Green needham sustainable communities


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Building Sustainability through Community Engagement - Presentation by Michael Greis of Green Needham at the MA Sustainable Communities Conference 4/20/12.

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Green needham sustainable communities

  1. 1. Building Sustainability Through Community Engagement Local Sustainability Success Stories Sustainable Communities Conference 20 April 2012 Michael Greis Green Needham Collaborative
  2. 2. Background• Green Needham Collaborative – Volunteer group founded in 2006 – Bring together people and organizations to build a much more sustainable community through collaborative efforts on energy and the environment – 501(c)3 Green Needham Foundation for larger projects, fiscal agency• Needham snapshot – Population ~29,000 – AAA-rated – FY 2012 Operating Budget $112 million – Town Manager government – 5-member Board of Selectmen – Town Meeting – Strong sense of community
  3. 3. Green Needham Collaborative• Collaborative and inclusive by design – Municipal & school staff involvement from the beginning – Increase mutual understanding and facilitate productive collaboration across the citizen/government boundary – Business outreach and engagement – People in individual and social contexts – Community organizations – clubs, service organizations, houses of worship, colleges• Champion and lead projects• Foster, support, connect and partner with other organizations• We leverage relationships and networks
  4. 4. Scope• Themes – Leveraging the power of local – The virtuous circle of community-wide collaboration• Stories – Energy Efficiency - broadest scope and impact – Renewable energy, local food, recycling, transportation – Building toward understanding sustainability as a comprehensive, interconnected view of the communitys future
  5. 5. Energy Efficiency: The First Fuel• Energy Efficiency versus Energy Conservation – Energy efficiency – the same energy services for lower cost – Energy conservation – a different level of energy service• The least expensive energy source – From global studies of GHG emission reductions to corporate finance, EE projects consistently show strongest financial case (NPV)• MA national leader in energy efficiency policy – Strong legislative frameworks and implementation – #1 ranking from ACEEE• It works for Massachusetts – Last 20 years - estimated 10% of electricity demand – Current 3-year plan - $3.7 billion NPV benefit• Statewide 3-year plan funds EE investments – Total funding $1.5 billion ($1.2b electric, $322m gas) – Residential Direct Incentives $474m ($313 electric, $161m gas) – Government direct incentives – Electric $11.2m, gas (est.) $1.2m
  6. 6. Creating the Local Context• Saving energy = saving money – Municipal energy reductions save taxpayer dollars and promote confidence in municipal government - WYSIATI* – Residents save money and reduce life cycle costs of owning homes – Businesses save money and reduce facility costs• Savings benefit the local economy – Massachusetts has no local energy production – The dollars spent on energy leave the community and the region • Oil used by Needham residents represents a transfer of wealth to OPEC of $14.6 million each year • Statewide, $5,000 per household for energy leaves MA – Money not spent on energy by the municipality, residents and businesses can be spent to benefit the local economy • 10% of the FY 2011 energy budget = 4 teachers + 2 firefighters * What you see is all there is
  7. 7. Why is local important? What works in driving demand for energy efficiency? retrospect many of these lessons seem obvious: Forgestrong local partnerships. Find out what people care about.Speak their language. Sell something people want. Betrustworthy. - from a 2010 Lawrence Berkeley Labs report on US residential energy efficiency programs
  8. 8. Green Needham Projects Residential & Business• 10% Challenge – Needham 1,000 – Easy-to-use online tool to identify ways to save 10% on energy use• Business Outreach – Student summer intern – building connections – Enabled follow-up for new NStar Direct Install partner• Home Energy Efficiency Improvement Seminars – Education on overcoming barriers; partnered with domain experts• NStar Community Energy Challenge – Promoting home energy assessments & follow-up actions – Already overachieved kWh reduction targets but much opportunity remains• Outreach and Education – Meetings, seminars, web site, blog, newsletters, cable TV
  9. 9. Energy Efficiency: Focus on buildings• Buildings consume 40% of the energy used in the US – 22% Residential, 18% Commercial• 2/3 of that energy is attributable to the building and its systems – HVAC, lighting and water• Buildings have long lives• Turnover of US building stock is slow (~1%/year) – Importance of work on existing facilities• Projects are well-understood - fundamental building technology and operations – Residential and municipal
  10. 10. Municipal buildings - the fundamentals• Lighting – retrofits and energy efficient bulbs – Lighting control trial – outdoor lighting at High School• Motion/occupancy sensors – Installed in all unoccupied spaces in 3 older schools• Energy control systems – Upgraded older school with EECBG funding – All schools – staggered starts, nightly setbacks, remote controls, slow startups• Variable-speed drive (VSD) motors• Incremental improvements to existing systems – Fuel catalyst reduced oil consumption 10% – Longer-life filters – reduce energy use and staff costs – Preventative maintenance program
  11. 11. Municipal buildings (continued)• Equipment upgrades – leverage incentives – Chiller replacement in Public Safety building – rebate for EE model – Energy-star refrigerators for schools with older equipment – Conversion to natural gas• Tightening building envelopes – Major envelope improvements usually tied to renovation/construction – Smaller projects do make a difference
  12. 12. Beyond the core projects• You need data – Not just for management, but for communication with the public – MassEnergyInsight- available to all cities & towns at no cost• Dont ignore newer buildings – Olin College Campus buildings completed ~2004/5 – 2010 - Energy Management Program reduced energy consumption 45% over 4 years - $2 million in avoided costs – Projects included daylight harvesting, kitchen ventilation control,, occupancy sensors, VSD motors, building community-wide involvement• Building Commissioning – Then and now – overlap, not turnover – Facilities involvement during design & value engineering – Continuous Commissioning
  13. 13. Beyond the core projects (continued)• Behavior change – share the benefit – Under discussion: % of persistent energy savings to a building Principal• Facilities Master Plan – Facilitates prioritization & focus because identifying, scoping, planning and procuring EE projects is time consuming• Facilities maintenance and upgrade plans should be well-communicated and widely-understood – Promotes confidence and smooth approval process – Community can respond to opportunities – saved $1 million on energy- efficient roof replacement with stimulus-funded MSBA program
  14. 14. Projects and Collaborations• Needham Community Solar Challenge – Community donations to NE Wind Fund → $21,000 for municipal projects & 2kW Solar PV array for school building• Wind Power Feasibility Study – Raised funds & developed collaborative project with schools; advocacy and support for zoning changes and DEP approval• Solar PV – Feasibility research and advocacy• Green Community – Ongoing
  15. 15. Projects and Collaborations (continued)• EPA Eco-explorers grant – Developing an elementary environmental education unit and teaching the teachers – Needham Public Schools (Science Center, curriculum development, teachers), Needham Community Farm, Green Kids Needham• Local Food – Needham Community Farm – Needham Farmers Market• Transportation – Local transportation study – Safe Routes to School / Walking to School – Needham Bikes – Bay Colony Rail Trail• Recycling – Needham is a state leader in recycling – Interfaith Environmental Group – pilot for public spaces
  16. 16. Needham Summit on Energy and the Environment• October, 2011 at Olin College – A collaboration of Green Needham, Needham LWV and Olin College – 150 residents, community leaders, officials & staff• What do we want our community to look like in 2020? – If we dont decide, someone else will• Framework - Massachusetts 2020 Clean Energy and Climate Plan – Opening session – Mark Sylvia, DoER Commissioner and Michael Greis, Green Needham, moderated by Anthony Brooks of WBUR – Lower costs, Build new energy economy, Address climate change – Legislation, administration and agencies all pulling in the same direction – “Toolbox” for residents, municipalities and businesses• Community breakouts led by students – Water, Food, Transportation, Energy Sources & Choices, Development: the Built Environment, Energy Efficiency & Conservation and Green Economy: Opportunities & Skills
  17. 17. Benefits of Community-wide collaboration• More resources & complementary capabilities – Residents, community organizations, businesses, schools, municipality• Break through communications clutter and societal ADD – Similar messages from multiple sources more effective – Community organizations better positioned for outreach• Creating a virtuous circle – Savings impact of municipal projects can encourage residents to participate – Residential programs and investments drive understanding of and support for municipal efforts• Creating new social norms – Social norms are the most powerful behavioral change agent – Strengthen community identity
  18. 18. Challenges of Community-wide collaboration• Working with volunteers and community groups can be a source of tension for a municipality – Every “constituent-based” organization has this challenge – There is a lot of relevant expertise in your community – Leverage those strengths• Managing expectations, not diminishing them – Balancing deliberation and process with the passion for change• Communications – You can never do enough – Too many channels, too much distraction
  19. 19. SummaryThere are significant financial and quality-of-life benefits to community-wide investments in energy and the environmentLeveraging all the resources in your community is a powerful force for change, but it requires patience and persistence Presentation slides available at