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White House Names Dubuque a 'Climate Action Champion'
Wednesday, December 10, 2014-- The White House has named Dubuque, Iowa, one of 16 Climate Action Champions, a diverse group of communities defining the frontier of ambitious climate action whose approaches can serve as a model for other communities to follow. This announcement cited Dubuques greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030. Additionally, Dubuque is focused on flood risk reduction and resilience, especially as it relates to development and redevelopment of community infrastructure. From creating climate-smart building codes to installing green infrastructure to setting targets for reducing energy consumption, the 16 local and tribal communities selected as Climate Action Champions have considered their climate vulnerabilities and taken decisive action to cut carbon pollution and build resilience. In addition to being designated the first cohort of Climate Action Champions, Dubuque and the other selected communities will benefit from facilitated peer-to-peer learning and mentorship and targeted support from a range of federal programs. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

Energy Retrofits: Small Changes Add Up
Monday, December 01, 2014-- Building energy efficiency into new construction is getting easier all the time, and sleek wind or solar installations are impressive demonstrations of technology. But the fact is that most buildings are legacies. The 100-year-old farmhouse that loses heat through the roof, the low-income housing development with the 1960s-vintage boiler - these are the realities that families and organizations deal with when trying to become more energy efficient. And while there are obvious long-term savings in improving energy efficiency, in the short term these repairs can be too costly to take on. At the recent Growing Sustainable Communities Conference in Dubuque, Iowa, two organizations described how they combined grants and partnered with experts to help put efficiency retrofits in place for those who needed help the most. Both programs have achieved startling successes. In Fairfield, 50 percent of the population has participated in some aspect of Hometown Rewards, and the city saved $60,000 on its own energy usage, enough to install a solar array on the Fairfield Public Library building. In Dubuque, Grants to Green is in an earlier part of its life cycle, but organizers estimate that over a five-year period it will save non-profit organizations more than $1 million on their energy bills. -- (full text)
[Sustainable City Network]

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]

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]