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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

September 2011 Volume 35
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. U.S. EPA Model Forest Policy Program Announces Scholarships for Climate Solutions Development – due September 19
  2. U.S. Department of Energy Accepting Offers for New Solar Decathlon Venue
  3. ENERGY STAR for Congregations outreach

ARTICLES

  1. Cool Roofs Could Increase Output from Solar Panels
  2. Maine Land Use Regulation Commission Tentatively Approves Wind Energy Farm
  3. Vermont Public Service Board Approves Energy Efficiency Program Budget
  4. Study: Many Vermonters pass up home energy savings

EVENTS

  1. Massachusetts – Free informational sessions on solar energy sponsored by Sunlight Solar Energy – September 7 (Waltham) and September 21 (Lincoln)
  2. Massachusetts – Deep Energy Measure Verification Workshops – September 13 (Raynham) and September 20 (Springfield)
  3. Bradford, VT – Local Energy and Agriculture Fair (LEAF) – September 17
  4. Massachusetts – Mass DOER's Smart Building: High Performance Homes Workshops and Incentive Presentations – September 20 (Lenox), September 22 (Arlington) and September 23 (Westborough)
  5. Waitsfield, VT – Vermont Natural Resources Council Annual Meeting – September 22
  6. Berlin, NH – North Country Energy Fair – September 24
  7. New England – NESEA Green Building Open House – October 1
  8. Lowell, MA – Carbon Smarts Conference: Learning Science on the Go – October 20-21

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Energy Efficient Affordable Housing - Maine to Florida – deadline September 2
  2. U.S. HUD – Community Challenge Planning Grant – deadline September 9
  3. Grassroots Environmental Fund - New England – deadline September 15
  4. U.S. EPA Announces Environmental Information Exchange Network Funding – deadline November 4
  5. Coastal Climate Adaptation – deadline November 22

TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR free webinars
  2. NOAA Webinar – Community Resilience, Part I: Assessing Vulnerabilities Using the Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk – September 7
  3. Three reports from recent research on energy efficiency in Vermont
  4. U.S. Congressional Budget Office Releases Study on Renewable Energy Standards

ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. U.S. EPA Model Forest Policy Program Announces Scholarships for Climate Solutions Development – due September 19
    On August 15, 2011, the U.S. EPA announced that the Model Forest Policy Program is now accepting applications for the 2012 Climate Solutions University: Forest and Water Strategies. The program will provide $10,000 scholarships to six rural communities to be involved in national climate adaptation strategy development. Applications are due September 19, 2011.

    More Information »
  2. U.S. Department of Energy Accepting Offers for New Solar Decathlon Venue
    On August 1, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invited venues across the country to compete for the opportunity to host DOE's Solar Decathlon 2013. The Solar Decathlon is a competition for students to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are affordable, energy efficient, attractive, and easy to live in. In order to raise awareness of the competition, DOE is accepting bids for a new venue. Solar Decathlon 2011 will take place at the National Mall's West Potomac Park in Washington, DC, from September 23 through October 2, 2011.

    More Information »
  3. ENERGY STAR for Congregations outreach
    EPA New England would like to reach out to New England congregations who have already made the commitment to becoming better stewards of their funds and the Earth. If you would like assistance in starting the ENERGY STAR designation process or if you have started the benchmarking process and need help with setting up account, collecting data, or using Portfolio Manager, feel free to contact Wadi Muhammad (muhammad.wadi@epa.gov).

    ENERGY STAR Congregations is a free, unbiased energy efficiency technical support program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Members receive a free electronic newsletter, learn about our annual awards program, see winners' success stories, can download the free online Putting Energy into Stewardship guide and get "how-to" technical support for improving stewardship of the environment and congregational funds for both existing worship facilities and new construction.

    How to Join:
    visit https://www.energystar.gov/congregations (bottom left of page click on Join Energy Star)
    Under Partnership Agreements For click on "Organizations that Own/Manage/Lease Buildings & Plants"

    For Frequently Asked Questions and Printable Informational Materials click on documents below
    ENERGY STAR for Congregations Fact Sheet (PDF) (1 pg, 698 K)
    ENERGY STAR Congregation Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) (2 pp, 103K)
    New England House of Worship Rating and Awards (PDF) (2 pp, 124 K)
    Putting Energy Into Stewardship: ENERGY STAR Guide for Congregations (PDF) (39 pp, 1.6 MB)

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ARTICLES

  1. Cool Roofs Could Increase Output from Solar Panels
    An article published July 25, 2011 found that it could be possible to use solar panels as components of cool roof projects. One company that has combined the technologies reported that the output of its solar power system increases 20 percent when combined with a cool roof. Because cool roofs are designed to be reflective to sunlight, they can be used to direct more light toward solar panels to generate additional energy. Cool roofs can also reduce energy consumption in buildings by 10-30 percent, depending on building type, load, season, and climate zone.

    Read full article »
  2. Maine Land Use Regulation Commission Tentatively Approves Wind Energy Farm
    On August 3, 2011, members of Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission (LURC) gave tentative approval to a 19-turbine wind energy farm in rural Hancock County. Pending additional review of some concerns over how the project would affect environmental scenery in the area. Final approval is expected at LURC's meeting in September 2011. The estimated $70 million project includes 19 1.8-megawatt turbines.

    Read full article »
  3. Vermont Public Service Board Approves Energy Efficiency Program Budget
    On August 1, 2011, the Vermont Public Service Board approved a three-year budget for the statewide energy efficiency utility program that calls for gradual growth by increasing electric rates by less than 1 percent annually. The state will invest $128 million in energy efficiency in 2012 through 2014, with about $259 million in saved energy costs as a result. Efficiency Vermont promotes energy savings through rebates on low-wattage light bulbs and home appliances and has specialists on staff devoted to energy savings on farms, in convenience stories, and in other venues. Funding for the efficiency programs is raised through surcharges on electric bills, which will remain less than one cent per kilowatt-hour.

    Read full article »
  4. Study: Many Vermonters pass up home energy savings
    New research indicates Vermonters could save more than $800 million during the next 20 years and could generate jobs in the home improvement industry if residents would invest in insulation, new windows and other measures designed to keep homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, according to the Middlebury-based High Meadows Fund. The typical homeowner could cut costs by 30 to 50 percent.

    High Meadows, a nonprofit devoted to environmental stewardship and economic vitality, released a group of studies that examine ways to get more Vermonters over misgivings and get the work done to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

    "It is not lack of funding that stops many homeowners from improving their energy efficiency," said Gaye Symington, executive director of High Meadows. "It is a lack of demand for what they consider a complicated process with unknown benefits. We need to make energy efficiency easier to see and do."

    Read full article »

    To read reports, see "Tools and Training" below.

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EVENTS

  1. Massachusetts – Free informational sessions on solar energy sponsored by Sunlight Solar Energy – September 7 (Waltham) and September 21 (Lincoln)
    Wed, Sept 7, 6:30 pm – Community Event at Waltham Public Library, 735 Main Street Waltham, MA
    Wed, Sept 21, 7:00 pm – Community Event at Lincoln Public Library, 3 Bedford Road, Lincoln, MA

    For more information »
  2. Massachusetts – Deep Energy Measure Verification Workshops – September 13 (Raynham) and September 20 (Springfield)
    Sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

    This full-day workshop will explore how building energy professionals can specify and verify deep energy envelope measures in residential buildings, provide an update on lessons learned in the recent deep energy retrofit pilot projects that have earned $20K to $72K in incentives in MA and RI, and examine technical concepts and proven techniques for high performance retrofits that achieve greater than 50% energy savings

    Cost is $50, lunch included, advance registration is required - workshop is eligible for 7 AIA Continuing Education credits (seven hours).

    Tues, September 13, 9:00 am–4:30 pm
    Courtyard Boston Raynham, 37 Paramount Drive, Route 44, Raynham, MA 02767 – (508) 822-8383

    Register for September 13 training in Raynham.
    If you encounter problems with the online registration, please call James Gardner at (978) 589-5100 x5278

    Tues, September 20, 9:00am–4:30pm Springfield Technical Community College, Scibelli Hall, Building #2, Springfield, MA 01102

    Register for September 20 training in Springfield.
    If you encounter problems with the online registration, please call Lisa Karlin at (413) 586-7350 x240 or email training@cetonline.org
  3. Bradford, VT – Local Energy and Agriculture Fair (LEAF) – September 17
    9am – 6pm Rain or Shine Main Street
    Bradford, VT

    FREE Event! Keynote Address by Bill McKibben, Author, Educator & Environmentalist

    Panels & Presentations on Vermont's Working Landscape, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Local Business Practices, Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Booths, Demonstrations and Workshops

    Screenings & Discussions of Award-Winning Current Films, Waits River Hydro Dam Tours, Solar Array Tour & Cafeteria Gardens at Bradford Elementary School

    Live Music throughout the day and Farmers' & Artisans' Market

    3pm Concert on the Bradford Academy Stage by the Wall-Stiles.

    While the LEAF event is free, please bring a non-perishable food item for Bradford Area food shelves if you can. Thank you!

    For more information »

  4. Massachusetts – Mass DOER's Smart Building: High Performance Homes Workshops and Incentive Presentations – September 20 (Lenox), September 22 (Arlington) and September 23 (Westborough)
    All workshops 8:30am – 2pm

    Tues, Sept 20 – Lenox Town Hall Auditorium, Lenox, MA
    Thurs, Sept 22 – Arlington Town Hall, 730 Mass Ave, Arlington, MA
    Fri, Sept 23 – Conservation Services Group, 50 Washington St, Suite 3000, Westborough, MA

    This workshop is an opportunity for builders and designers to move towards utilizing smarter building practices that will result in higher performing residential buildings that are compliant with existing energy codes. Participants will learn how to apply a systems approach, using the interaction between different components and materials to avoid moisture problems, improve indoor air quality, ensure combustion safety, prevent ice dams and other expensive callbacks, and reduce energy consumption.

    Building professionals such as builders, contractors, architects, building code officials (building inspectors), remodelers, appraisers, and home inspectors find this workshop beneficial. CEUs & LUs from BBRS (for Building Officials only), BPI and AIA are available. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

    Presented by The Center for EcoTechnology and the Conservation Services Group (CSG), and sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

    For more information »
  5. Waitsfield, VT – Vermont Natural Resources Council Annual Meeting – September 22
    5-7:30pm
    Lareau Farm Inn, Waitsfield, VT

    Join in on the fun September 22 at one of Vermont's renowned restaurants – American Flatbread – at the Lareau Farm Inn as VNRC holds its annual meeting, from 5 – 7:30 pm. Entertainment will be by local music talent 440Hertz.

    A $20 donation is suggested.

    Enjoy Flatbread and beverages, and hear from House Speaker Shap Smith who will discuss Vermont's achievements and opportunities to strengthen the environmental policies that are so vital to the health of our economy, communities and natural resources.

    For more information »
  6. Berlin, NH – North Country Energy Fair – September 24
    Looking for Vendors, Demonstrations and Lecturers to be a part of the North Country Energy Fair!

    For more information, contact Cimbria Badenhausen, Community Manager at 603-326-6166 or CimbriaB@NHCDFA.org
  7. New England – NESEA Green Building Open House – October 1
    Save the date for NESEA's Green Buildings Open House!

    NESEA's Green Buildings Open House represents the Northeast in conjunction with ASES' National Solar Tour.

    Be a Green Buildings Open House Host! Put your home, business, or school on the Tour – Site registration is now open!

    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 »
  8. Lowell, MA – Carbon Smarts Conference: Learning Science on the Go – October 20-21
    Learning Science Any time, Any place!

    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 »

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FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  1. Energy Efficient Affordable Housing - Maine to Florida – deadline September 2
    The TD Charitable Foundation, TD Bank, requests proposals for the "Building for the Future" competition, in support of affordable housing initiatives. This competition focuses on areas including but not limited to: Energy efficiency, including weatherization initiatives, HVAC improvements, or implementation of alternative or renewable energy sources. 25 awards of $100K each are anticipated. Responses due September 2, 2011.

    For more information »
  2. US HUD – Community Challenge Planning Grant – deadline September 9
    The Department of Housing and Urban Development's $28 million Community Challenge Planning Grant Program fosters reform and reduces barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities. Such efforts may include amending or replacing local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes, either on a jurisdiction-wide basis or in a specific neighborhood, district, corridor, or sector to promote mixed-use development, affordable housing, the reuse of older buildings and structures for new purposes, and similar activities with the goal of promoting sustainability at the local or neighborhood level. This Program also supports the development of affordable housing through the development and adoption of inclusionary zoning ordinances and other activities to support planning implementation.

    For more information »
  3. Grassroots Environmental Fund - New England – deadline September 15
    The New England Grassroots Environment Fund requests proposals from New England organizations for the Small Grants Program. The Fund supports long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe, and environmentally sustainable communities. Grant range generally $500 to $2.5K. Responses due September 15, 2011.

    For more information »
  4. 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, visit http://www.epa.gov/exchangenetwork/grants/index.html or http://listserve.icfi.com/read/messages?id=46070.
  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

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TOOLS/TRAINING

  1. ENERGY STAR webinars (all times are EST; free but registration required)
    • Sept 13 1pm Office Buildings: Benchmark Energy Performance Using EPA's ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager
    • Sept 13 2pm Benchmarking in Portfolio Manager for State and Local Governments and EECBG Recipients
    • Sept 13 2pm Responding to the Climate Change Imperative: Setting Energy Use Targets with ENERGY STAR
    • Sept 14 1pm Multifamily Housing: Benchmark Energy Performance Using EPA's ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager
    • Sept 15 2pm Benchmarking Water/Wastewater Treatment Facilities in Portfolio Manager
    • Sept 20 1pm Computer Power Management with ENERGY STAR
    • Sept 21 1pm Purchasing and Procuring Efficient Equipment
    Register for all ENERGY STAR webinars »
  2. NOAA Webinar – Community Resilience, Part I: Assessing Vulnerabilities Using the Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk – September 7
    2:00 – 3:00pm

    Looking for a participatory approach to assessing community risk and vulnerabilities to hazards and climate change? Need to know which types of data and information can be helpful in characterizing your hazards story? Then sign up for this webinar, which will highlight a customizable approach for assessing hazard and climate change threats and impacts.

    This approach, the Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk, is a participatory process for assessing vulnerability. The Roadmap helps communities characterize their vulnerabilities to hazards and climate change, and assess how existing planning and policy efforts can incorporate vulnerability issues. The Roadmap process helps communities move beyond general awareness of hazard and climate change impacts to actually identify risks and the potential actions that can reduce these risks. The presentation will also provide information on additional resources for identifying and communicating potential risks and vulnerabilities.

    Register »
  3. Three reports from recent research on energy efficiency in Vermont
    A "one stop shop" system would make it easier for Vermonters to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes. And if Vermonters took advantage of energy efficiency investments, they could save between $800 and $1,100 a year while living more comfortably.

    Those are two of the messages contained in recent research conducted by the Vermont Law School, Efficiency Vermont, and the Regulatory Assistance Project. The research is included in three reports which were commissioned by the High Meadows Fund.

    View the reports »
  4. U.S. Congressional Budget Office Releases Study on Renewable Energy Standards
    On July 26, 2011, the U.S. Congressional Budget Office released a study that examines how a federal renewable or clean electricity standard would change the mix of fuels used for electricity generation, the amount of carbon dioxide emissions, and the retail price of electricity in different parts of the United States. In particular, the study explores how some proposed features of such standards would affect those outcomes. The study also highlights key design elements to help minimize the costs to U.S. households and businesses.

    View report: "The Effects of Renewable or Clean Electricity Standards" »

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