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2015 ENERGY STAR Awards Application Deadline Approaching
Tuesday, November 25, 2014-- Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) honor organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. Next year's winners will be recognized at the ENERGY STAR Awards Ceremony on April 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. All organizations participating in the ENERGY STAR program are encouraged to apply for an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award. The deadline to submit a Final Award Application through your MESA Account is 8 p.m. EST, December 4, 2014. -- (full text)

EPA to Assist Water Utilities in Bolstering Climate Resilience and Readiness
Thursday, November 20, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing up to $600,000 in training and technical assistance to help water utilities in more than 20 communities bolster their climate change resilience and readiness. "Climate change isnt a distant threat  it is already impacting communities across the country," said Ken Kopocis, deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Water. "EPA is helping water utilities plan for and adapt to these challenges to ensure that they can continue to meet their public health and environmental missions no matter what circumstances may arise in the future." During each risk assessment, utilities will consider potential future climate change impacts in an effort to build more climate-ready and resilient water services and infrastructure. Follow the link to see the list of communities receiving assistance from the EPA. -- (full text)

Introducing Smart Growth America's State Resilience Program
Monday, November 17, 2014-- State governments play a key role in addressing the immediate aftermath of disasters. But what can they do to reduce risks before disasters happenand how can they guide rebuilding to reduce future risks? State leaders sit at the intersection of policy and investment decisions that can ensure long-term state resilience and economic growth. Smart Growth America's new State Resilience Program, launching today, is a first-of-its-kind initiative offering resources, tools, and guidance for state leaders working to build more resilient places and reduce the risk that natural hazards pose to vulnerable populations and local economies. Drawing on the innovative work of state leaders, federal agencies, and national experts, the State Resilience Program offers resources and guidance representing the cutting edge of land use and engagement strategies for hazard resilience. -- (full text)
[Smart Growth America]

Unlocking Your Potential for Clean Energy
Thursday, November 13, 2014-- Many communities want to use and provide renewable energy options. But moving from green energy ideas to a plan-of-action and an installed system can be an overwhelming process, stretching across years, changing budgets and the rapidly developing industry of renewable energy technology. Achieving the goal of increased renewable energy is possible and in a community's best interest, according to three presenters who discussed their initiatives during the session, "Unlocking Your Potential for Clean Energy," at the Growing Sustainable Communities Conference, held recently in Dubuque, Iowa -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Commitment to Address Climate Change Issues Highlighted in Reclamation Strategy
Monday, November 10, 2014-- Bureau of Reclamation's Principal Deputy Commissioner Estevan López has released the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Reclamation. In line with President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the strategy provides a framework in which Reclamation managers can develop and adopt innovative solutions that provide a more reliable water supply in a changing climate.The strategy identifies four primary goals to improve Reclamation's ability to consider climate change information in its decision making: Goal 1 - Increase Water Management Flexibility; Goal 2 - Enhance Climate Adaptation Planning; Goal 3 - Improve Infrastructure Resiliency; Goal 4 - Expand Information Sharing Building on existing actions, the strategy identifies new activities to extend climate change adaptation efforts across Reclamation's mission responsibilities, including immediate and longer-term actions addressing each of the four goals. For each goal, a priority action is also identified to emphasize activities which will provide critical support for the goal. -- (full text)
[Bureau of Reclamation]

Request for Nominations to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC): Deadline Extended
Wednesday, November 05, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to its National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). The NEJAC was chartered to provide advice regarding broad, crosscutting issues related to environmental justice. This notice solicits nominations to fill approximately eight (8) vacancies for terms through September 2017. To maintain the representation outlined by the charter, nominees will be selected to represent: Academia; grassroots community-based organizations; non-governmental environmental organizations; local governments; business and industry; and tribal government and indigenous organizations. The Office of Environmental Justice will acknowledge receipt of nominations. The deadline for submitting nominations has been extended until November 22, 2014. -- (full text)

New Buildings Solution Center Shares Proven Strategies for Energy Efficiency Programs
Wednesday, November 05, 2014-- The Energy Department released a new resource, the Better Buildings Residential Program Solution Center, to share proven methods for reducing energy waste and carbon emissions in U.S. buildings. A result of the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program, the Solution Center shows how to design, implement, and evaluate efficiency programs to improve the energy efficiency of communities across the nation. It profiles solutions used to improve the efficiency of many homes and other buildings by 20 percent or more. Now available online, the Solution Center, a one-stop shop for residential energy efficiency program administrators and home performance professionals, highlights proven strategies that Better Buildings Neighborhood Program partners used to make energy efficiency more accessible to homes and businesses. During the past four years, the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program worked with more than 40 communities across the country to develop sustainable energy efficiency programs. The program helped to facilitate more than 100,000 energy-saving upgrades in homes and buildings, saving families and businesses more than $730 million on utility bills, and demonstrated a variety of successful program approaches. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Energy Department Announces $53 Million to Drive Innovation, Cut Cost of Solar Power
Monday, November 03, 2014-- Building on President Obamas Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution and continue U.S. leadership in clean energy innovation, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced more than $53 million for 40 innovative research and development (R&D) projects that aim to drive down the cost of solar energy, tackling key aspects of technology development in order to bring innovative ideas to the market more quickly. Supporting the development of next generation photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies and advanced manufacturing processes, and addressing both hardware and non-hardware soft costs of solar installation, these awards support advancements that will help reduce the cost of solar energy and make solar electricity more affordable and accessible for all Americans. -- (full text)

Solar For All: Minimum Costs to Local Governments and Maximum Solar for Their Communities
Monday, November 03, 2014-- ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability U.S.A. presents a free webinar featuring the city of Beaverton, Oregons Solar on Reservoirs project, and Tompkins County, NYs solarize program. The city of Beaverton has entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for a 433 KW solar system on top of one of their underground water reservoirs, one of their largest energy users. The solar contractor will use city land to construct the array, in exchange for long-term, low electricity rates. This will in turn help keep water rates low for customers and with an estimated $95,000 annual savings from reduced energy costs. The city will also have the option to purchase the system at fair market value after 20 years. Solar Tompkins is a nonprofit county-side community solar working to double the total amount of solar PV installed at Tompkins County residents and small businesses to date. The program launched at the end of May 2014, and increased solar accessibility and affordability to local residents and business through lower-than-market pricing and simplified process with vetted technology and installation partners. -- (full text)
[ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability]

Department of Energy Joins States to Celebrate National Weatherization Day
Thursday, October 30, 2014-- Several states across the country are joining the Department of Energy to celebrate National Weatherization Day. Observed each October 30, National Weatherization Day is a chance to highlight the important work performed by the Energy Departments Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) network over the last 40 years. Through WAP, the Energy Department provides funding to states, territories and tribal governments to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. These governments fund a network of local community action agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide weatherization services for those in need using leading technologies and testing protocols. -- (full text)

Massachusetts Tops California as Most Energy-Efficient State on Energy Efficiency Scorecard
Thursday, October 30, 2014-- Governors and lawmakers in state capitals across the nation continue to take major steps to lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and save consumers money by increasing their states energy efficiency, according to the findings of the 8th edition of the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The report found that in 2014 Massachusetts (#1) continues to edge out California (#2) as the most energy-efficient state in the nation for the fourth year in a row. Following these states in the top 10 are: Rhode Island (marking the states first time in top five), Oregon, and Vermont (all tied for #3); Connecticut (#6); New York (#7); Washington (#8); Maryland (#9); and Minnesota (#10). -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network/ACEEE]

Brownfields National Training Conference - Call for Ideas Announced
Thursday, October 23, 2014-- The Brownfields 2015 Call for Ideas is open until November 3, 2014! Your ideas for interactive, insightful, and engaging educational sessions are being sought for Brownfields 2015. Submit your ideas for educational sessions tailored to encourage conversations and participation from attendees. -- (full text)

EPA Releases Guidance to Improve Schools' Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency
Wednesday, October 22, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new guidance to help school districts protect indoor air quality while increasing energy efficiency during school renovations. "This guidance provides common-sense solutions for improving energy efficiency and indoor air quality in schools across the country," said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "By using these guidelines, school districts can cut their energy bills and help ensure that students have a healthy and safe learning environment." The practices outlined in the new guidance support schools as healthy, energy-efficient buildings that play a significant role in local communities. Nearly 55 million elementary and secondary students occupy our schools, as well as 7 million teachers, faculty and staff. In addition, many communities use school buildings after regular school hours as after-care facilities, recreation centers, meeting places and emergency shelters during natural disasters. -- (full text)

U.S. Water Systems, Deteriorated and Slow to Change, Need New Strategy  And Money
Friday, October 17, 2014-- The venerable water utilities of the United States, the essential guardians of public health and enablers of economic growth for more than two centuries, are showing signs of significant wear. A striking new report from the Johnson Foundation, arguably the most thorough and candid assessment of the condition of Americas largely publicly-owned water transport, supply, and treatment industry, asserts that American cities and their residents could face water cuts and unreliable service if utilities do not modernize and reinvest. -- (full text)
[Circle of Blue]

Assistance to Communities for Integrated Planning of Stormwater and Wastewater Projects
Wednesday, October 15, 2014-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided $335,000 in technical assistance to five communities to help them develop components of integrated plans for wastewater and stormwater management. "EPA is committed to helping communities meet their requirements and goals for water projects that benefit public health, the environment, and the local economy," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Integrated planning provides the important flexibility that cities and towns need to address water challenges in an efficient and effective manner." The projects will also provide useful information and transferable tools for other communities interested in integrated planning. -- (full text)

Department Issues Green Building Certification System Final Rule
Tuesday, October 14, 2014-- Supporting the Obama Administrations goal to reduce carbon emissions and protect the environment, the Energy Department is pursuing a suite of initiatives to strengthen federal energy management through increased focus on measurement of energy use in federal buildings and energy efficient building design. Principal among the efforts is the Departments issuance of a final rule that requires verified energy and water performance for new and retrofitted federal buildings that are certified by private sector green building certification systems. The rule, which goes into effect Nov. 13, ensures that in cases where agencies choose to use green building certification systems to meet federal sustainability and energy standards, they must choose a system that verifies enhanced energy and water efficiency. By requiring re-assessments at least every four years, the rule will ensure energy and water savings continue well beyond the initial building opening or retrofit. System requirements for the verification of energy and water performance in new construction and major renovations will lead to reduced consumption through active energy and water management. -- (full text)

New EPA Green Infrastructure Collaborative
Monday, October 13, 2014-- On October 8th, 2014 EPA joined with federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector entities to form the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, a network to help communities more easily implement green infrastructure. The Collaborative released a Statement of Support outlining commitments from members to advance coordination around green infrastructure initiatives. The Collaborative will build capacity for green infrastructure implementation by providing a platform for national stakeholders. Seven federal agencies have come together to support the Green Infrastructure Collaborative. The cooperating agencies are EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy. -- (full text)

Affordable Green Neighborhood Grant Recipients Announced
Thursday, October 09, 2014-- The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced the 11 projects selected for the 2014 Affordable Green Neighborhoods (AGN) grant program. Each of these neighborhood redevelopment projects are pursuing certification under USGBCs LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system and are notable for their planned affordable housing, compact design, commitment to green building and sites located near transit or other existing amenities. -- (full text)

Important Changes Coming to the EPA Grants Application Process
Monday, September 29, 2014-- EPA will soon finalize its grants application policy and the requirement to submit all initial applications through Grants.gov will be effective February 17, 2015. If you are unfamiliar with Grants.gov or would like to learn more about it, EPA's Office of Grants and Debarment will be hosting a number of informational/training sessions for applicants over the coming months that will cover both the registration process as well as the application process. There also will be a Q&A session to give applicants the opportunity to ask questions about the Grants.gov system. -- (full text)