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Thursday, September 22, 2015

LGEAN Update is a biweekly newsletter published by the International City/County Management Association. Its purpose is to keep you up to date on the latest environmental information of interest to local governments.



On September 16, 2015, U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the United States’ first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50-percent reduction by 2030. As part of the effort, the federal government will lead a new partnership with charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, the private sector and local, state and tribal governments to reduce food loss and waste in order to improve overall food security and conserve our nation’s natural resources. The announcement occurs just one week before world leaders gather at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to address sustainable development practices, including sustainable production and consumption. As the global population continues to grow, so does the need for food waste reduction. Learn more here.


Energy Department Announces $70 Million for Innovation Institute on Smart Manufacturing
On September 16, Department of Energy announced $70 million in funding for the next Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will be focused on smart manufacturing. With this investment, the Department aims to support research and development advancements that can reduce the cost of deployment for technologies such as advanced sensors, controls, platforms, and modeling for manufacturing by as much as 50 percent. As part of President Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) institutes, the institute will also demonstrate these technologies in manufacturing processes with a goal to increase energy efficiency by at least 15 percent and improve energy productivity by at least 50 percent. With increased deployment and reduced costs, these SMART technologies can transform American manufacturing, enabling businesses to manufacture more while using less energy and spending less. Learn more here.

Application Deadline: January 29, 2016

Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2016 Funding Opportunity Coming Soon
The Building Technologies Office (BTO) has issued a notice of intent to release a funding opportunity focusing on reducing the energy use of commercial and residential buildings. Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) will fund projects in an Innovations section and a Frontiers section. The Innovations section will support: research and development (R&D) in an open topic in which any innovative technology, approach or tool not already supported by BTO or described in a BTO roadmap will be considered; development of hardware and/or software solutions for real-time occupant-centered control of building systems; and novel air infiltration diagnostic technologies. The Frontiers section will support R&D into further development of wireless sensors and sensor platforms for building operation data collection, and development of advanced air-sealing technologies designed for use in existing buildings. In addition, a Buildings University Innovators and Leaders Development supplemental section will provide a maximum of $100K/year to prime recipients that are for-profit companies that partner with a university. Learn more here.

Solar Decathlon College Team Competition
(EERE) seeks applicants to its 2017 Solar Decathlon College Team Competition. This Competition supports the Obama administration’s commitment to improving the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education efforts, and to building a more knowledge-intensive workforce. The Department of Energy (DOE) and EERE are eager to create and support education and workforce development programs that are specific to applied energy, and are essential to carrying out DOE’s mission and advancing energy technologies for the future. One of America’s most pressing and technically difficult scientific and engineering challenges is developing new and better technologies to supply clean and renewable energy. As the nation’s demand for energy increases and the energy sector grows to meet these needs, the United States faces an impending shortage of the skilled workforce needed to support this sector. An educated and highly-trained workforce is imperative if it is to support today’s low-carbon economy as it develops—and lead it to tomorrow. Finding solutions to these challenges is critical today and for America’s future. For this reason, DOE’s Strategic Plan supports developing and providing educational and technical training opportunities for students and for the workforce. Learn more here.

Application Deadline: October 29, 2015


Digital Government Achievement Awards 2015
September 25, 2015--The Center for Digital Government will celebrate the 20th annual Digital Government Achievement Awards, featuring the Best of the Web! The Best of the Web was the original – and most popular – website competition in state government, local government and education. Over the years, the competition has grown and expanded to recognize the broad range of digital accomplishments in government and education. Hundreds compete, but only a handful take home the prize. The event begins with a half-day workshop, followed by a dinner and awards presentation which acknowledges the winners of the state and local contestants. The workshop is open to all attendees. The gala dinner follows that evening with all winners recognized for their achievements. Find out more and register here.

Webinar: Turning the Building America Solution Center into an Expert Advisor
September 24, 2015--The Building America Solution Center (BASC) is one of your best solutions for anything to do with high-performance homes. It provides extensive, up-to-date content needed to integrate building science best practices in specifications, field applications, education, and code official meetings. In this webinar, Sam Rashkin and Chrissi Antonopolous will be diving into how to use the BASC for specific projects. Find out more and register here.

Webinar: Overview of DOE draft proposals for the 2018 IECC
September 24, 2015--The Department of Energy (DOE) invites you to attend a series of upcoming events to encourage communication amongst stakeholders in preparation for the 2018 IECC development cycle. Individual sessions will be held to cover proposals related to residential and commercial buildings respectively – please register separately for each webinar. Register for the residential webinar here. Register for the commercial webinar here.

Webinar: Seize the Day – Using Building Milestones as Energy Efficiency Opportunities
October 6, 2015--Attend this webinar to learn more about transforming building milestones such as purchase, sale, tenant transitions, etc. into energy efficiency opportunities. Presenters from Better Buildings participants University of Virginia, the City of Hillsboro, Oregon, and Arby’s Restaurant Group share their strategies for taking advantage of these milestones to get more from their buildings. Find out more and register here.

Growing Sustainable Communities 8th Annual Conference
October 6-7, 2015--Hosted by the City of Dubuque, Iowa and Sustainable City Network, the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference will be held at the Grand River Center located in the Port of Dubuque at 500 Bell Street. The 8th annual Conference is two days of education, inspiration and collaboration on topics of interest to anyone who cares about the convergence of economic prosperity, ecological integrity and social/cultural vibrancy in community design and development. In 2014, approximately 400 people from 100 different cities in 21 states attended the 7th annual event. This year, the conference will feature 30 workshops, two keynote luncheons, a networking reception, three mobile tours and a vendor exhibition. Attendees will include municipal leaders and staff, elected officials, college faculty, administrators and students, business leaders, nonprofits and sustainability managers from both the public and private sectors. Find out more and register here.


EPA Awards Green Infrastructure Grants of $20,000 to Kansas State University and Mississippi State University
Wednesday, September 16, 2015--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants of $20,000 each to Kansas State University and Mississippi State University to carry out green infrastructure demonstration and training projects. At Kansas State, faculty and students will create living laboratories to conduct green infrastructure monitoring at two on-campus sites. Students from different disciplines will collaborate on the monitoring program. They will record and analyze data to gauge performance, then develop communication materials, including brochures and a touch screen at the museum. Students at Mississippi State will design and construct a 1,500-square-foot rain garden to manage runoff from a nearby building. Students in art, landscape architecture, landscape contracting, and civil and environmental engineering will participate. After the project is completed, students will maintain the rain garden and use it to conduct water quality tests. They will also install informational kiosks to educate others about green infrastructure. Learn more here.

EPA Recognizes Three Communities for Smart Growth Achievement
Wednesday, September 16, 2015--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recognized projects in three communities as winners of the 2015 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. Winners include a new public park on a formerly contaminated site along the Passaic River in Newark, N.J. and new mixed-use developments that are spurring investment and revitalization in Jackson, Tenn. and Hamilton, OH. This award is given annually for creative, sustainable initiatives that better protect the health and environment of our communities while strengthening local economies. The 2015 award is presented to projects in three categories: Plazas, Parks, and Public Places; Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization; and Built Projects. Learn more about the communities here.

Energy Department Announces $5 Million for Energy Planning and Innovative Energy Practices in 11 States
Tuesday, September 15, 2015--Washington, D.C. -- The Energy Department announced $5 million in funding to 11 states to advance innovative approaches for local clean energy development that will reduce energy bills for American families and businesses, protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions, and increase our nation’s national energy security. In support of the Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy, each state will design and deploy innovative programs to advance energy efficiency and renewable energy, ranging from programs targeting specific areas for advancement to more comprehensive plans that consider economic development along with resiliency and energy supply issues. Learn more here.

Brownfields Grants to Assess Properties in Montgomery County
Monday, September 14, 2015--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the award of $800,000 in brownfields grants: $400,000 to the Municipality of Norristown and $400,000 to the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority. The funding will be used to assess abandoned industrial sites in Norristown and Pottstown, Pennsylvania that may be potentially contaminated with hazardous substances so they can be cleaned up and redeveloped. “Brownfields environmental assessments help remove one of the critical barriers to redevelopment and reuse,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “This funding supports Norristown’s and Pottstown’s plans for improving the quality of life of their residents by reclaiming areas for housing, commercial development and open space and at the same time protecting public health and the environment.” Learn more here.

Mayor Walsh Joins Compact of Mayors Committed to Climate Action
Sunday, September 20, 2015--Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joined the Compact of Mayors, fortifying Boston's commitment to climate action and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. The Compact unites cities with a common goal to drive climate action, building on Boston's continued commitment through its existing Climate Action Plan. "Cities play a critical role in the fight against climate change, and collaboration is key," said Mayor Walsh. "I am proud we are able to build on our Administration's work to address climate change and to have Boston join other leading cities in spearheading those efforts." Learn more here.

47 Communities Awarded Grants to Protect Drinking Water Sources
Sunday, September 20, 2015--The Michigan Department of Environmental Qualityrecently announced more than $494,000 in grants to 47 communities to safeguard public water supply systems. The grants provide communities relying on wells or surface water for drinking water with matching financial assistance to protect their source water from contamination. Communities on wells will use the grants to define the area contributing drinking water, identify potential contaminants within that area, and implement management strategies and educational activities to protect their water supply. For the second year, grants were also available to communities utilizing surface water for their drinking water source. Under this section of the grant, the city of Ann Arbor was awarded $20,000 to develop and implement a Surface Water Intake Protection Plan. Learn more here.


Vice President Biden Announces New SunShot Projects and Funding Opportunities at Solar Power International Conference
Monday, September 21, 2015--At the Solar Power International conference on September 16, Vice President Joe Biden made one of the largest solar research and development funding announcements to ever come out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. His announcement included more than $102 million in new solar projects and funding now available to private industry, nonprofits, universities, and national laboratories to support American leadership in clean energy innovation. These new projects include improving solar hardware degradation rates over system lifetimes, leading to solar cost reductions and reduced risk in long-term PV performance.Concentrating solar power projects will address technical challenges, while a national designation and technical assistance program will help local governments grow their local solar markets. Five teams of finalists will compete in the SunShot Prize to reduce the amount of time it takes to “go solar” from several months to seven days. Learn more about the announcement here.

Secretary Moniz Unveils Roadmap to Double U.S. Energy Productivity by 2030
Sunday, September 20, 2015
--In support of the President’s goal to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030, Department of Energy Secretary Moniz unveiled a strategic plan laying out a path businesses, state and local governments, consumers and other stakeholders can use to achieve this goal. The report, Accelerate Energy Productivity 2030: A Strategic Roadmap for American Energy Innovation, Economic Growth, and Competitiveness, identifies proven and effective strategies and actions to advance energy efficiency.

Strategies include: states securing energy productivity through setting and updating vehicle and product codes and standards, and providing energy performance information to consumers; utilities and regulators designing rates and related policies that more effectively align energy efficiency with utility business models; and businesses reinvesting avoided energy costs. By doubling energy productivity, American families will be able to power their homes and vehicles using less energy, while American businesses will be able to manufacture more while spending less and cutting harmful carbon emissions. Learn more here.

Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Competition Heats Up
Friday, September 18, 2015--The 2015 Solar Decathlon kicks off on Oct. 8 in Irvine, California. This nine-day competition challenges collegiate teams from around the world to build creative, sustainable home designs. At the competition, student teams will reveal the energy-efficient solar-powered homes they have been designing and building for the past two years. These beautifully designed houses will be on display and available for visitors to tour throughout the competition. The Solar Decathlon is an educational effort, aiming to raise attention throughout the United States that a sustainable lifestyle is not out of reach. The competition also helps to build a workforce ready to address one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century: reducing harmful carbon pollution that causes global climate change. Since the biennial competition began in 2002, many former participants have gone on to pursue careers in clean energy and sustainable housing. Learn more about the competition here.


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