In this edition…
- Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Programs
- Community Report
- Upcoming Events
- Spring Efficiency Tips
- Summer Business Canvass
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Programs
Starting this Spring, the Cambridge Energy Alliance will be ramping up its Cambridge Community Energy Efficiency Campaign. The City of Cambridge has allocated funding comes from the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to support the campaign.
The two-year Community Energy Efficiency Campaign will reach substantial portions of the Cambridge community including the residential building sector, low-income residents, and the small commercial building sector. The campaign will educate the community about energy efficiency opportunities in homes and businesses, connect them to existing energy efficiency services, and provide additional direct services for Cambridge residents and business. The campaign will include unique offerings and support for each building sector by partnering with the City, NSTAR, ESCOs, financial institutions, and local citizen and business groups.
For residential buildings, CEA will implement an efficiency program built upon an extensive awareness and outreach campaign connecting Cambridge residents to the existing Mass Save efficiency program and enhance those services with the CEA Energy Advisor, Smarter Cambridge website, and incentives for Cambridge residents including a new matching grants. Particular attention will be directed toward low-income residents to inform them of special programs and conservation techniques they can implement in their own home by providing do-it-yourself energy efficiency tool-kits and guides. Another program we are excited about is the distribution of several dozen plug-in appliance energy monitors to public library branches around the city, where they will be available for check out.
Similar to last year’s residential outreach effort, a business specific canvass will be conducted this summer to familiarize Cambridge businesses with existing utility efficiency programs and incentives along with additional direct services provided by CEA staff. Read on for more information about the canvass.
CEA’s community outreach program has reached over 700 residents this winter through events and workshops. CEA collaborated with the Massachusetts Municipal Association, to connect residents to a free energy seminar which stressed the importance of reducing heat usage by providing do-it-yourself sealing techniques, tips on hiring a contractor for in-depth alterations, and resources for home audits and financing. Over fifty residents attended the event and learned about typical home inefficiencies, air sealing and insulation, efficient HVAC and appliances, plus rebates and grants to reduce the cost of home alterations and appliance purchases.
On the business front, CEA supported Cambridge Local First by awarding the Sustainable Business Leadership certification to the first class of the Sustainable Business Leader Program. Eleven businesses were awarded this prestigious award for their efforts to reduce energy, water, and waste. The certification ceremony, which was held at the Cambridge City Hall Annex, was co-sponsored by the City of Cambridge, Cambridge Local First and the Cambridge Energy Alliance in partnership with the Sustainable Business Network.
The first Cambridge graduating class included: 1369 Coffee House, Cambridge Brewing Company, Cambridge Naturals, Economy Hardware, The Fishmonger, Greenward, Harvard Bookstore, Harvest Co-Op Markets, Irving House, Stone Hearth Pizza and Veggie Planet.
Financing Your Solar Project
May 27, 2010 at 6–8:00 PM
4th floor meeting room at City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway
Sponsored by City of Cambridge and the Cambridge Energy Alliance
This is an excellent opportunity for Cambridge citizens to learn about renewable energy programs and resources available to develop local projects. Larry Chretien, Executive Director of the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance will provide an update on net metering and investment opportunities in Massachusetts. In addition, a panel of local contractors and program providers will share their expertise to help residents and businesses take advantage of robust incentives and resources to develop renewable energy projects.
Green Your Marketing Workshop!
June 17th, 2010 at 8:30–9:30AM
Cambridge City Hall Annex
Sponsored by Sustainable Business Leadership Program and CEA
In this workshop, you will learn how to identify earth-friendly business practices you already use, and how to get the word out about them in a way that is both creative and consistent with your existing brand and communications plan. We’ll discuss how to avoid “greenwashing,” what elements of traditional marketing translate especially well to the green economy, and why it’s important to green your marketing along with the rest of your business. You’ll have a chance to see real-life examples of successful green marketing tactics, and there will be plenty of time for questions.
Spring Efficiency Tips
Springtime is a great time to save energy through a few small changes and also to prepare your home for the summer cooling season. You can also use your spring cleaning time to increase the efficiency of your house by sealing cracks in the building around windows and doors with new weather-stripping. Weatherizing your house helps to keep your house comfortable in all seasons while reducing your cooling costs in the summer and heating costs in the winter.
Spring in New England has a lot of changes in temperature from day to day that can sometimes make it tough to know when can stop using your heating system. However, you can also take advantage of warm spring days to carry you through chillier evenings without turning on your heat. Try opening your window shades during the day to bring in heat and then closing up the house tightly at night so you can keep the house warm through the chillier evenings. On warmer days do the opposite; keep the sun out during the day and open up the house at night to keep it cool and comfortable.
If you have to heat your house and use a hot water heating system, look into turning down the aquastat in your boiler. Often, these are set to 180 degrees for keeping your home warm in the middle of winter which is overkill for the milder spring and fall months. Better yet, consider replacing your manual aquastat with one that modulates based upon the outside temperature, this change alone can save you up to 10% on your heating bill.
Because spring months are generally milder, when you need to cool down the house try using fans as much as possible, they use only a fraction of the electricity as an air conditioning unit and can keep a home comfortable when combined with good management of the windows and shades to keep the sun out and the cool air in. Be sure to flip the direction switch from the winter “pull cool up for mixing” (usually marked as “Reverse”) to the summer “push a draft over me” position.
For more suggestions see our summer energy tips.
Summer Business Canvass
As part of the Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant program, CEA will be expanding its outreach efforts to the small commercial building sector including a canvass program this summer to connect small business owners with efficiency services and incentives. The small commercial sector faces a number of barriers to broad-scale energy efficiency adoption including lack of awareness, split incentives, cost of implementation, need for financing, and complexity of programs.
CEA will be working with program volunteers over the summer to canvass business districts in Cambridge, distributing information about commercial programs and discussing utility based incentive programs with small business owners.
The summer canvass is part of a two year program through which CEA plans to reach an estimated 500 Cambridge businesses and expects that at least 50 businesses will participate in efficiency programs and services, which is estimated to save approximately 437,500 kWh of electricity and 2,500 therms of heating fuel.
The map below outlines where most commercial activity in Cambridge takes place and where our volunteers will be canvassing. The pie chart gives a rough break-down of the number and type of businesses around the city, where “Mall” includes the any single address with multiple storefronts such as the CambridgeSide Galleria or shopping centers
Click map for larger view.