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What’s New

Low-Interest Financing Available for Energy Efficiency Projects in Rental Housing
October 14, 2014

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Prepare your properties for what is predicted to be another long, frigid winter by making energy efficient upgrades that will save you money and make your tenants more comfortable. Investments in energy efficiency not only reduce your maintenance costs, but they also improve the marketability of your properties by attracting and keeping tenants.

The a2energy Loan Fund for Rental Housing offers eligible rental property owners access to low-interest financing for energy efficiency retrofits, such as insulation, air sealing, HVAC upgrades, and select ENERGY STAR products.

The Loan Fund provides:

  • Financing for up to $8,000 per property
  • Interest rates between 2% and 3.5%, with reduced rates available for certain project types
  • Terms between 12 and 36 months

In order to qualify, properties must:

  • Contain 1-4 units
  • Be located in Washtenaw County
  • Complete an energy audit prior to perform- ing work
  • Be in compliance with local rental housing inspections
  • Use contractors authorized by Michigan Saves

For more information and to see if you qualify, visit a2gov.org/loanfund

Sign up here to receive more information on how to apply for the program, or contact:

Allison Skinner
Project Associate
allison@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 16

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Unveils Updated Fleet
October 14, 2014

sleeping bear dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) recently celebrated the successful implementation of a Clean Cities National Parks Initiative project, unveiling a fleet of new electric and propane vehicles. All six vehicles are helping the park to continue its “greening” efforts. The accomplishments were celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by Clean Energy Coalition.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and technical assistance from Clean Energy Coalition, the National Lakeshore implemented a range of measures to reduce the environmental impact of its fleet. Specifically, the National Lakeshore was able to:

  • Replace aging fleet vehicles with three new plug-in electric vehicles and three propane pickup trucks.
  • Install electric vehicle charging stations and a tire inflation station.
  • Transition the vehicle fleet into a shared-resource motor pool structure.
  • Provide “eco-driver” training to all employees.

As a result of the initiative, the park was able to reduce its fleet vehicle emissions by nearly 20 percent and promote the benefits of alternative fuels and fuel-efficient driving habits with its more than 1.3 million annual visitors.

The ribbon-cutting event included remarks from National Lakeshore staff, Clean Energy Coalition staff, and elected officials. Event guests had the opportunity to view the new vehicles and charging station in the visitor center parking lot.

This change comes after several years of working with Clean Energy Coalition to help the park reduce its carbon footprint. The park hopes the move will inspire visitors to do their part to reduce their emissions both at the park and at home.

For more information on this Clean Cities initiative, contact:

Josh Rego
Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Coordinator
josh@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 25

Question of the Month
October 14, 2014

CC Question of the Month

Question of the Month: What are the new credit allocations that were established under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE)’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program (Program) earlier this year? How can I help spread the word on these new Energy Policy Act (EPAct) compliance pathways?

Answer: DOE issued a final rule on March 21, 2014, that establishes credit levels for additional means by which covered state and alternative fuel provider fleets operating under the Program’s Standard Compliance option may earn credits. These credits may be used toward compliance with a fleet’s alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) acquisition requirements. DOE promulgated the rule pursuant Congress’ direction, set forth in Section 133 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Vehicles

The new credit allocations address the acquisition of various types of electric drive vehicles and allow covered fleets to earn credits under Standard Compliance for some vehicles that do not meet the EPAct 1992 definition of an AFV. Newly eligible vehicles include the following (with their credit allocations):

  • Certain hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) – one-half credit
  • Plug-in electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Fuel cell electric vehicles – one-half credit
  • Neighborhood electric vehicles – one-fourth credit

Medium- and heavy-duty HEVs are also eligible for one-half credit after a fleet has met its light-duty AFV acquisition requirements.

Infrastructure

Acquiring the electric drive vehicles noted above is not the only new way to earn credits under EPAct Standard Compliance. Fleets may now earn credits for investments of their own funds (not grant funds or other monetary awards) in qualified alternative fuel infrastructure. For every $25,000 invested, a covered fleet may earn one credit, with a limit of five credits available per fleet per model year for private infrastructure investment, and ten credits per fleet per model year for public infrastructure investment.

Other Investments

Fleets may also earn credits for investments in alternative fuel non-road equipment and/or emerging technologies associated with the Section 133-identified vehicles. The credits for non-road equipment are similar to infrastructure – one credit for every $25,000 invested and a maximum of five credits may be earned per fleet per model year. Emerging technologies investments will earn a covered fleet two credits for the initial investment of $50,000 and one credit for every $25,000 invested thereafter, with a limit of five credits per fleet per model year.

Fleets may begin taking advantage of these new credit allocations for their efforts undertaken in model year 2014 and future model years.

How Can You Spread the Word?

Are you aware of any covered utility or state fleets that are building new fueling infrastructure?

  • Inform them they can earn EPAct credits.

Do you have an EPAct covered fleet stakeholder that needs an extra push to buy or lease HEVs?

  • Let them know that certain HEVs are now eligible for EPAct credits.

Do you or your stakeholders have questions regarding EPAct compliance?

  • Contact the Regulatory Information Hotline: regulatory.info@nrel.gov or 202-586-9171.

Note that covered fleets are currently compiling their Program reports for model year 2014 (September 1, 2013 to August 31, 2014) activities, which are due by December 31, 2014.

For more information, refer to the following resources:

For more information on how this may impact your fleet or community, contact:

Laura Palombi
Business Development Director
734-585-5720 x22
laura@cec-mi.org

ArborBike officially launches in Ann Arbor
October 14, 2014

ArborBikeMadisonandState

Clean Energy Coalition is excited to announce that ArborBike, Ann Arbor’s bike share program, is now live with six active locations. For a complete station list, visit ArborBike.org.

ArborBike will help residents, students, commuters, and visitors in Ann Arbor get around the area. The highly anticipated program went live Thursday, September 25th with the roll out of 40+ bikes. It’s clear that the program is in high demand; over 145 memberships have already been purchased and 210 trips have been taken.

ArborBike offers users several membership options including a daily pass ($6), monthly access ($9.99), and an annual membership ($65). Once registered, members can checkout a bike, ride, and return the bike to any of the stations. Memberships can be purchased online at ArborBike.org or at any of the kiosk locations. The current stations will be open through the fall and into early winter, weather permitting.

Currently, 40+ bikes and 6 kiosks are installed. A full deployment of all 14 locations and 125 bikes will take place in April 2015.

Thank you to our sponsors for making this launch a success! ArborBike sponsors include:

Information about sponsoring ArborBike stations, bikes, and memberships may be found on-line or in our sponsorship packet. Contact Heather Seyfarth at heather@cec-mi.org for details about these and other opportunities. Also download the ArborBike Sponsorship Packet for more information.

Additionally, we would like to thank our 53 volunteers who came out at the end of August to assemble 44 bikes. Volunteers included community organizations such as Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC), the Washtenaw Biking and Walking Coalition, and Circle K, a Kiwanis-affiliated volunteer student organization at the University of Michigan. This remarkable display of support was a clear sign that the community is interested and supportive of the program.

Clean Energy Coalition manages and operates the ArborBike program. If you have any questions regarding the program or how to sign-up, please email info@ArborBike.org.

 

Making the Case for Clean Fuels
October 14, 2014
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Above: Chris Milani, Vice President of Operations and Logistics at Schupan & Sons Inc., speaking at the event on September 10 on the importance of legislative support for clean fuels.

 

On September 10, Clean Energy Coalition hosted its second annual clean fuel policy luncheon in Lansing. The event focused on creating a climate of political support for clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies.  Speakers from Clean Energy Coalition, Schupan & Sons Inc., and the City of Auburn Hills were joined by industry experts and advocates to discuss the importance of supporting this growing, domestically-supportive market through legislation. The event was part of Clean Energy Coalition’s on-going Michigan Fuel Forward project, which aims to identify and eliminate common barriers to the use of clean fuels. Over 70 legislators and staff attended what turned out to be an overwhelmingly successful event.

Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council kicked off the meeting, with welcoming remarks coming shortly thereafter from Senator Kowall and Representative Driskell. Josh Rego of Clean Energy Coalition then took the stage, discussing trends in the clean fuel vehicle market, including the anticipated 524% rise in clean fuel vehicles on the road and the broad economic impact of supporting the deployment of these technologies in Michigan. Allison Skinner, also with Clean Energy Coalition, discussed a report recently released by the organization titled “Alternative Fuels: A State Policy Analysis”. The report outlines the piecemeal approach to alternative fuel policies being used by states across the country, identifies which policies tend to be associated with higher rates of clean vehicle use, and highlights the extensive work that needs to be done by Midwestern states to catch up to the support being shown in other states. Anchoring the event was Chris Milani with Schupan & Sons, Inc. Mr. Milani described the benefit of clean fuels in their ongoing fleet operations, and the role federal policies played in allowing them to pursue clean, domestically-produced fuels.

The event was followed by a panel discussion, where speakers were joined by Ron Melchert, Director of Public Works at the City of Auburn Hills to answer questions from legislators and staff. The event was also covered by WILX in Lansing in this news segment.  From here, Clean Energy Coalition will continue to work with legislators and other key organizations to create political support for clean fuels here in Michigan.

For more information on clean fuels or clean fuel policy, please contact:

Josh Rego
Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Coordinator
(734) 585-5720 x25
josh@cec-mi.org

They Did It! A Climate Ride Success
October 14, 2014

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They did it! Clean Energy Coalition’s team of four crossed the finish line on September 9th after riding their bicycles for four days and 300 miles from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois as part of a multi-day charitable bicycling event called Climate Ride. Not only did these individuals put in countless training hours this past summer in preparation, but they also fundraised a total of $13,831 from 224 donations for Clean Energy Coalition, a beneficiary of the event.

While bicycling 10+ hours each day, our riders were able to enjoy the amazing scenery and unique gems the Midwest has to offer. They also had the chance to network with 110+ leaders and activists in the field as well as hear from expert speakers each night on topics ranging from sustainable food choice, the health of the Great Lakes, and Chicago petcoke. With so many amazing experiences to choose from, we wanted to know what their favorite part was. Here’s what we found out:

  • “The inspiring people I met on the ride and their causes.”Rebecca Filbey, Program Supervisor at Clean Energy Coalition, recalls some of the individual people who left a mark on her during the ride. “There was Kyle from Chicago, a bicycle commuter and advocate, as well as Rachel, a graphic designer who works for Adventure Cycling Association in Montana. Rachel had an inspiring personal story about how cycling transformed her mom’s life and she even wrote a fun piece after the ride on how she is impressed with the Midwest. Dick also had a great story about how he turned his retirement plan into a climate advocacy campaign. It was amazing to be around this group for four days and hear so many unique stories. ”
  • “Fascinating discussions during the Climate Ride Café”Nicole Ver Kuilen, Proposal Coordinator, says her favorite part was the evening program on Night 2, called the Climate Ride Cafe. “There were eight tables with different topics facilitated by a rider-expert to generate new ideas and discussion. From Who Killed the Electric Car to Bicycle Friendly Communities as well as Food Farms and Climate Change, conversations and ideas were shared that really made me think differently about my work.”
  • “The Midwest’s unique gems”Bonnie Bona, Project Manager, recalls touring through Michigan wine country, countless lighthouses, and breathtaking views of farms and the Chicago skyline. “We had nightly bonfires – even on the beach of Lake Michigan – and took dips in the lake to cool off. With ice cream stops and fantastic breweries packed into the agenda, the Climate Ride organizing team did a fantastic job laying out all the stops and making it an incredibly meaningful experience.”
  • “Texts, tweets, and calls from my supporters.”Heather Croteau, Clean Cities Intern and ArborBike Technician, loved the many forms of communication she received on the ride from her supporters. “I enjoyed posting pictures online and hearing various ‘Go Heather, Go!’ chants in return. Those kind words got me up some of the tough hills and through the fourth day. I truly appreciate the support my friends and family gave me.”

Overall, the riders couldn’t stress enough the impact of their Climate Ride experience. When asked if they would do Climate Ride again, we heard “in a heartbeat.” Since Climate Ride offers multiple trips – California North Coast, NYC-DC, in addition to the Midwest ride – we may just see these riders in another part of the country.

If you’re interested in giving our riders a pat on the back as well as supporting Clean Energy Coalition’s work, donations can still be accepted online until the end of the year.

To learn more about their experience or about how to take part in Climate Ride, please contact:

Nicole Ver Kuilen
Proposal Coordinator
nicole@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 37

 

Clean Energy Coalition Seeks Part-time Bike Share Technicians
September 9, 2014

 

We’re hiring!

Clean Energy Coalition seeks energetic and committed Part-time Bike Share Technicians to support ArborBike, the newly created Ann Arbor bike share program.  Bike share technicians will work closely with the public, the ArborBike team, and other Clean Energy Coalition staff.

Please see the linked position description for details and information on how to apply.

Free Webinar: Selling Alternative Fuel Vehicles
August 26, 2014

EV-charge

DATE: SEPTEMBER 4, 2014

TIME: 12:00 PM EST

There will be an estimated 22 million alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) on US roads by 2020. This means that AFV sales will increase by 7.3% each year for the next 25 years. Dealerships that thrive in this new automotive paradigm will be those that have the knowledge and competency to sell these cleaner, more efficient vehicles. Clean Energy Coalition invites dealerships and vehicle sales professionals to a half-hour seminar on tips for selling alternative fuel vehicles. Speakers from ASG Renaissance will discuss why it is critical that all vehicle salespeople know how to sell electric, compressed natural gas, propane, and other alternative fuel vehicles. Clean Energy Coalition staff will highlight important vehicle and fuel information.

To register for the webinar, click here or visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/789012103107905794

Alternative Fuels: A State Policy Analysis
August 26, 2014

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In July 2014, Clean Energy Coalition completed an exhaustive review of state-level alternative fuel policy across the United States. This research provides a valuable look at various policies adopted throughout the United States, and how these policies might relate to the number of AFVs and alternative fueling infrastructure in each state. By comparing the strength of relationship between certain policies and AFVs per capita, we can determine which types of policies might be more effective at promoting the proliferation of AFVs and the use of alternative fuels. The research began by categorizing each of over 900 state policies based on fuel, policy mechanism, offering body, and targeted market. The research then examined correlations between different types of policy and the number of AFVs in each state.

The paper finds that there are three important distinctions that impact AFV policy: the origination of the policy (whether it is a state, local, or utility policy), the target of the policy (who is affected by the policy), and the type of policy mechanism (e.g., financial incentive, or a fee/tax policy). For example, this research suggests that states with more laws and incentives that originate at the local or utility level are more likely to have a higher number of AFVs per capita. This indicates that decision makers should encourage the use of local policy to promote AFVs, and work with utilities or the state’s public service commission to promote the use of alternative fuels and AFVs. Although most current policy is targeted toward the commercial sector (especially so for grants and rebates), states that have more laws and incentives targeted to the residential sector are more likely to have a higher number of AFVs per capita. Ultimately, the paper identifies three main incentive mechanisms that have the strongest correlations with AFV deployment.

To read the full text of the paper, visit the Clean Energy Coalition website here.

For more information, please contact:

Allison Skinner
Project Associate
allison@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 16

Michigan Transportation Planning Association (MTPA) Conference
August 26, 2014

MTPA

In August, Michigan Fuel Forward project lead and Clean Energy Coalition Program Supervisor, Heather Seyfarth, spoke to a room packed full of Michigan planners about the importance of incorporating alternative fuels into long-range transportation planning.

This year’s MTPA conference focused on innovative planning for an uncertain future, which is a principal benefit of a diversified fueling landscape. Heather discussed how the challenge for transportation planners will be to effectively plan for a shift in the number of alternative fuel vehicles on the road, enabling communities to capitalize on the many community benefits that AFV’s have to offer, including economic development, public relations, and environmental quality.

Ultimately, the session provided an overview of AFVs, explored the status of AFV adoption in the state, and discussed the steps that planners can take to both prepare for and encourage the use of AFVs in their community.

For more information, please contact:

Heather Seyfarth
Program Supervisor
heather@cec-mi.org
734-585-5720 ext. 21

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