NEEP is in the midst of assembling tools, trainings, and information sources that will improve overall understanding of energy efficiency best practices at the local level. Once assembled, NEEP will conduct a high performance information campaign to disseminate these resources, focusing on strategically selected municipalities. Currently these resources revolve around several opportunities:
Community Action Planning for Energy Efficiency (CAPEE) is a free online tool that equips communities with resources and knowledge to set goals and prioritize actions that lead to improved energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. From forming an energy committee, to benchmarking your community's buildings, to strategies for high performance schools, CAPEE provides guidance and resources that will help put your community on the pathway to becoming a high performance community.
Community Commitment Tracker
All across the NEEP region, municipalities of various sizes are taking action to fight climate change by reducing emissions from buildings and homes. As a part of this process, many communities are establishing goals to reduce emissions, increase efficiency, electrify end uses, and power buildings with clean energy. NEEP is undertaking an effort to showcase and track all of the commitments made by communities across the region in an interactive online map. The map provides information about communities that have established numerical goals related to zero energy, electrification, greenhouse gas emission reductions, and overall energy reductions. If your community has a goal, but is not listed on the map, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Street lights often account for 25 percent or more of a municipality’s utility budget. Fortunately, recent technological advances have rendered traditional high pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) high consumption dinosaurs. Light emitting diode (LED) street lights can provide better color quality at similar prices, but with twice the guaranteed lifespan, while using less than half of the energy. This translates to huge savings for municipalities; and NEEP can help guide stakeholders through the process. Resources:
- Report- LED Street Lighting Assessment and Strategies for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (January 2015)
- Webinar Recording- Webinar summarizing report, featuring City of Pittsburgh's conversion (March 2015)
Public Sector Benchmarking and Energy Data Access Opportunities
More than 40 percent of US commercial building space has been benchmarked using the US Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. Yet, many states and municipalities seeking to track their energy data face unique barriers. To overcome these barriers, public sector entities can engage their utilities and seek streamlined data access options that would facilitate automated upload to Portfolio Manager, or a number of other different energy management suites. For information on exemplary municipal efforts for accessing and managing utility data and best practices to help steer municipalities on to a path towards effectively implementing energy management initiatives, see the Public Sector Building Energy Benchmarking: Utility Data Access Options and Opportunities report.
Building Operation and Maintenance Best Practices
Promoting Operations and Maintenance (O&M) best practices is an important part of NEEP’s outreach and education efforts. Often characterized as a no-to-low cost opportunity, O&M procedures targeted at energy efficiency can save 5-20 percent on a building’s energy bills. For more information on Building Operation and Maintenance, you can download the latest version of the Operations and Maintenance Guide for Schools and Public Buildings and its accompanying one page summary.
Opportunities for Strategic Energy Management in the Municipal Water Sector
The municipal water system provides critical services to communities across the country and consumes a significant amount of energy in doing so. Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs) and Drinking Water Treatment Plants (DWTPs) can account for approximately 35 percent of a municipal energy budget. As the number of municipalities in the region establishing energy and carbon reduction goals continues to rise, the water sector is becoming an increasingly attractive area to target for savings. Energy efficiency is a core strategy that communities can focus on to meet their goals. Strategic Energy Management (SEM) is a comprehensive program that municipalities can implement within public water facilities to capture extensive savings.
NEEP’s report, Opportunities for Strategic Energy Management in the Municipal Water Sector, provides an in-depth examination of incorporating SEM into the municipal water-wastewater sector. The report identifies barriers to SEM integration, offers recommendations and resources for key stakeholders, and recognizes exemplary programs that have generated significant results.
Better Buildings Challenge
The US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge is an initiative that challenges companies, universities, school districts, multifamily organizations, and state and local government to reduce the energy used across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more over 10 years. As of spring 2014, the initiative boasts commitments from 47 state and local governments, 30 commercial organizations, 21 financial allies, 21 educational institutions, 18 industrial partners, and three utilities.
City of Providence Exemplar
Providence, Rhode Island has an ongoing sustainability initiative aimed at reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in all city-owned property. Through energy improvement projects made to schools, street lighting and other public infrastructure, the city has been able to reduce electricity consumption by four percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent compared to 2010 baseline levels. Click here to view an exemplar highlighting the various projects completed across the city.
Town of Wayland Exemplar
The Town of Wayland, Massachusetts signed on as a MA DOER Green Community in 2010. Since then, the town has completed a number of projects to reduce their energy consumption across municipal infrastructure. Wayland's approach to make these changes in the way they operate has made for an interesting case study that can be replicated in other small communities in the region. Click here to view the Wayland Community Exemplar.