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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

March 2013 Volume 53
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. EPA New England’s annual Environmental Merit Awards nomination season open – nomination forms due March 1
  2. US EPA – Free Print Version of Climate Change Indicators report

ARTICLES

  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories Study Impact of Cool Roofs and Pavements
  2. Scientists Release Study on Cities Altering Atmospheric Temperatures
  3. U.S. Federal Agencies Release Sustainability and Climate Adaptation Plans
  4. New Hampshire Research Institutes Develop Climate Adaptation Plan

EVENTS

  1. Bangor, ME – Film and discussion: Chasing Ice – March 1
  2. Plainfield, VT – Panel on Creating Sustainable & Healthy Communities in a Changing Climate – March 4
  3. Boston, MA – NESEA Building Energy 13 – March 5-7
  4. Boston, MA – Northeastern University Open Classroom Series on Climate Change – March 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10, 17
  5. Nashua, NH – Button Up NH Home Energy Savings Workshop – March 20
  6. Littleton, NH – North Country Green Energy Fair – April 6
  7. Tilton, NH - Local Energy Solutions Conference 2013 – April 13

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. New England Grassroots Environment Fund – SEED grants (rolling deadline) and GROW grants – March 15
  2. RE.invest Initiative – deadline March 15

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
  2. Free Webinar from New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions (LES) Training Series – March 13
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Launches Database for Ocean Energy Resources
  4. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Releases Energy Efficiency and Pollution Control Calculator

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. EPA New England's annual Environmental Merit Awards nomination season open – nomination forms due March 1
    EPA-Region 1 is now accepting nominations for the 2013 Environmental Merit Awards, which will recognize environmental achievements during the past year. Award categories are available for individuals, businesses, state and local governments, and other organizations. Awards are also given under a lifetime achievement category.

    These regional awards have been given out annually since EPA was created in 1970. Past recipients have included scientists, community activists, business representatives, public officials and other individuals committed to preserving the environment. An independent EPA panel will select the winners based on the following criteria: long-term effects on the environment; ability to address an environmental problem or need; collaboration with others; ability of the program or accomplishments to be widely shared; clarity and effectiveness of the presentation; and promotion of innovative ideas or techniques.

    The awards are given in four categories: individual; business, industry, trade, and professional organization; local, state or federal government; and environmental, community or non-profit organization.

    The deadline for nominations is March 1.
    Awards winners will be invited to a ceremony this spring in Boston.

    For more information and nomination forms »
  2. US EPA – Free Print Version of Climate Change Indicators report
    The U.S. EPA announced that free print versions of its “Climate Change Indicators in the United States 2012” report are now available. The report tracks observed signs of climate change in the United States through a set of 26 indicators, which fall into five categories: greenhouse gases, snow and ice, oceans, weather and climate, and society and ecosystems. It is designed to help scientists, analysts, educators, and others to assess trends in environmental quality, support science-based decision making, and evaluate existing and future policies and programs related to climate.

    The report is available online.
    Print copies can be ordered by emailing climateindicators@epa.gov

    There is no charge for these reports, but the EPA would like to hear how you'll be using the report to support your own climate change work on a state or local level.

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ARTICLES

  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories Study Impact of Cool Roofs and Pavements
    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories are exploring the effect cool roofs and pavements could have on climate change, as well as developing next-generation building materials that could reflect more light. Cool roofs and pavements use light-colored materials to reflect heat away from the surface. The scientists have found that if all eligible flat urban roofs worldwide were whitened, it could reflect away enough heat to offset the warming effect of 1.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
  2. Scientists Release Study on Cities Altering Atmospheric Temperatures
    Scientists released a study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere. Scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others. The researchers stressed that the effect of waste heat is distinct from the urban heat island effect. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    The study, “Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America,” is available at.
  3. U.S. Federal Agencies Release Sustainability and Climate Adaptation Plans
    U.S. federal agencies released their 2012 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plans. Under a 2009 Executive Order from President Obama, all federal agencies are required to have a Sustainability Plan and set targets for reducing waste and pollution by 2020. This year, agency Sustainability Plans for the first time include Climate Change Adaptation Plans, outlining initiatives to reduce the vulnerability of federal programs, assets, and investments to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise or more frequent or severe extreme weather. Agency adaptation plans highlight actions to plan for and address these impacts in their programs and operations, and protect taxpayer investments.

    The 2012 Sustainability Plans are available.
  4. New Hampshire Research Institutes Develop Climate Adaptation Plan
    The University of New Hampshire and Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve are working with the town of Exeter, New Hampshire to develop a climate change adaptation plan. The plan is expected to be based on Exeter's perspectives using hydraulic and hydrologic modeling and climate change scenarios. The plan is sponsored through a $683,472 grant from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to a research professor, Exeter was a good fit for the grant because the grant focuses on the protection of large watersheds and Exeter sits along the Great Bay watershed.

    The study will also look at how climate change may impact the Squamscott River and its ecosystem.

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EVENTS

  1. Bangor, ME – Film and discussion: Chasing Ice – March 1
    7:00pm – 9:00pm
    Bangor Opera House, 131 Main St., Bangor, Maine

    Post-film discussion panel will include: Climatologist Dr. George Jacobson, environmental lawyer Sharon Tisher, glaciologist Gordon Hamilton, and 350 Maine organizer Read Brugger.

    Film Synopsis: In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

    Admission: $8, tickets available at the door or buy online.
  2. Plainfield, VT – Panel on Creating Sustainable & Healthy Communities in a Changing Climate – March 4
    7:00pm – 8:30pm
    Haybarn Theatre at Goddard College, 123 Pitkin Rd., Plainfield, VT

    A panel presentation and discussion about the impacts of climate change, adaptation and developing sustainability, including:

    Brian Woods, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Climate Change Team Coordinator, will describe the climate changes taking place in Vermont and the state and local responses to these changes.

    Kate McCarthy, the Sustainable Communities Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council, will explain how land use decisions can be the basis for resilient communities that promote energy savings, community health, and wise use of natural resources.

    Scott Sawyer, primary author of the Vermont Farm to Plate Strategic Plan at the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, will discuss the elements of our food system, the implications of climate change for this system, and the strategies of the Farm to Plate Plan.

    David Grass, the Environmental Health Surveillance Chief at the Vermont Department of Health, will provide an overview of the human health impacts of climate change, and discuss the framework the health department plans to use to address these issues.
  3. Boston, MA – NESEA Building Energy 13 – March 5-7
    BuildingEnergy (BE) is a cross-disciplinary renewable energy and high-performance building conference and trade show. NESEA’s flagship program, it’s an annual intergenerational gathering of professionals for three days of networking, accredited educational sessions, collaboration, and trade show.

    NESEA members drive the content from questions that come up in their professional lives – from ‘what type of heating system makes sense for this low load building’ to ‘how do we plan more resilient neighborhoods’? It’s a place to shape a vision of a sustainable built environment and to do the whole systems thinking it will take to get there.

    The conference will have 80 accredited sessions and workshops on renewable energy and green buildings.
  4. Boston, MA – Northeastern University Open Classroom Series on Climate Change – March 13, 20, 27 and April 3, 10, 17
    6:00pm – 8:00pm
    Northeastern University, West Village F, Room 20, Boston, MA

    Each semester Northeastern University selects one graduate-level seminar and opens it up to the public-at-large to attend for free. Each week a prominent guest lecturer is featured with real-world expertise and experience. For Spring Semester 2013, the Open Classroom will be on Climate Change: Challenges & Solutions.

    For more information and the agenda »

    For directions »
  5. Nashua, NH – Button Up NH Home Energy Savings Workshop – March 20
    6:30pm – 8:30pm
    Nashua City Hall Auditorium, 229 Main Street, Nashua, NH

    Learn about simple and affordable things you can do yourself, and advanced projects to reduce energy bills, including Energy Use in your home, Reducing Heating Cost, Reducing Electricity Cost, Health and Safety Concerns, Working with Professionals, and Energy Programs to Help Save Money.

    This free event is sponsored by Liberty Utilities.

    Certified energy professional will present the workshops. Participants will learn basic building science concepts and learn how to undertake basic air sealing, insulation, and conservation measures to reduce fuel and electricity use. Workshop attendees will learn how to sign up for Home Performance with ENERGY STAR (HPwES) - a program offered by local utilities that provides financial incentives and technical expertise to assist homeowners with buttoning up their homes.

    For more information, contact Bob Eldredge at nhenergyguy@gmail.com or 603-344-4540
  6. Littleton, NH – North Country Green Energy Fair – April 6
    9:00am – 5:00pm
    Littleton High School, 159 Oak Hill Avenue, Littleton, NH

    The fair will focus on energy efficient businesses and what they can do to help you live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. There will be a multitude of businesses and individuals displaying their environmentally friendly and energy efficient products and services. There will be displays, vendors, demonstrations, and seminars. Exhibitors will include everyone from solar panels, energy audits, green builders, geothermal, and vendors that showcase environmentally green home products.

    This free event is sponsored by the Littleton Area Chamber of Commerce.

    For more information, contact Chad Stearns at cstearns@littletonareachamber.com or 603-444-6561
  7. Tilton, NH - Local Energy Solutions Conference 2013 – April 13
    8:30am – 3:30pm
    Winnisquam Regional High School, Tilton, NH

    The Fifth Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference (LES) will be held on April 13th at Winnisquam Regional High School in Tilton, NH, organized by the NH Local Energy Work Group.

    Multi-track sessions, panel discussions and keynote address
    • Project specific information: new resources and best practices
    • Networking opportunities with over 250 participants including local energy committee members, municipal/school staff and board members, businesses, legislators and community volunteers
    • Sessions planned and delivered by New England energy leaders
    For more information and to register »

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. New England Grassroots Environment Fund – SEED grants (rolling deadline) and GROW grants – March 15

    NEGEF grants are designed for groups that:
    • are doing community-based environmental work in CT, ME, MA, NH, RI or VT;
    • are volunteer-driven or have up to 2 full-time paid staff (or equivalents);
    • have an annual budget up to $100,000
    SEED grants are for quick project-focused grants dedicated to help volunteer groups launch and build their newly evolving project(s).

    Deadline: Apply anytime (expect a decision in 3 weeks)
    Grant range: $250 – $1,000
    Apply for a Seed grant if your group:
    • is launching a new or evolving community-based project;
    • expenses are for materials, outreach and/or other project expenses;
    • project costs generally less than $10,000;
    • needs a quick decision;
    • has not received a SEED grant within one year of the current application.
    GROW grants are competitive group development grants dedicated to help established groups increase capacity, collaborate, and leverage impact.

    Deadlines: March 15 & September 15 (expect decisions early June & December)
    Grant range: $1,000 – $3,500
    Apply for a Grow grant if your group:
    • needs help evolving and expanding the community group;
    • expenses can include general operating, stipends, capacity building, program development, expert assistance, etc.
    • has been active for more than 1 year;
    • has not received a GROW grant within one year of the current application.
  2. RE.invest Initiative – deadline March 15
    Eligible Entities: Cities and metropolitan areas of all sizes from around the United States.

    The RE.invest Initiative was developed to create a shift in the way to design, plan, and invest in resilient infrastructure systems to attract large-scale private financing. The Initiative comes from funding support from the Rockefeller Foundation. The RE.invest Initiative will deploy teams of engineers, lawyers, and public finance experts to work directly with officials and managers of 6-8 selected cities to develop locally appropriate strategies for creating investable sustainable infrastructure portfolios, including stormwater, broadband, and electricity systems, through new Community Investment Vehicles (CIVics). The end product will be a national report that provides options for how the participant cities can implement sustainable infrastructure improvements through a CIVic or other public-private partnership and a template for other interested cities to develop similar financing and integrated sustainable infrastructure delivery approaches.

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (free but registration required)
    • Mar 5, 2pm, Financing Energy Efficient Upgrades with ENERGY STAR
    • Mar 12, 2 pm, The Basics of Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager
    • Mar 14, 1 pm, Data Center Energy Efficiency Opportunities: What Managers Should Know
    • Mar 14, 2 pm, Benchmarking Water/Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Portfolio Manager
    • Mar 21, 2 pm, Computer Power Management with ENERGY STAR
    Register for all ENERGY STAR webinars.
  2. Free Webinar from New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions (LES) Training Series – March 13
    Wednesday, March 13
    12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

    "A Look Behind the Curtain: Energy Policy and Process in the Granite State"
    Join the Local Energy Work Group for a session on the State of New Hampshire's current energy initiatives and a review of a recent report by the State's Energy and Sustainable Energy Board containing recommendations to improve the state's energy market.

    The session will conclude with a tour of the State's online resources that will enable you to research and track energy issues under consideration by the legislature.

    Register for the webinar.
    Space is Limited.
  3. U.S. Department of Energy Launches Database for Ocean Energy Resources
    The U.S. Department of Energy, in partnership with the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems initiative, launched a new database to help industry regulators and energy project developers develop ocean energy projects in an environmentally friendly manner. Called “Tethys,” the database includes the results of environmental monitoring and research efforts on tidal, current, and wave energy development around the world. Tethys identifies research on potential environmental effects and monitoring techniques for ocean power.

    The database is available.
  4. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Releases Energy Efficiency and Pollution Control Calculator
    The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released a tool intended to help policymakers, state governments, utility operators, and other stakeholders estimate the multi-pollutant air quality benefits of energy efficiency policies and compare both the benefits and the costs with more traditional approaches to reducing pollution. The results provided by this tool are high-level estimates intended to provide the user with an idea of the magnitude of the costs and the impacts of these options on energy use and pollution.

    The ACEEE Energy Efficiency and Pollution Control Calculator (EEPC) is available.

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