of action.

    For more information and to register »

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. EPA Environmental Education Regional Model Grants – deadline December 12
    The purpose of the Environmental Education Regional Grant Program is to increase public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues and provide the skills that participants in its funded projects need to make informed environmental decisions and take responsible actions toward the environment. In order to be eligible, all applications must address at least one of the EPA educational priorities listed and at least one EPA environmental priority. EPA educational priorities are community projects, human health and the environment, and career development. EPA environmental priorities include protecting air quality, preventing pollution, cleaning up our communities, and protecting America’s waters.

    EPA expects to award one grant per Region for an expected 10 grants nationwide.

    Eligible Entities: Any local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity. Tribal education agencies that are eligible to apply include a school or community college controlled by an Indian tribe, band, or nation that is recognized as eligible for special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians and which is not administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    For more information »
  2. EPA Environmental Justice Small Grants Program – deadline January 7, 2013
    The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program provides funding for projects that address local environmental and public health issues within an affected community. The grants enable award recipients to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

    Eligible Entities: Federally recognized tribal governments; tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities; or incorporated nonprofits.

    EPA will host a pre-application assistance call on December 13, 2012.

    For more information »

  3. National Endowment for the Arts FY 2013 Our Town Initiative – deadline January 14, 2013
    The National Endowment for the Arts will provide a limited number of grants, ranging from $25,000 to $200,000, for creative placemaking projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The Our Town initiative will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life, foster stronger community identity and a sense of place, and revitalize economic development.

    Eligible Entities: All applications must involve two primary partners: a local government entity and a nonprofit organization. Local governments include counties, parishes, cities, towns, villages, or federally recognized tribal governments.

    For more information »
  4. Vermont Community Foundation Small and Inspiring Grants – monthly deadlines on the 15th of each month
    Applications will be considered from nonprofit organizations, schools, municipal entities, or groups with a fiscal sponsor for projects that address the Community Foundation’s purposes, including projects that:
    • connect people to each other through volunteer work or community-building efforts
    • connect people to the environment around them in new ways
    • bring people together and provide opportunities for positive social interaction and benefit
    Eligible Entities: Grant applications will be accepted from organizations that are located in or serve the people of Vermont. Organizations must be tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or be a public agency or municipality in the state of Vermont. Grants will be in the range of $500-$2,500.

    For more information »

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    • Dec 5, 1 PM Energy Management Lessons from Industry
    • Dec 5, 4 PM IT Energy Savings for Non-Techies: Identifying and understanding opportunities to reduce costs • Dec 6, 2 PM Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades with ENERGY STAR
    • Dec 7, 3 PM IT Energy Savings for Non-Techies: Getting to Yes
    • Dec 12, 2 PM Setting Energy Use Targets with ENERGY STAR, Responding to the Climate Change Imperative
    • Dec 13, 1 PM Data Center Energy Efficiency Opportunities: What Managers Should Know
    • Dec 13, 2 PM Benchmarking Water/Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Portfolio Manager
    • Dec 13, 2 PM Computer Power Management with ENERGY STAR
    Register for all ENERGY STAR webinars.
  2. National Academy of Sciences Creates Climate Modeling 101 Primer
    The National Academy of Sciences recently created a website that explains the basics of climate modeling. The Climate Modeling 101 website is a six-part primer that uses short videos and animations to explain various aspects of climate modeling, from the differences between weather and climate to how climate models are built and verified.

    The website can be found here.
  3. Study: A comprehensive review of climate adaptation in the United States
    The journal Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change published a study on existing and planned adaptation activities in the United States. The study considers actions of federal, tribal, state, and local governments and the private sector to understand what types of adaptation activities are underway across different sectors and scales throughout the country. According to the report, although substantial adaptation planning is occurring in various sectors, levels of government, and the private sector, few measures have been implemented and even fewer have been evaluated. The most significant barriers to implementation include lack of funding, policy and institutional constraints, and difficulty in anticipating climate changes given the current state of information on change.

    The study “A comprehensive review of climate adaptation in the United States: more than before, but less than needed,” is available.
  4. NEEP Releases the 2012 Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States
    Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) has compiled the second-annual Regional Roundup of Energy Efficiency Policy in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, a look at the biggest energy efficiency policy developments of 2012, with regional trends and shared challenges.

    The aim of the Roundup is to gauge progress in the states toward capturing energy efficiency as a resource. While looking at the region as a whole, it also provides summary and analysis of some of the biggest building energy efficiency successes and setbacks in individual states from Maine to Maryland, including key energy efficiency laws and regulations, and changes in funding levels for energy efficiency programs.

    Along with state-level highlights, this paper reveals regional trends and shared challenges in harnessing the potential of energy efficiency to meet today's pressing energy and environmental challenges including controlling energy costs, improving system reliability, strengthening the economy, growing jobs, improving public health and curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

    The paper is available.

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