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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

October 2011 Volume 36
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.

This page provides links to non-EPA web sites that provide additional information related to Energy. You will leave the EPA.gov domain and enter another page with more information. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of information on that non-EPA page. Providing links to a non-EPA Web site is not an endorsement of the other site or the information it contains by EPA or any of its employees. Also, be aware that the privacy protection provided on the EPA.gov domain (see Privacy and Security Notice) may not be available at the external link. Click icon for EPA disclaimer.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Vermont – Public Review of the DRAFT 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) is available for review and comment – open until October 10
  2. U.S. EPA Undergraduate Environmental Fellowships – deadline December 12
  3. U.S. Department of Energy's Laboratory Builds Facility to Trace Greenhouse Gases
  4. U.S. Department of Energy Releases Report on Solar Photovoltaic System Costs

ARTICLES

  1. Maine Environmental Protection Board Approves Lower Wind Turbine Noise Standards
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Development of Smart Grid StandardsCool Roofs Could
  3. U.S. Commerce Department Awards Maine University Wind Energy Research Funding
  4. Consumer Reports Releases Report on Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

EVENTS

  1. New England – NESEA Green Building Open House – October 1
  2. Burlington, VT – Vermont Renewable Energy Conference & Expo – October 11 and 12
  3. Concord, NH – Planning for Solar Energy – October 12
  4. Lowell, MA – Carbon Smarts Conference: Learning Science on the Go – October 20-21
  5. Newington, CT - Veteran Affairs Energy Fair – October 27
  6. Fairlee, VT – Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Annual Conference – December 3

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. U.S. Department of Housing, Urban Development to Fund Energy Efficiency Upgrades – deadline October 20
  2. MAPC opportunity for LED streetlights – RSVP by November 2 for November 3
  3. U.S. EPA Announces Environmental Information Exchange Network Funding – deadline November 4
  4. MAPC Clean Energy Initiative – deadline November 10
  5. Coastal Climate Adaptation – deadline November 22
  6. Energy Efficiency Assistance for Cranston and East Providence, Rhode Island

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR free webinars (all times are EST; free but registration required)
  2. U.S. EPA Releases Tools to Help Water Utilities Adapt to Climate Change
  3. U.S. EPA Releases Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Vermont – Public Review of the DRAFT 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) is available for review and comment – open until October 10
    The Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) announced that the Public Review DRAFT 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) is available for review and comment. The plan addresses Vermont's energy future for electricity, thermal energy, transportation, and land use. This document represents the efforts of numerous state agencies and departments, and input from stakeholders and citizens who shared their insights and knowledge on energy issues over the past six months. The Plan may be read and downloaded from the website or may be viewed at the Department of Public Service, 112 State Street, Montpelier during regular business hours.

    The formal Public Comment period will remain open until 5:00 pm on October 10, 2011.

    For more information, and to download the plan »
  2. US EPA Undergraduate Environmental Fellowships – deadline December 12
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requests proposals from undergraduate bachelor level students in environmental fields of study for the Greater Research Opportunities Fellowships Program. Areas of interest include: Natural and Life Sciences; Environmental Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs; Engineering; Social Sciences; Physical Sciences and Earth Sciences; and Mathematics and Computer Science. $1.956 million expected to be available for up to 40 awards anticipated. Individual awards NTE $48.9K.

    Responses due December 12, 2011.

    For more info, contact Georgette Boddie at boddie.georgette@epa.gov or go to: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2012/2012_gro_undergrad.html
    Each area of interest has a different RFP number.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy's Laboratory Builds Facility to Trace Greenhouse Gases
    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories have designed and built a mobile research facility to trace and identify the origin of greenhouse gases. The mobile facility can pinpoint the gases' location and help researchers learn whether they were from plant or anthropogenic sources. This facility is expected to help policymakers determine whether emissions reduction policies are effective, by providing a way to measure emissions by sectors.

    More information »
  4. U.S. Department of Energy Releases Report on Solar Photovoltaic System Costs
    On September 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released the latest edition of an annual solar photovoltaic (PV) cost tracking report which indicated that the installed cost of PV power systems in the United States decreased substantially in 2010 and into the first half of 2011. The average installed cost of residential and commercial PV systems completed in 2010 decreased by approximately 17 percent from 2009, and by an additional 11 percent within the first six months of 2011. These recent cost reductions are attributable, in part, to large reductions in the price of PV modules.

    The report "Tracking the Sun IV: An Historical Summary of the Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States from 1998 to 2010," (PDF) (64 pp, 1MB) is available.

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ARTICLES

  1. Maine Environmental Protection Board Approves Lower Wind Turbine Noise Standards
    On September 15, 2011, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection approved stricter noise standards on commercial wind farms. In a 5-4 vote, the board agreed to reduce the allowable nighttime noise level of the turbines from 45 to 42 decibels. The Board also agreed to restrictions over the levels of the rhythmic, pulsating sounds emitted by the turbines. Until this ruling, the Department of Environmental Protection applied a decades-old noise standard to wind energy projects. Because the regulatory board's decision is considered a "major substantive rule," it must go to the Maine Legislature, which can accept, reject or amend the rule.

    Read full article »
  2. U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Development of Smart Grid Standards
    On September 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the European Union's (EU) Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG) jointly announced their intent to work together on Smart Grid standards development. Both NIST and the SG-CG have mandates to coordinate the development of a standards framework for Smart Grids, which is expected to lead to innovation in the electrical sector.

    The two organizations outlined areas for future collaboration in a joint white paper, the "White Paper of NIST and SG-CG on Standardization of Smart Grids," (PDF) (3 pp, 35 K) available.

    Read full article »
  3. U.S. Commerce Department Awards Maine University Wind Energy Research Funding
    On August 31, 2011, U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $3 million grant to the University of Maine to supply the Offshore Wind Energy Laboratory at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center with state-of-the-art technology. The project will establish the only facility capable of designing, manufacturing, and testing prototype wind blades of up to 70 meters in length in the United States. The project is designed to promote innovation in wind energy research and development and to find production efficiencies that will boost manufacturing of wind blades in the United States.

    Read full article »
  4. Consumer Reports Releases Report on Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
    On August 30, 2011, Consumer Reports released a report, "The 2011 Consumer Reports Guide to Light bulbs," on compact fluorescent light (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Consumer Reports tested 30 different CFLs and LEDs that were 60 watt equivalent and revealed that many problems with the earlier versions have been resolved and that the new bulbs last longer.

    Download the report or
    Read full article.

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EVENTS

  1. New England – NESEA Green Building Open House – October 1
    NESEA's Green Buildings Open House represents the Northeast in conjunction with ASES' National Solar Tour.

    Planning on visiting one or many of our excellent host sites this year? You can skip the on-site sign in process and pre-register online, where you can also search NESEA's database of Green Buildings Open House sites to find the ones nearest to you and to read a description of each site's sustainable features.

    For more information, and host and visitor FAQ »
  2. Burlington, VT – Vermont Renewable Energy Conference & Expo – October 11 and 12
    Our annual fall conference is consistently the largest renewable energy event in Vermont.

    This year, we celebrate a decade of advancing renewable energy in Vermont and throughout the Northeast. Join homeowners and businesses, renewable energy installers, policy makers, energy advocates, builders and architects, electricians, plumbers and others with a keen interest in advancing renewable energy in Vermont for this two-day event.

    For more information, and to register »
  3. Concord, NH – Planning for Solar Energy – October 12
    4:00 – 5:30pm
    NH Office of Energy and Planning, 4 Chenell Drive, Concord, NH
    RSVP by Friday 10/7/11 to nhplanners@gmail.com

    As communities across the country seek to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and transition to more renewable energy sources, solar energy is once again gaining attention. From updating zoning codes and permitting processes to installing solar on government facilities, communities across the country have taken steps to incorporate solar. Learn about key issues in planning for solar energy, hear examples from differing communities, and discover resources.

    This event is free only if you attend the OEP site in person (NHPA and the RPCs have paid the registration fee). If you want to participate in the webinar from the comfort of your own home or office, you'll have to register yourself and pay.

    For more information »
  4. Lowell, MA – Carbon Smarts Conference: Learning Science on the Go – October 20-21
    The conference brings diverse communities together to examine the potential of Out of Home Media (mass transit, billboards, posters, smart phone apps., radio, etc.) to foster informal science learning about climate change among the commuting adult population.

    Experts representing marketing, communication, risk analysis, science education, mass transit, informal learning, and atmospheric research will share their experience and ideas on how to improve the public's understanding of climate change science with special attention given to new digital tools. The conference focuses on developing discourse between academic and industry personnel with a goal of laying a foundation for more creative, collaborative, and effective initiatives.

    Space is limited so register early!
    Early Bird Registration before September 1, 2011:    Students: $25   Regular: $60
    Registration After September 1, 2011:                     Students: $40   Regular: $90
    For more information »
  5. Newington, CT - Veteran Affairs Energy Fair – October 27
    8:00 AM to 3:30 PM

    The Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund will exhibit at the Veteran Affairs Energy Fair, among other exhibitors at this event. The Fund will present its HES-IE program, an innovative solution to reducing your home's energy bills through a variety of energy efficiency measures performed by a utility-authorized contractor. For income-eligible residents, HES-IE is free. Households may also qualify for insulation, and energy efficient appliances, including refrigerators.
    A $20 donation is suggested.

    For more information and directions »
  6. Fairlee, VT – Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Annual Conference – December 3
    9:00 am – 4:00 pm

    Mark your calendars for the Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Conference which will be held on Saturday, December 3rd from 9:00 am- 4:00 pm at the Lake Morey Inn in Fairlee, Vermont.

    Organized by VECAN and the UVM Extension Service, this daylong conference is for town energy committees, municipal officials, local and regional planners, and concerned citizens interested in reducing energy costs and tackling climate change. This year's conference will feature Commissioner Elizabeth Miller with the Vermont Department of Public Service Commissioner and Secretary Deborah Markowitz with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

    Commissioner Miller will talk about the new State Energy Plan and what it means for communities, and Secretary Markowitz will discuss the work of the State's Climate Cabinet. The conference will also feature environmental activist, actor, and writer Kathryn Blume who will talk about how one individual can make a difference in affecting climate change.

    The day will include 14 different workshops focused on promoting efficiency and renewable energy at the local level, along with a number of different roundtable discussions topics designed to promote dialogue.

    For more information, contact: Jessie Schmidt, UVM Extension at 866-860-1382 x203 or by e-mail at jessica.a.schmidt@uvm.edu

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. U.S. Department of Housing, Urban Development to Fund Energy Efficiency Upgrades – deadline October 20
    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a Notice of Funding Availability for the Multifamily Energy Innovation Fund. The fund provides a total of $25 million in grants to be used for the purpose of energy efficiency upgrades at multifamily properties. Applications for funding are due October 20, 2011.

    Additional information, including eligibility requirements, is available.
  2. MAPC opportunity for LED streetlights – RSVP by November 2 for November 3
    The Metropolitan Area Planning Council would like to inform you of an opportunity to participate in a group RFP for LED streetlights, which MAPC intends to issue in collaboration with the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Chelsea, among others. If your city or town is looking into procuring LED streetlights, participation in this group procurement is an opportunity to secure competitive pricing for these fixtures.

    MAPC would like to invite all prospective participants to attend a roundtable at the MAPC offices on Thursday, November 3, from 10am-12pm. The purpose of this roundtable will be to discuss specifications for the bid documents and to facilitate an exchange on experiences with current LED streetlight projects. Representatives from the City of Boston and the Department of Energy Resources, as well as others with experience in the LED street lighting field, will be present to help answer questions about the process.

    If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Helen Aki (haki@mapc.org) no later than 5pm on Wednesday, November 2nd with a brief description of the retrofit project your city or town is interested in pursuing. Please also specify whether your city or town owns its street lighting infrastructure, or whether it is managed by NSTAR or National Grid.

    For more information »
  3. U.S. EPA Announces Environmental Information Exchange Network Funding – deadline November 4
    On August 15, 2011, the U.S. EPA announced funding for state and local governments through the Exchange Network Grant Program. The program supports the exchange of environmental data and collaborative work within the network, as well as the standardization, exchange, and integration of geospatial information to support work to preserve and improve the environment, natural resources, and human health.

    In Fiscal Year 2012, EPA expects to award a total of $10 million in 40 to 50 grants of up to $350,000.
    Applications for funding are due November 4, 2011.

    For more information »
  4. MAPC Clean Energy Initiative – deadline November 10
    The MAPC Clean Energy Initiative is pleased to announce the launch of the Local Energy Action Program, a program that aims to help cities and towns create and implement local energy action plans over a two-year period. Three to five communities will be chosen to participate in the program starting in January 2012.

    The communities participating in the Local Energy Action Program will receive technical assistance from MAPC to plan for and launch innovative and financially sustainable projects that reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in the municipal, residential, and commercial sectors. Projects initiated through this program will vary based on the extent to which each community has previously engaged in clean energy work. Projects will be tailored by both a public engagement process and the efforts of a municipal working group to meet the unique needs and abilities of each participating city or town.

    All communities, including those with their own muni-electric component, are eligible to apply for funding. The program is to be spread over two years in each town selected and the money can be applied both developing new climate action plans, or reviewing existing CA plans to see how they could be improved and CE projects implemented more effectively.

    If you are interested, a letter of interest must be submitted by November 10 and final application is due December 15. Program participants will be announced in January 2012.

    Letters of interest can be submitted by anyone in a city or town (e.g., municipal staff, energy committee member, community leader, etc.) who can commit to recruiting support from municipal leadership.

    The application must be signed by the municipal CEO and should be accompanied by additional letters of support from municipal officials and other stakeholders (e.g. community leaders, community organizations, local businesses, etc.). MAPC staff can provide support for putting together an application upon request.

    Applicants will be asked to show good faith in implementing the scope of work with MAPC, and will be expected to match MAPC's technical assistance with funding and/or staff time.

    MAPC will use a comprehensive selection process to choose a diverse and dedicated group of MAPC member municipalities to participate in the program. Among other criteria, applicants will be chosen based on shown level of commitment, interest from diverse body of stakeholders, and matching ability.

    Completed applications and questions can be directed to:
    Erin Brandt at phone: (617) 451-2770 ext. 2044 or ebrandt@mapc.org

    For more information »
  5. Coastal Climate Adaptation – deadline November 22
    The U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requests proposals for the Sea Grant Community Climate Adaptation Initiative 2011. This initiative will fund climate adaptation efforts as part of an overall plan to enhance climate adaptation in coastal communities. $1 million expected to be available, individual awards NTE $100K. Responses due November 22, 2011.

    For more information »
    Or contact oar.hq.sg.competitions@noaa.gov
  6. Energy Efficiency Assistance For Cranston and East Providence, Rhode Island
    People's Power & Light is getting the word out about EnergyWise, a National Grid rate-payer funded program designed to increase energy efficiency and save local residents and businesses money.

    Every National Grid customer in a single family home or a multi-family building with up to four units is eligible for a no-cost, no obligation home energy assessment offered through the EnergyWise program. The assessment takes approximately 2 hours and during the visit an energy advisor will complete a comprehensive home energy assessment. This is an in-depth assessment of the home's energy efficiency. The advisor will evaluate the home's air leakage, insulation, windows, heating system, hot water system, appliances and lighting, and even install instant savings measure.

    Advisors will install instant energy savings measures during their visit. Measures may include new energy efficient lighting, hot water pipe installation, and low flow water devices such as faucet aerators and shower heads.

    Then you'll receive a printout of what was done, and suggestions for additional work. This personalized statement gives estimated costs for these suggested actions, and the estimated savings. This list might include things like installing additional insulation, replacing a refrigerator, or tuning up your heating system. The statement also helps you find additional rebates and incentives to make the recommended work even more affordable.

    These include: A 75% instant rebate, up to $2,000, for recommended insulation and weatherization work for gas and electric heated homes. For oil customers there is a limited-time 25% instant rebate for weatherization work up to $2,250.

    Homeowners can receive $50 for getting rid of a second refrigerator, or upgrading their primary refrigerator to an Energy Star model.

    A 0% interest heat loan may be available for qualifying customers and upgrades.

    Following up on these recommended measures will allow you to substantially reduce your energy consumption and energy spending.

    For more information, visit http://ripower.org/energy-efficiency and click on either the Cranston or East Providence link on the left.

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (all times are EST; free but registration required)
    • Oct 4, 2pm, K-12 Benchmarking 101
    • Oct 13, 12pm, Portfolio Manager: Advanced Features
    • Oct 13, 1pm, IT Energy Savings for Non-Techies: Getting to Yes
    • Oct 17, 8:30pm ,Energy Stewardship for Houses of Worship – Session 2
    • Oct 18, 1pm, Computer Power Management with ENERGY STAR
    • Oct 18, 2pm, Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager for State and Local Governments and EECBG Recipients
    • Oct 19, 1pm, Purchasing and Procuring Efficient Equipment
    • Oct 24, 8:30pm, Energy Stewardship for Houses of Worship – Session 3
    Register for all ENERGY STAR webinars »
  2. U.S. EPA Releases Tools to Help Water Utilities Adapt to Climate Change
    On August 29, 2011, the U.S. EPA released a new set of tools to help water utilities adapt to climate change. The updated Climate Ready Water Utilities toolbox provides access to over 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities, including reports and publications, information about funding programs, upcoming workshops and training sessions, models and tools, and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies.

    The toolbox is available.
  3. U.S. EPA Releases Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures
    On September 8, 2011, the U.S. EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities released a Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures. The guide describes opportunities for transportation agencies to incorporate environmental, economic, and social sustainability into decision-making through the use of performance measures. The guide describes 12 performance measures that can readily be used in transportation decision-making, and for each presents possible metrics, summarizes analytical methods and data sources, and illustrates its use by one or more transportation agencies.

    The guide is available.

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