Top Seven Things to Know About ACE

In baseball, the ace is a team’s superstar starting pitcher – a dominant and reliable player that takes the mound every five games. In poker, an ace is the highest ranking card and cause for optimism when dealt your way. On NEEP’s Buildings and Communities Solutions Team, ACE is an exciting new project that will help transform energy efficiency initiatives in communities.

Interested in learning more? Check out these top seven things to know about the project.

What does it stand for?

It’s simple, ACE stands for Achieving Community Efficiency.

In a sentence: That ACE project really helped my community save energy and reduce carbon emissions leading to cost savings and improved health for residents.

What’s it all about?

ACE is a collaborative project funded though the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. The goal of this work is to engage 150 small, medium, and rural communities to increase energy affordability, reliability, and resiliency. A key objective is to “meet communities where they are” by providing customized technical assistance and resources to communities in a variety of topical areas ensuring communities receive the assistance they require. Over the three-year span of this project, NEEP and other project partners will work through the key activities below:

  • Stakeholder engagement – Critical to the success of the project is a continuous feedback loop between communities and the project partners to inform research and resources.
  • Support benchmarking adoption – A new benchmarking toolkit specific to small, medium, and rural communities will be developed to increase the number of communities adopting policies and programs.
  • Promote best practices for data aggregation and access – By working with utilities and regulators, communities will have streamlined access to energy data facilitating the benchmarking process.
  • Develop and test shared energy manager model – This portion of the project will enable communities to utilize a shared energy manager to systematically manage and improve a community’s energy usage over time.
  • Develop and test energy project management platform – A valuable tool in an energy manager’s toolkit, this platform will track projects, financing, savings, and reporting for municipal leadership.
  • Maintain and Update CAPEE – Another useful tool for communities, Community Action Planning for Energy Efficiency (CAPEE) enables automated technical assistance to help communities develop a roadmap for specific energy reduction projects will be updated throughout this project to meet the needs of stakeholders
  • Provide customized technical assistance – Through various channels, the project will provide guidance to at least 150 communities leading to an increased capacities in communities to take on energy projectsThrough stakeholder engagement activities, direct technical assistance, resource development, and improved access to resources, this project will help communities across the region achieve our shared energy and carbon reduction goals.

Through stakeholder engagement activities, direct technical assistance, resource development, and improved access to resources, this project will help communities across the region achieve our shared energy and carbon reduction goals.

Who’s involved in the project?

This SEP grant has been awarded to the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources. NEEP is the state’s non-profit project partner working to share lessons learned and best practices across state lines alongside other project partners such as the MA Department of Energy Resources and West Virginia Energy Office. Many other agencies, including the US Department of Energy, and organizations across the region will be involved to ensure the deepest possible impact of the project. 

Who’s the project intended to help?

The core group of stakeholders this project is intended to assist come from small, medium, and rural communities. Any community with a population under 250,000 falls into this category, although other communities will be engaged. Specific stakeholder groups include facility and energy managers, town government officials, energy committees, state agencies, and utility program administrators.

What topical areas are covered under this project?

The scope of this project is intentionally broad in order to “meet communities where they are”. Community-wide efforts and initiatives that significantly reduce energy and carbon emission reductions are the primary focus while specific attention will be given to all public buildings and schools. Benchmarking and labeling efforts will go beyond public buildings to include commercial and residential building types as well.

What’s the timeline?

This three-year project is just starting. In April, an advisory committee will kick off the project. Topical webinars, informed by stakeholder input, will be hosted on a quarterly basis. A bi-monthly newsletter highlighting trends and upcoming resources will be shared with all interested stakeholders. Check back soon for more info on signing up for the newsletter. Technical assistance will available to communities throughout the course of the project.

How do I get involved?

For more information and to get involved in the project, either as a community or project partner, contact John Balfe. If you are a community looking to take immediate action, check out our Community Action Planning for Energy Efficiency (CAPEE) tool to get connected to resources and a roadmap for reducing energy and carbon reduction in your community today.

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