EECBG Helps Cities Take the Lead on Energy

March 15, 2010

As part of an ongoing effort to advocate for continued federal funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, NLC has been collecting stories from the field that demonstrate the impact these funds have had in cities across the country.

NLC has been impressed by the breadth and scope of projects being implemented by local leaders. The following snapshots of city initiatives represent just a few examples of projects planned, in progress or completed that are supported through EECBG funds. 

North Little Rock, Ark. 

The City of North Little Rock developed seven programs designed to offer a broad mix of opportunities for citizens and local businesses to reduce energy use and emissions. Projects range from residential and commercial appliance rebates to street lighting upgrades and studies examining the energy saving potential of municipal lighting improvements, alternatively fueled vehicles, and advanced metering systems. 

Of particular significance is the QuikSaver Kit program, which will train members of 12 community organizations to deliver and help install products to weatherize 1,200 homes in North Little Rock. The combination of energy savings initiatives by the city are expected to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions emissions by 6,139 metric tons per year. 

Cincinnati 

The City of Cincinnati is using a portion of its EECBG funds to make energy efficiency improvements in 39 city buildings. Using an Energy Services Performance Contract, the project is expected to result in $5.6 million worth of savings over 15 years. 

A second EECBG-supported project will contribute toward the construction of an off-road bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting residential neighborhoods to downtown while also providing an alternative mode of transportation for commuters. 

Riverside, Calif. 

Through nine innovative and far-reaching projects, Riverside is transforming city operations and utilizing the latest in energy efficiency technologies to save energy, create jobs and reduce operational costs. Some of the most exciting programs include an electric vehicle charging station (for city maintenance vehicles) and a program to retrofit foreclosed homes. Installation of new energy infrastructure and upgrades, such as LED streetlights, use of non-illuminated street sign panels, and solar powered trash/recycling compactors are also scheduled throughout the year. 
Additionally, funds will support retrofits of city buildings, Power Management Software to cycle down approximately 1,850 city computers during off-hours and expand upon an existing greenhouse gas inventory in the city. Though still in its early stages, the city reports that programs supported through EECBG funds have already generated approximately 31 jobs. 

Seattle 

The City of Seattle is using EECBG funds to support nine projects focused on commercial and residential energy efficiency and job creation. One program in particular is the Energy Performance Score. Similar to a "miles per gallon" rating on a car, this score will provide homeowners with an easy-to-understand home rating for both energy use and carbon emissions. The city is also using funds to establish a system to record, track and offer technical assistance around energy usage for commercial and multifamily buildings per a recently passed energy performance disclosure ordinance. 

Finally, the innovative "Powerful Neighborhoods" Direct Install Program is employing and training local community members to deliver a door-to-door energy conservation program to up to 20,000 South and West Seattle homes. The "direct installers" will help to install energy-saving products, such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and low-flow showerheads, as well as provide educational materials for homeowners. 

DOE Announces Two New Support Tools for EECBG Grantees 

Home to Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program and State Energy Program (SEP) technical assistance resources, the goal of the Department of Energy's new expanded Solution Center is to help eligible grantees and sub-grantees develop and implement successful energy efficiency and conservation projects and programs that meet the conditions and guidelines of EECBG and SEP. 

Visit the Solution Center, wip.energy.gov/solutioncenter to find: 

project resources; best practices; a project map; and peer-to-peer resources.

Also a new resource, the Department of Energy's Technical Assistance Center (TAC) provides support for energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs. Grantees and sub-grantees can submit requests for direct technical assistance via the websitewww.tac.eecleanenergy.org/  or through the Technical Assistance Call Center at 1 (877) EERE-TAP (1-877-337-3827). 

TAC is a private, password protected site, not accessible to the general public. To utilize the TAC website, grantees will need a login ID and password, which DOE will be providing to grantees in a forthcoming mailing. 

As a peer-to-peer resource, DOE would like to make grantee contact information available through the Technical Assistance Center. If one does not wish to share contact information with fellow grantees, call the Technical Assistance Service Call Center and "opt out." 

Details: To submit information about city initiatives promoting energy efficiency, city leaders and staff should contact Tammy Zborel at Zborel@nlc.org with examples of EECBG supported programs.