After securing City Council approval on Aug. 8 for the local required match of a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, Clean Energy Coalition announced plans to launch a bike share program for Ann Arbor in April 2014. The program, which will initially service downtown Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan’s campus, is anticipated to include 125 bikes at 14 stations.
Ann Arbor’s bike share program is a partnership between Clean Energy Coalition (CEC), the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (TheRide), the City of Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan. The program is funded with $750,000 in capital funding and $800,000 in operational funding for the three-year program. CEC, in partnership with TheRide, secured $600,000 of federal CMAQ funds for capital expenditures in August 2012 for capital expenditures in fall 2013. The required local capital match of $150,000 was authorized by Ann Arbor City Council on August 8th. The University of Michigan has pledged to provide up to $200,000 per year for three years to support program operations. The remaining $200,000 in operational funding will be collected from membership fees and sponsorships.
Ann Arbor’s bike share program will use fully automated B‐cycle stations and bikes. Adults, age 18 and over, will be able to sign-up as members at station kiosks or online. Memberships will be available on a 24‐hour, 7‐day, or annual basis. Once registered, members can check out a bike, ride to a destination, and return the bike to any of 14 stations. Unlike bike rental programs, bikeshare is intended to provide quick, short trips. Members may use bikes for up to 30 minutes for free; usage fees will be incurred for rides longer than 30 minutes. B‐cycle systems are operating in 18 bike share programs across the United States, including Boulder, CO and Madison, WI. Members of Ann Arbor’s bike share program will be able to access bikes in any B‐cycle system for no additional membership cost. Visit bcycle.com for more information.
Bike share in Ann Arbor has been attracting community support in anticipation of a possible program launch: “I’m very excited about the possibility of bike sharing coming to downtown Ann Arbor. Zingerman’s staff will benefit by being able to use the bikes to run quick errands during the day, not to mention how the program will showcase the City to residents and visitors alike,” said Grace Singleton, Managing Partner at Zingerman’s Deli.
Program planning continues in fall 2013 to finalize station locations, develop marketing and communication materials, and build members’ services. Memberships will be available for purchase in late 2013 or early 2014, and pricing is expected to match rates at other bike share programs nationwide. Residents are encouraged to email email@example.com with any suggestions or questions, and to visit cec-mi.org/bikeshare for more information.
Clean Energy Coalition has become a new member of the new U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Residential Network, which connects energy efficiency programs and partners to share best practices and learn from each other to dramatically increase the number of American homes that are energy efficient.
The Better Buildings Residential Network launched on April 30, at the ACI National Home Performance Conference and Leadership Summit in Denver, Colorado, and continues to grow with new members.
The Better Buildings Residential Network expands on the foundation of existing energy efficiency programs such as the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program and its partners, as well as Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Sponsors and their partners, which have leveraged over $1 billion in federal funding and local resources to build more energy efficient communities since 2010, as well as others that have operated for years. These programs have saved Americans money, created jobs and lowered greenhouse gas emissions.
DOE is now expanding this network of residential energy efficiency programs and partners to new members. The new Better Buildings Residential Network is engaging energy efficiency programs, state and local governments, financial institutions, businesses, nonprofits, universities, utilities, and other organizations to accelerate the pace of upgrades in American homes.
Members of the Better Buildings Residential Network include AFC First, Austin Energy, Boulder County, California Energy Commission, Clean Energy Durham, Clean Energy Works, CNT Energy, City & County of Denver, Efficiency Maine, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, LEAP (Local Energy Alliance Program), Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Michigan Saves, Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED), and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.
Members benefit immediately by receiving access to monthly topical calls with their peers about residential energy efficiency strategies. Calls have discussed business partners and workforce development, driving demand, evaluation & data collection, financing, moderate- and low-income markets, program sustainability and revenue streams, along with other topics based on member requests.
Additional member benefits include tools, templates, resources, and proven solutions shared by members, newsletter and other updates on residential energy efficiency trends, opportunities to be featured in U.S. Department of Energy materials, and optional program benchmarking.
Residential Network members provide DOE with an annual update of the number of residential energy efficiency upgrades completed in their sphere of influence, and share information about the benefits associated with them.
Question of the Month: Where can I find case studies and other information about fleets that have successfully adopted alternative fuels and advanced vehicles?
The AFDC Case Studies search is a great resource for examples of what real fleets are doing related to alternative fuels. This page allows the user to search by category or keyword. Categories include fuels and technologies, such as biodiesel and idle reduction, as well as applications such as law enforcement and public transit. The Case Study search functionality was recently updated to provide a better search experience, so be sure to check it out.
Another useful tool is the AFDC Publications database. The publications database includes more detailed reports and case studies written by the national laboratories and other organizations regarding the implementation of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles in fleets. This page is also searchable by category or keyword.
Clean Cities Resources
The Clean Cities YouTube Channel is one of the newest Clean Cities tools. The channel features more than 200 case study videos, including MotorWeek Clean Cities Success Story segments, and other educational media for fleets. In addition, Clean Cities Now includes a “Fleet Experiences” section in each biannual publication. Each “Fleet Experiences” article contains information about a fleet that has successfully transitioned their fleet to alternative fuels.
Clean Cities coalitions are also great resources for information about the “real world” use of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles at the local and regional level. The Clean Cities Coalition Contacts page provides a list of coalitions and their websites. Some coalitions post stakeholder fleet case studies on their websites or feature success stories in their newsletters.
Industry Associations and Publications
Clean Energy Coalition community partner ROUSH CleanTech and Blue Bird continue to bring new and innovative domestically fueled products to the school bus industry. Just six months into 2013, sales for their propane autogas school bus have tripled compared to the same period last year, according to Blue Bird.
Last month the Propane Road Tour, sponsored by Blue Bird and ROUSH CleanTech, raised awareness of propane autogas as a clean, safe and efficient alternative fuel that is more cost-effective to operate than diesel. The school bus tour began at Blue Bird’s facility in Ft. Valley, Ga., and traveled over 1,000 miles to Student Transportation of America’s new terminal in Omaha, Neb. The bus that made the journey was the final bus to be delivered from the largest single order of 434 propane autogas buses for Omaha Public Schools.
Atha Comiskey, executive director of Middle Tennessee Clean Fuels, spoke during the tour stop in Nashville. “The advantages of propane as an alternative fuel include its domestic availability, performance, safety and clean-burning qualities,” said Comiskey. “They are a good choice for many fleet applications, obviously school buses, but also shuttle buses, taxis and trucks.”
At the School Transportation News Expo in Reno, Nev., Blue Bird unveiled the industry’s largest propane autogas fuel tank developed by ROUSH CleanTech. At 98 gallons, the new tank option provides school districts with significantly greater travel range. Blue Bird’s Propane-Powered Vision is the nation’s most popular and fastest growing alternative fuel school bus.
The roster of school districts switching to propane autogas is growing across the U.S. In Arizona, Mesa Public Schools operates the largest propane autogas bus fleet in their state and saves $6,500 in fuel costs per bus per year. Indiana’s Tippecanoe School Corporation pays 70 percent less to fuel their propane autogas buses compared to their diesel buses. In Georgia, Hall County Schools saved $260,000 this past school year in fuel costs alone thanks to their propane autogas school buses.
These buses also: lower greenhouse gas emissions; virtually eliminate particulate matter; reduce dependence on imported oil; and reduce noise levels by 50 percent when compared to conventional diesel counterparts.
Clean Energy Coalition would like to congratulate our community partner, the City of Auburn Hills. The Auburn Hills EV Ready Project has been selected for the Planning Excellence Award for Best Practices by The Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association. This award is well deserved due to the hard work and dedication of city staff, especially Community Development Director Steve Cohen and his team, including the Planning Commission, and DPW Director Ron Melchert and his staff.
What is the Michigan Transportation Odyssey?
It’s a trip from one end of Michigan to the other using passenger transportation – train, bus, and bike. This is Transportation for Michigan’s (Trans4M) third Odyssey. The purpose is to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges of Michigan’s passenger transportation system. Trans4Mers will celebrate groundbreaking transportation events of 2012 and 2013. You can virtually “travel” with them by following travelers on Facebook and Twitter, or come along for the ride.
This year’s Odyssey begins Thursday morning in Traverse City with a bike ride along a portion of the 10.5 mile TART trail which links to over 30 miles of regional trails. This trail connects neighborhoods to shops, state and local parks to downtown, and knits communities together.
They’ll next head to Grand Rapids by Indian Trails, a 100 year old Michigan transportation company based in Owosso. We’ll review progress on the upcoming Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, the first modern rapid transit project in Michigan.
Odyssey travelers will next head to Kalamazoo, again by Indian Trails motor coach. They’ll explore the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, a 17 mile trail which runs through downtown Kalamazoo.
They’ll take Amtrak from the historic Kalamazoo intermodal transportation center to Ann Arbor. In Ann Arbor Clean Energy Coalition will discuss the recently approved bike sharing program. Participants will also learn about the relatively new public-private partnership service, AirRide, with AATA and Michigan Flyer officials. Trans4M will see how the service operates by taking it from Ann Arbor to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
At the airport they’ll celebrate the formation of the Regional Transit Authority and highlight some of its immediate opportunities. They’ll leave the airport on a SMART bus to Detroit where they’ll conclude this year’s transportation Odyssey with a look at Detroit’s new streetcar project, M-1 Rail and a transportation forum.
Coalition members, supporting partners, community stakeholders, and MI residents are invited to join Trans4M at our city stops, or to come along for the ride. Please register to attend one of the events, including events in Traverse City, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor and Detroit. Click here for a complete itinerary.
Clean Energy Coalition requests proposals from qualified solar installation contractors to perform PV system site assessments and installations at discounted prices to interested commercial customers in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Please review the Request for Proposals and submit a response no later than August 5, 2013.
Clean Energy Coalition is seeking a qualified software developer to help us enhance our Fuel Forward services. The software developer will focus primarily on vehicle data logging technology and database development. Please review the Request for Qualifications and submit a response no later than July 26, 2013.
Clean Energy Coalition is kicking off a one-year pilot of an innovative employee benefit program that addresses both knowledge and financial barriers related to residential energy efficiency upgrades.
The Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) program targets energy and greenhouse gas reductions by helping participating businesses reduce their utility expenditures, educating employees of those businesses on how to save energy at home, and providing individual assistance to employees to help complete energy-saving home improvements.
Initially launched in Arkansas by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative, HEAL is now being replicated in four states across the country; Clean Energy Coalition was selected as the HEAL replication partner in Michigan. DTE Energy is funding HEAL as a pilot energy optimization program with three area employers, City of Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, to evaluate the program’s effectiveness at driving energy efficiency upgrades.
“We are excited about this new approach to promoting energy efficiency,” Clean Energy Coalition Program Director Jenny Oorbeck said. “We believe HEAL will be successful because it reaches people through a trusted source – their employer – and provides direct assistance in understanding and improving home energy use.”
HEAL operates in one of two ways: the classic model focuses first on energy retrofits to commercial facilities with the intention of using cost savings from these projects to provide financing to employees for home retrofits. Where facility retrofits or an internal loan fund are not feasible, the third-party financing model incorporates a partnership between the employer and a financial institution to offer loans to employees, usually at better-than-market interest rates. Both models use payroll deductions for employee loan repayment, similar to other employee benefits.
“HEAL is a great addition to our employee benefit offerings,” said Paul Saginaw, Zingerman’s Co-founding Partner and CSO (Chief Spiritual Officer). “Not only will the program enable employees to better understand and improve their homes, but they will also have the opportunity to take steps to experience real savings each month.”
To learn more about the HEAL pilot now underway or the possibility of a broader program rollout in 2014, contact Rebecca Filbey.