Strategies for local agencies to gain community feedback during COVID-19. High and low tech options.
Strategies for local agencies to gain community feedback during COVID-19. High and low tech options.
This fact sheet on engaging elected officials was presented as part of the Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) Best Practices Forum on June 19, 2014 in San Diego by Liz Yager from Sonoma County.
As the Energy and Sustainability Program Manager at the County of Sonoma, Liz works with elected officials from both Sonoma County and each of the nine cities within the county implementing energy related program across the region. As a Division manager Liz oversees the Sonoma county Energy Independence Program, the Sonoma County Energy Watch local government partnership with PG&E, in addition to her responsibility for internal utility and sustainability programs in County operations. SCEIP is one of the most successful and long running PACE financing programs in the country. Because energy efficiency programs are complex and historically have not been a core function of local government, Liz and her team lave had to learn how to properly engage elected officials on the topics in order to retain support for these programs. Her years of experience working with elected officials coming from different jurisdictions with different agendas are reflected in the fact sheet.
To date, the community facing aspects of the SCEW and SCEIP programs together have been responsible for over $70 million in local investment activity and have created or supported over 900 jobs.
In this database, more than 200 CHP Project Profiles compiled by DOE’s CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships (TAPs) can be searched by a variety of characteristics.
This document introduces readers to the benefits of integrating energy efficiency with other distributed energy resources to achieve resilience benefits. It describes two DOE tools that each provides high-level assessments of the size and potential cost of onsite energy systems that can power critical facilities, and presents case studies with completed analysis on potential energy investments at existing facilities managed by three partners in DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge.
In this June 2021 recording, Angie Hacker, the CCEC Statewide Best Practices Coordinator, interviews Shayna Hirshfield-Gold, Climate Coordinator with the City of Oakland, which is doing groundbreaking work to advance equity as part of its climate action efforts. As many in the State move forward from just counting carbon and kilowatts, we invite you to listen to a timely conversation on how to thoughtfully expand local climate work to effectively engage environmental justice voices and ideas and consider impacts and opportunities for historically underserved or marginalized communities. Shayna shares personal experiences and advice on pitfalls, best practices, and successes. Thanks to Oakland and Shayna for providing a leading example that other local governments can certainly learn from. https://www.youtube.com/embed/e7zpgFZ65cI?feature=oembed
The Governor’s OPR will soon release the HIgh Road Just Transition Roadmap, which aims to incorporate economic diversification, industry planning, safety net updates, workforce development and regional collaboratives in the process of transitioning justly into a sustainable California with principles rooted in equity, inclusivity and good quality jobs.
Funding for the transition will come from CERF and divided into:
– High road transition collaboratives ($50 mill for regional grants)
– High road transition implementation pilots($50 mil in Diversification grants)
– High oad transition Implementation Grants ($500 mil on economic development – job creation)
Local governments wishing to be involved in the process are encouraged to engage by getting involved with collaboratives and by engaging in sustainability activities and economic development plans within their jurisdictions. They are also encouraged to join the OPR Just Transition listserv to receive updates from this program.
An overview of building electrification technologies and common barriers and opportunities for scaling up implementation.
The Building Energy Benchmarking program requires owners of large buildings to report energy use to the California Energy Commission (CEC). These resources will help building owners and managers achieve higher building energy efficiency.
3C-REN’s Building Performance Training is tailored for current and prospective building professionals—with expert instruction, technical trainings, soft skills development and certifications on the latest energy efficiency methods and measures. Building Performance Training is available to designers, contractors, building and safety staff ,realtors and more. Learning units and certifications on various topics such as building science, energy code, decarbonizing technologies, passive house and more are offered through this program. To date, Building Performance Training has trained over 1,200 individuals and is currently exploring how to extend the program’s offerings to younger people and people going through career transitions.
California City used 0% on-bill financing, from Southern California Edison, to pay for a well pump retrofit. The improvement resulted in new infrastructure and $16,000 in annual energy savings, paying for itself in just three and a half years.
Equipment finance agreements from $10k-$250k; energy service agreements from $250,000 to $10 million for multifamily properties where at least 50% of unites are restricted to low-to moderate income households. The program complements existing affordable multifamily energy programs like SOMAH and LIWP
Loans from $2,500 to $50,000 for owners or renters of single-family residences with rates between 3.48% and 8.12%.
Leases and equipment finance agreements from $10,000 to $5 million with terms up to 10 years for small businesses and nonprofits which can be combined with utility incentives and financing programs.
This fact sheet provides an overview on using CHP to protect critical infrastructure, and how CHP can help create a more resilient and modern grid that keeps communities safe and protects businesses in the event of a large-scale power outage.
Steps to success: Benchmark/audit, Prioritize, Track Progress
Empower Procurement is excited to launch their new E-building Procurement Initiative. This program aims to tackle six initiatives: energy efficient products, expert energy services contractors, fuel switching resources: planning and installation, targeted specifications for low-energy building systems, new approaches to procurement operations, and training on organizations benchmarking and procurement metrics. The goal of this initiative is to build a collaborative network with local governments that provides opportunities for streamlined and cooperative procurement, while identifying challenges for electrification – particularly in existing government buildings. The product of this initiative will be represented in developed resources and best practices that are useful to the network.
The E-Fleet Accelerator offers school districts, higher education, governments, and select fleet operators support for the transition to electrified fleets. Transforming asset classes represents unique procurement barriers for institutional buyers. Fleet electrification is a prime example of this, and this PI will focus on addressing common gaps to improve the adoption of electric fleets for various purposes across diverse sectors. Our team provides customized insights to identify new opportunities to adopt electric fleets, and ensure successful fulfillment of electrification plans.
This Initiative provides free assessment to troubleshoot procurement processes. You will find tailored resources to help with procurement barriers. It has streamlined access to DERs product information as well as guidance on technology solutions to help make informed DERs purchasing decisions. The Products Procurement Initiative is designed to provide an opportunity for buyers to learn more about energy-efficient products and possible opportunities for cost savings.
Reach codes that exceed state standards, either voluntary or mandatory.
After the last major economic downturn, the federal government adopted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which provided stimulus funding for priorities including energy efficiency retrofits through the DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative. In California, three regions received millions of dollars to support new building efficiency incentive and assistance programs that targeted privately owned buildings and spurred economic opportunities for the hard-hit building trades. Twelve years later, those regions are now operating as Regional Energy Networks, with stable ratepayer funding authorized by the CPUC to continue offering services like BayREN’s Business programs. Recognizing that incentives and other financial mechanisms are critical for making the investment in energy efficient infrastructure more affordable and accessible to businesses, the BayREN Business program offers rebates, financing, and one-stop-shop technical assistance to ensure small and medium businesses can leverage all available energy saving programs and minimize out-of-pocket expenses. While this is an old example, it may help local governments consider how to take advantage of major State and federal stimulus efforts to create long-lasting support for building retrofits that also strengthen economic recovery. They may also consider how to design new or increased upgrade incentives for small or distressed businesses.
The California Hub for Energy Efficiency Financing (CHEEF) is now offering three financing programs to help your constituents updraig their properties. The GoGreen Financing includes a Home, Business and Affordable Multifamily program. This kind of financing alleviates upfront cost barriers for retrofits and can be used in combination with rebates and incentives or on its own! They hope local governments promote the financing program with their constituents who are waiting to take their next step on their energy efficiency plans!
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is dedicated to breaking the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Formerly the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, GHHI replaces stand-alone housing intervention programs with an integrated, whole-house approach that produces sustainable, green, healthy and safe homes. Through this model, Marin County is improving health, economic and social outcomes for low income eligible families across the country.
It is important for local governments to raise awareness about the current programs available to conduct energy updates. BayREN has identified that interagency collaboration is the key to navigate the complex landscape of programs offered by many organizations. We recommend LG’s should aspire to have successful guidelines that include knowledge sharing, a seamless user experience, and scaling for constituents. BayREN identified that useful tools to share knowledge include meeting people where they are at, partnering with complimentary programs, identifying your target audience and determining the best method of outreach based on their needs. This, followed by partnerships to present various EE programs from varying agencies will make for a seamless user experience. Finally, BayREN recommends combining rebates and financing to achieve savings greater than monthly payments so constituents can implement energy savings and reach renewable goals.
Energy efficiency in California is a hot topic, and constantly evolving. Some things local governments may want to keep track of include:
ILG’s Beacon Program provides recognition and support for California local agencies that are working to build more vibrant and sustainable communities. Beacon honors voluntary efforts by cities, counties and special districts that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy and adopting policies that promote sustainability.
SOMAH in increasing access to solar jobs. 50% of participants in their training programs are either local hires (living in the community that the project is in) or a targeted hire (affordable housing residents, women, BIPOC, justice-impacted, single parents, facing barriers to employment). SOMAH provides a wage floor of 1.4x the local minimum wage and provides career development resources and workshops for trainees.
LGSEC is a statewide membership network representing local government interests to state agencies such as CPUC, CEC, and CARB. Together, LGSEC members advance sustainable energy and climate solutions to meet California’s climate and energy goals through knowledge exchange, targeted learning opportunities, and statewide collaboration. Sustainability staff can maximize staff capacity by becoming a member of the LGSEC to engage and represent their jurisdictions in statewide regulatory energy policy.
During technology development, Local Governments can serve as excellent partners for pilot or demonstration projects. It is a good best practice for local governments to partner with technology providers when they are applying for EPIC grants through the CEC. There will soon be a call for places section of the Empower Innovation website to help create connections for project partners.
A New York start-up LO3 Energy leveraged group purchasing to fund the Brooklyn Microgrid network, which allows individuals to buy and sell renewable energy in a peer-to-peer network. This both increased community resilience to frequent power outages and supports local economic development while reducing the community’s carbon footprint.
The Center for Sustainable Energy has prepared a Sustainable Incentives Best Practices Assessment for the Port of San Diego, released April 2016. This is a great resource for local governments considering green leases and landlord-tenant energy efficiency solutions. The full Port Best Practices report is available here.
Reducing natural gas usage by analyzing various building types and establishing reach codes across the region. Awareness, availability, assuredness, and affordability.
Regional partnerships provide energy engineering, regional climate action, and climate program support. It takes a village to move the needle and evolve work to support the region. Collaboratives provide an umbrella for everyone to come together to progress forward and explore activities, funding, and innovative techniques that LGs aren’t in the position to do alone. Facilitating and sustaining relationships can go a long way.
Resilience Hubs, Spaces and Blocks are community-driven gathering places which are demonstrations for climate solutions, and serve to coordinate & exchange communication, distribute resources, and support community programming during emergencies and year-round. The Northern California Resilience Network, the cities of San Leandro and Oakland and the Disability Justice Culture Club based in Oakland are all working to help build more resilient neighborhoods and robust resilience hubs. Part of this effort was a Resilience Hubs Leadership training held between February and September 2021.
The CPUC’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) offers rebates for installing energy storage technology at both residential and non-residential facilities. These storage technologies include battery storage systems that can function during a power outage.
Depending on the battery and how much you are using it, batteries can provide power for several hours, or longer. Battery storage can be an important component of a more robust emergency preparedness plan in the event of a power outage.
In preparation for the next wildfire season, the CPUC has authorized funding of more than $1 billion through 2024 for SGIP. This funding includes prioritization of communities living in high fire-threat areas, communities that have experienced two or more utility Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events, as well as low income and medically vulnerable customers. The funds are also available for “critical facilities” that support community resilience in the event of a PSPS or wildfire.
After enrolling in late 2013, the Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) worked alongside the SoCalREN Public Agency Program to identify and implement several energy efficiency projects.CVUSD is benefiting from the positive impacts these energy efficiency projects have had on their facilities, as well as the people who inhabit them including the nearly 19,000 students currently enrolled. By implementing efficiency upgrades, the District models smart energy behaviors while creating a learning environment where students and teachers can thrive.
TerraVerde’s defensible accounting methodology for quantifying the financial benefits of having solar + battery backup power resources. The Economic Value of Resilience equals the avoided costs of an otherwise applicable solution (i.e. equipment & installation, operation & maintenance, fuel costs, permits) plus the avoided cost of power interruption (i.e. business interruption costs, electrical equipment damages, IT system damages, productivity losses, and spoilage).
The Clean Coalition has created a standardized VOR that will allow all stakeholders to effectively consider VOR when analyzing microgrid economics — making microgrid economics far more favorable. The increased valuation, in turn, will accelerate the proliferation of microgrids throughout the country and well beyond.
Best practices implemented: understand local market conditions; define and locate hard-to-reach customers and target programs accordingly, as appropriate; conduct sufficient market research.
EE improvements may be integrated into existing capital planning – EE improvements may also paired with clean energy installs or a campaign to reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) by implementing an employee carpool program.
If you’re looking for data on the most cost-effective project to start with, it may be a good idea to benchmark your buildings first and learn what buildings are using what amounts of energy. For more information on benchmarking, visit the Benchmarking Resources page. Looking for benefits of benchmarking? Check out this post.
Some local governments may prefer to start leading by example by implementing a program to encourage energy-efficient employee behavior (e.g., encouraging turning off the lights, using energy efficient computer setting, or low hot water usage). For best practices in implementing successful behavioral programs, see this post.
ll of these types of activities are actions promoted under the CPUC’s California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan.
For numerous examples of what actions local governments are taking, check out Local Government on the EE Strategic Plan.