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Emerging Fellow- Shreya Ganeshan

Emerging Fellow- Shreya Ganeshan

Emerging Fellow- Shreya Ganeshan in Roosevelt Institute Campus Network

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Shreya Ganeshan

Agenda for 4/4 Meeting with Aman:

- Recap of meetings with GA Power, Commissioner Dickerson, Commissioner 3/28-29 "Big Rocks" Meeting
- Overview of stakeholder positions
- Timeline before meeting with Mayor and Manager
- Potential meetings this week
- Need presentation for Mayor and Manager done by the end of next week
- City Council Meeting tonight -- go?
- Will hold off on blog until May
- Anything else?

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting with Nathan Bartlett (Key Account Manager/Sales) and Gary Funk (Market Field Representative) from GA Power 3/30:

- GA Power is main utility provider for ACCUG
- GA Power is willing to perform Level I (basic) energy audits on priority buildings (based on old age, high energy use intensity, and/or high energy cost) — for free
- Preliminary audits would take less than 1 week
- Will provide a proposal with upgrade recommendations and possible timeline for implementation (very brief look at costs vs. benefits)
- Will present proposals to ACCUG decision makers (Mayor, Manager, and Commission)
- If pitch is successful (decision makers agree to move forward), then GA Power can perform Level II and III in-depth energy audits and feasibility studies on priority buildings (with ROI, capital and maintenance costs, timeline, etc.) — for a fee that could be covered by SPLOST (?)
- GA Power can perform the retrofits that are deemed worth pursuing — funded by SPLOST, previous Energy Conservation Fund savings, or other financing scheme agreed upon by ACCUG and GA Power (will be able to function as an ESCO)
- They are really interested in being a part of this process, and are willing to be as engaged as possible because ACCUG is one of their largest customers!

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

At 3/28 "Big Rocks" Meeting with Mayor, Manager, Commission, and administrative staff (e.g. Chris Caldwell, Assistant Finance Director):
- Commissioner Jared Bailey and Commissioner Sharyn Wright brought up the idea and people were receptive
- Chris was also there to back them up!
- Mayor and Manager are interested in meeting within the next month
- Commissioner Allison Wright (Mayor Pro-Temp) will get back in touch too

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting with Sharyn Dickerson (ACCUG Commissioner District 1) 3/28:

Overall:
- Very helpful and glad I met with her
- A conservative member, so will be akey mover in the implementation process
- Highly supportive of interdepartmental competitions and making it “fun” for employees to save energy

- It is possible to implement the Energy Conservation Fund idea in FY18
- Energy Conservation Fund: a separate account that will house monetary savings accrued due to energy efficiency measures (performed after comprehensive audits)
- Energy efficiency upgrades and audits potentially funded by “Energy Sustainability” SPLOST
- Monetary savings distribution: 1) 50% savings to Conservation Fund; 2) 50% returned to individual departments (to use on internal expenses excluding utilities) OR 50% returned to General Fund
- Not requiring ACC to put forth any additional money — so could be feasible
- Need to incentivize departments to engage in energy efficiency programs — can refer to several successful ACCUG examples (e.g. Recycling, Solid Waste)
- This proposal could lay the groundwork for potential changes in SPLOST 2019 referendum (e.g. 1% of all SPLOST project monies dedicated to energy efficiency/conservation projects — similar to arts allocation for Athens Cultural Affairs Commission in SPLOST 2011 referendum)
- Using this policy to create priority for energy efficiency/conservation would create a framework to deploy interdepartmental competitions
- Above all, need data on why certain buildings are underperforming and cost-benefit analyses for projects — could perhaps be gained through feasibility studies on the most inefficient buildings
- In the future, ACC should audit the entire system for holistic carbon footprint analysis and opportunities for improvement

- Ideas for future energy saving: competitions have an energy coordinator per department or per building to do drop-in assessments
- The team of these energy coordinators with report to Andrew Saunders and the Central Services Department
- Seeking to emulate lessons learned from successful ACCUG Recycling efforts (in effect 1991)

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting with Jared Bailey (ACCUG Commissioner District 5) 3/21:

Overall:
- Very helpful and excited to get the project off the ground in FY18 rather than (FY19)
- Will be a key driver in implementation
- Need to frame proposal in a way that will sell to pro-development Mayor
- Timeline to be wary of:
o 3/28 and 3/29 – Mayor, Manager, Commission, and administrative staff (e.g. Chris Caldwell, Assistant Finance Director) meet to discuss “big rocks” or major items to include in FY18 budget
o 4/4 – Voting Meeting with Mayor, Manager, Commission, and administrative staff (e.g. Chris Caldwell, Assistant Finance Director); agenda is pre-set, but there is an opportunity to bring up new initiatives at the end → I should be at this meeting
o 4/11 – Final budget items discussed → key decision makers should be on board before this date
o Beginning of May – All budget items/propositions fairly solidified
- Action Items:
o Gain the support of (at minimum) 3-4 other Commissioners
o Set up a meeting with Manager and Mayor (Commissioner Bailey will do on my behalf)

Detailed Notes:
- Many initiatives around water conservation and recycling have been done, but not energy
- Mayor seems to have no interest in environmental efforts despite Commission’s interest → follows a pro-development agenda
- Mayor, pro-temp Mayor, Manager, and County Attorney oversee agenda-setting for meetings (e.g. 4/4 Voting Meeting)
- Need to make this proposal align with decision maker priorities:
o Using taxpayer dollars wisely
o Acting on previously established goals in ACC Comprehensive Plan (that the Mayor and Commission are responsible to uphold)
o Reducing carbon footprint, which is a good marketing tool for the city/county
o Increasing number of national-/state-level initiatives being pushed to local level (e.g. Meals on Wheels program, storm water runoff program) → so ACC could use reductions in unnecessary energy expenses
- Helps to have input from and support of both staff and elected officials
- Need to prove/demonstrate short-term rewards AND long-term benefits → which is why we need to perform comprehensive energy audits/feasibility studies
o Currently we know which buildings are underperforming but not why
- Politics of ACCUG
o Manager seeks to do what is best for the community, but ultimately responds to the Mayor (who has the power to hire/rehire every year)
o Manager is the boss of nearly 1,700 employees, but Mayor is the boss of the Manager
o Mayor approaching term limit in 2019
o 5 Progressive Commissioners:
• Melissa Link – not best point-person, has lost some credibility
• Jerry NeSmith – would support, works with conservatives too (NEED TO MEET)
• Kelly Girtz – would support, cares about environmental issues (NEED TO MEET)
• Allison Wright – would support, more moderate, current Mayor pro-temp (NEED TO MEET BUT IN CONTACT WITH)
• Jared Bailey – gung-ho (HAVE MET AND SUPPORTIVE)
o 5 Conservative Commissioners:
• Sharyn Dickerson – interested in fiscal responsibility, but interested in conservation, used to be the head of ACCUG Recycling and Solid Waste (HAVE MET AND SUPPORTIVE)
• Andy Herod – Geography professor at UGA, very pro-development, highly political
• Diane Bell – wants to do Mayor’s good-bidding, but also wants to support the community
• Harry Sims – fairly center, always on the fence, not one to be a leader, only African American member, not the best target
• Mike Hamby – wants to look good because wants to be the Mayor soon, hard to engage in meetings
o I have reached out to all of them, but am awaiting responses
o Commissioner Jared Bailey is poking them on my behalf

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

Call on 03/21:

Follow ups:

- Contact all remaining commissioners of the 10 total
- Follow up w all unresponsive comissioners
- Update EF coalition tracking excel with state of communication with all commissioners
- Reach out and build ppt for County Manager meeting- share w Aman for feedback

For next time-
- Think through whether we want to produce a blog
- Continued evaluation of pursuing this policy for FY 18 vs 19

Shreya, did I miss anything here?

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Call with Aman (3/20):

- Recap meeting with Andrew Saunders, Chris Caldwell, Athens 4 Everyone, Commissioner Jared Bailey, Commissioner Melissa Link
- Have not reached out to media yet
- Upcoming calendar
- Revisit timeline and process of implementation
- Need to submit blog idea (by end of the week)

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting with Andrew Saunders (Environmental Coordinator) and Chris Caldwell (Assistant Finance Director) 3/17:

Overall:
- More focused on the mechanisms or implementation instruments but supportive of the vision for sure
- Implementation: meeting with County Manager or Assistant manager to get the idea out there
- FY18 budget will be out in April and will go into effect in June/July
- Utilities ISF description (p. 13-14)
- Other examples of functioning ISF (p. 20)
Solutions Discussion:
- Utilities ISF might not be mechanism
- More administrative work than it’s worth
- Good for holding departments who aren’t responsible and accountable to their energy consumption
- Two main goals of the solution:
o Assign responsibility to those who don’t have it currently
o Fund energy efficiency projects proportional to their consumption all in one place
- Current funding instrument:
o Each department is given a set amount of money out of the General Fund at the beginning of the FY
o All bills are charged to individual departments proportional to consumption (only in the case of single use buildings)
o Meters in buildings are tired to specific building accounts
- ISF funding proposition:
o All bills are paid via one account and lump-sum of $XM is charged to the ISF and departments are given a set amount to pay
- Currently, Fleet Management and Internal Support Departments operate using an ISF
- Issues:
o Variability in consumption from year to year due to increasing temperature changes and shocks (e.g. 2016 was really hot and consumption was through the roof)
o Currently in a GA Power rate freeze and we’re about 1 year in (part of the contract to buy Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) was that they would freeze rates for all customers)
o What is GA Power’s role and relationship with ACCUG (other than being majority utility provider)? What role do they have on policy?
o Want to avoid having consumption rise as efficiency increases because so does comfort/welfare
o Putting the savings back in departments’ budgets might not be the most effective may to utilize savings because the ball is in their court and departments can change, and may not enforce a conservation mentality – should try to give them only what they need/deserve and save the rest (back to AOB and conservation fund)
- Other potential solutions:
o Currently, 1% of all GA Power payments goes toward “conservation” – what if we stop paying that to them and keep it for us? So we create our own tax without having additional conservation fee (e.g. 3% of all bills)?
o Decrease all electricity budgets (allocations in General Fund) and fund a conservation coordinator position (revenue neutral)
o Without ISF, just divvy up the bill among proportional building area (proportional use by floor area) and put savings from that building’s energy efficiency improvements into a separate account, (Conservation Fund) – thus, the user would only use how much they are allocated for payment and would not be incentivized to overuse because they just couldn’t pay it (could pull money from different accounts though??) – as the county needs to allocate less and less money to that department’s utilities, 50% of the savings are put into a conservation fund
• Or can tie savings to specific projects rather than in a giant pot
• Would the conservation fund be an enterprise fund to capture savings similar to current Solid Waste, Airport, and Transit departments??
o Take X% out of total utilities budget for energy conservation efforts – which goes into fund and actually accrues money over time as savings from new building upgrades get put into this conservation fund
• Similar to recycling fee but one step higher than the department level
o Put a cap on total utilities consumption or payments allowed (?)
o Look into to energy audits and cost analyses/feasibility studies (Level II ASHRAE) using ESCOs (private contractors)
o No matter what, look at utilities expense from a macro-level (total perspective) rather than individual departments because then savings become more impactful
- Ways to get accountability
o Making departments pay for it
o Reporting departments’ consumption directly to them
o Shame departments – through an interdepartmental completion
o Do sanctions work??
- Need to take action now
o Because the $XM spent on utilities has accelerated beyond GA Power inflation (over 30% between 2007 and 2014)
o We know several buildings are underperforming but don’t know WHY – need more data to take the next step – use SPLOST monies and $50,000 GEFA grant to fund energy audits on 10 buildings
- Challenges with SPLOST
o Time consuming to get the money to roll out projects because the definition of what counts is so loose
o Bureaucracy due to past misuse of monies – animal control facility construction used SPLOST money to pad their other infrastructure costs and they justified because the building used geothermal energy
• Thus the Commission and Mayor have established an extra policy checkpoint/hoop to cross in order to make sure that SPLOST Energy Sustainability projects are legitimate (thought this doesn’t exist for the use of other SPLOST program funds)

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 3/14 with Athens 4 Everyone (Chris):

- Couldn't identify any real opposers to the policy
- Just need to prioritize getting on the agenda for Commissioners
- Most feasible method is to go through staff rather than lobbying the government
- Mayor is NOT receptive to criticism - NOT well-received
- If the County Commissioners and County Managers propose the policy change, then it's a sure success
- 2 other (less preferable possible courses of action: 1) get 7/10 Commissioners to approve which has only ever happened once; 2) have a citizens lobbying effort)
- Best to keep things quiet - most enduring and successful solutions
- Even op-eds in Athens Banner Herald and Flagpole should be written in a positive perspective rather than as a criticism
- Commissioners who'd likely be on board: Melissa Link, Kelly Girtz, Jared Bailey, Jerry NeSmith, Allison Wright, Andy Herod

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Update 3/10:

- Confirmed meeting with Athens for Everyone community organization on 3/14
- Confirmed meeting with Andrew Saunders (Environmental Coordinator) and Chris Caldwell (Finance Department) on 3/17
- While waiting for Andrew Saunders to respond, I reached out again to Commissioner Melissa Link. She encouraged that I reach out to Andrew Saunders before contacting her again (lol awkward...). So will wait on the County Commissioner outreach until after 3/17 meeting with Andrew and Chris
- Confirmed meeting with Commissioner Jared Bailey (3/21)

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 3/9 Updates:
- Send another round OKRs to Aman

- Call with Keep Athens Beautiful 3/17
- Call with Athens for Everyone 3/13
- Send emails to other County Commissioners
- Send Roosevelt 5-6 sentence op-ed pitch
- Reach out to contacts at Athens Banner Herald and Red&Black publications 3/14
- Have op-ed written on policy by 3/15
- Present at ACC Citizens Oversight Meeting 3/27
- Need op-ed published in local publications by 3/27
- Keep trying to get a hold of Andrew Saunders, Chris Caldwell, Melissa Link, Tim Dennison but not essential to move forward
- Fix Gmail account

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 12/8 - Andrew Saunders, Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator

Overall comments:
- He FINALLY read the one-pager
- Provided A LOT of helpful information particularly on problem/solution and approach to the paper
- FINALLY gave me access to more Athens-specific data
- I have been using inappropriate data to prove my point, need to fix that (and actually CAN now that I have more information)

Timeline and logistics:
- Advised not pushing county commissioners any more because they are slammed with budget approvals
- Move into contact with them more after January
- This proposal won't be able to be incorporated into FY18 budget because that planning had already begun in September/October
- Should be ready to present to Mayor and County Commission formally any time after June 30, 2016
- Will likely be incorporated in to the FY19 budget by September/October

Problem:
- Need to frame this in a way that will speak to politicians and policymakers NOT left millennials
- Demonstrate how this action will benefit the community and make them better stewards of the responsibility and authority granted to them by citizens and make them better stewards of public finances
- Be more positive and show that there are significant opportunities for improvement and it's in the county's best interest ESPECIALLY since the funding is in place and this will help the government achieve some of its other goals and initiatives it has explicitly prioritized
- It is everyone's best interest
- Use more informative data (energy use intensity increase in 1 year doesn't inform why SYSTEMS need to be upgraded)
- Three-prongs to energy efficiency: systems, behavior, generation
- This policy fails to address the disconnect between consumers and the product (electricity) itself
- There is demonstrated evidence that as efficient technologies improve and are increasingly incorporated into buildings, consumption also increases bc they feel less of the burden (i.e infrequent emails about their excessive usage from Central Services department who is paying the bill in a lot of cases)
- Inequity within the government regarding which departments are paying for utilities and which are not (several department that Central Services just pays for) --> also distances departments because utilities are not having to come out of their budgets
- There are also departments which ARE paying for their own utilities (i.e. Leisure Services, Public Utilities, Fire Dept, Police Dept.)
- Increased ACCUG energy use intensity since 2012 significantly and resulting carbon footprint increase also
- Need to compare buildings in ACCUG to national median - to see how we rank among other similar facility types in the country
- CAN do this with Portfolio Manager and Energy Star data (which I now have access to)
- Also should address the targets (where ACCUG is trying to go as outlined in Sustainability Plan and what does it take to be Energy Star certified? How much such certified buildings are there?)
- There are examples of success and shortcomings
- Paybacks for retrofits can be seen after the first year BUT that is also when the savings are the highest
- After about a year or so, the retrofits generate savings, there is more room in the budget and that extra room is taken up by increased consumption

Solution:
- GOOD: capital account is the correct type of account to allow for the roll over or accumulation of funds
- OFFICIAL NAME: Conservation Budgeting Model
- Being a financial pain often helps modify behavior
- Proposition: require all departments to pay for their own utilities
- Every department is then inherently aware of its consumption and expenditure
- Without a separate baby-sitting and behavioral program intervention, this could be the closest things departments can get to being aware of their usage
- This model is already set up for fuel consumption - each department pays its own fuel bill
- Though there is evidence to show that as fuel prices decline as they have been (actually electricity rates have been on the rise), then consumption increases but at least departments are aware of this
- Rather than blindly using more heat than ever before (i.e. when you go to a hotel you use more water and more AC than you would in your own home because you are not paying for it)
- Use $930K remaining of SPLOST to perform Level II ASHRAE energy audits (done by engineers) on the 10 most expensive, oldest, most inefficient existing buildings ($500 to $1,000 per audit)
- Also use SPLOST revenue to implement energy efficiency measures as recommended by the Level II audits
- Do audits first and then bid out projects at large to general contractors
- Savings accrued will replenish a Conservation Fund (similar to previous model, only utilities allocations are not housed here, in individual department budgets)
- Conservation Fund - savings account housing energy savings that can then be used for further audits and upgrades (especially when SPLOST revenue accumulation stops)
- Those buildings which are shared among several departments will pay for their respective usages and then divide up cost of electricity use in any common space (i.e. easy to do for government building on Dougherty Street)
- The only building that could pose issues with this division of burden is County Courthouse which has a lot of general space
- If a certain department demonstrates __X%___ savings in utilities expenditures following energy efficiency upgrades, then in the following year, that ______X%_______ money for utilities will be deducted from that department's operating budget
- This _____X%_______ reduction in utilities money will be redistributed to ACCUG general expenditures fund AND the Conservation Fund
- Specific proportions of redistribution is a political decision)

Supporting arguments:
- Individual departments paying their own bills will not necessarily dramatically influence behavior but it will diminish the divide between users and payers
- This system builds a sense of accountability and transparency
- Indirect benefit for Central Services department which pays for more departments than just itself (strains its budget currently because it is constrained in which items they can cut funding for (i.e. they are not ever allowed to turn off street lights, so they HAVE to pay $1M for street lights and then cut spending on something else more related to their work)
- Capital account allows funds to roll over
- energy efficiency equips buildings for further SMART technology upgrades (you get more bang for your buck if you install solar panels on an already efficient building because then it's easier to manage loads (or manage energy use at peak times because there is less being wasted)
- As Athens population has grown, there is a need for more services and more staff (1 employee per 114 citizens) --> cannot afford to waste money on energy and cannot afford to build new buildings to replace old ones
- From 2007 to 2014, ACCUG added 130,000 square-feet of facility area
- NEED TO DO: find how population and government hiring of new staff changed during that period
- ACCUG certainly does not plan on reducing building stock because demand for services has been increasing (i.e. just built a new prison)
- Therefore, need to prevent as many avoidable expenses on buildings as possible
- In the last 2.5 years, ACCUG has spent more than the revenue it has made --> not sustainable (recession partly has to do with that)
- Clarke County Extension - ACCUG gold star for energy efficiency: still performing below national median for its facility type
- Progress has been made but there is still room to grow

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Call 12/2 - with Andrew Saunders, Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator

- Provided me some data on environmental output
- ACCUG's carbon footprint in 2014: 27,800 metric tons CO2
- 5% reduction in energy intensity/use = 5% carbon footprint
- hard to exactly forecast energy efficiency savings per building
- provided me with energy intensity dataset
- CO2 output is the most accurate environmental output measure we have at the moment
- savings or impact will vary by building, it's hard to say without already in place for the buildings in need
- can speculate potential savings from ACCUG Cooperative Extension building upgrade and other individual upgrades
- heterogenous facility types and necessary upgrades so can't compare apples and oranges

- set up an in-person meeting for next week 12/8 or 12/9

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

Follow ups:

- Look at Shayna's old edits
- Waiting to hear back from Andrew + 2 County Comissioners + Chris Caldwell (Finance Department at ACCUG)
- Updated draft- 2 weeks from now

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

- Shared updated one-pager to coalition members:
1) Athens-Clarke County Finance Department Director - Chris Caldwell --> feedback received
2) Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator - Andrew Saunders --> no feedback
3) Mentor - Shana Jones --> no feedback
4) UGA Office of Sustainability - Jason perry and Kevin Kirshce --> feedback received
5) SEEA Policy Director - Cyrus Bhedwar --> feedback received

- will share White Paper 2nd draft with the above list as well
- sent emails to 2 County Commissioners --> waiting to hear back

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

Nov 1:

Finance Department- no new money coming in. Revolving loan fund- not the best way to do this at the county level.
Got a better sense of how energy utilities are allocated- annual operating budget, general budget, and a bunch of smaller funds. Not a central place to house utility funds. Different counties will use the money in ways they see fit. So some departments can use this money rather inefficiently.
All current utilitiy allocations- pull those out in to a separate general utilities fund. Funds roll over that are un-used.
Splost funding- use that money for the upgrades that have already been harnessed. Savings from the changes then used for the fund.

Generally- this line of thinking is supported.

Shared draft 1- w Andrew Saunders
Second draft- send to Saunders, SEEA, ACC Finance Department, County Commission

Mentor- haven't heard back on the paper.

Follow-ups
- Reach out to County Comissioner- Melissa Link could be the first person & Tim Denson
- Update the coalition doc
- Send updated draft of the outline

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 10/21 - Chris Caldwell, Assistant Finance Director at ACC Finance Department

Preliminary questIons:
1) How is energy/utilities funding managed and allocated in ACCUG? What percent of the annual operating budget?
2) Is there potential to have fund from the annual operating budget roll-over through capital budgeting?
3) How is SPLOST funding managed in ACCUG?
4) Is there a way to create a revolving loan fund (hybrid “savings-checking account”) using SPLOST funding for seed capital? How much up-front capital would be necessary/feasible?
5) Has ACCUG utilized revolving loan funds in the past?
6) Can the Mayor’s/Commission’s allocations for energy conversation (every other year) go toward this revolving loan fund?
7) Would this financing model garner stakeholder support?
8) If successful, could a revolving loan fund be upscaled to provide a sustainable pipeline of funding for future energy efficiency measures?

- in energy efficiency, cost-side is important
- if upfront costs are justifiable, then should implement upgrades
- FY17 currently, began in July 2016
- primary government operations are housed out of a General Fund (p. A-9 in ACC FY17 budget document)
- 80% of General Fund revenues come from property and sales tax
- FY17: General FUnd (GF) = $121,996,976 from ACC annual operation budget (AOB)
- of GF ~2.3% or $2,797,311 is spent on electricity and heating fuels (normal for local governments of its size)
- gradually increasing utility costs as ACC capacity and size has increased but not something that jumps out
- the ACC government is a very people-intensive business (i.e. fire station, jail, police station) therefore 70% of AOB goes towards salaries and benefits
- businesses with larger facilities and plants (private sector) might have greater costs
- within in AOB, there is GF and other smaller (enterprise) funds, most notably, the Public Utilities Fund (water/sewage fund)
- all funds combined = $190,904,684
- there is not much money in the enterprise funds outside of the GF = $68,907,708
- largest enterprise fund outside of GF is Public Utilities Fund (PUF)
- Across all AOB: 3.2% of AOB spent on electricity and heating fuel = $6,171,938
- PUF: $50,000,000 total and $3,200,000 allocated towards electricity and heating fuels => wastewater and sewage plants are big users of electricity
- most utilities allocated to Central Services department (Andrew Saunders' Dept.) => central oversight of GF
- utilities are a large portion of Central Services' budget (different departments have line items allocated to utilities, which is really messy)

- decision making in ACC is not centered around expenses, mostly around services => what is going to provide the most beneficial service
- prioritize delivering services to citizens and then cost follows => they already want to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars
- returns on investments used to justify utility costs
- Central Services can propose (in Sustainability Plan) a capital program : $__________ million for ________ upgrades with $____________ savings annually => the dollar argument will win over environmental

- something like renewable or alternative fuel sources for electricity and heating fuels has more long term effects

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

October 20:

Organization of the paper:

Solution's part of the paper isn't fully fleshed out. More nuanced details on how the project could operate here.
Incorporating more real examples from other cities.
Compare and make the solutions section a bit more detailed.

Organization of the paper- needs work. Needs to be packaged as an argument. Needs to have an audience.
Need to be clear about benchmarking, and also about institutionalizing financing for energy efficient upgrades.

- Meeting with the ACC Finance department tomorrow
- Call with George Env Fin authority

Follow-ups:
- Send detailed outline by Oct 25
- Share draft w Andrew Saunders, South Eastern Energy Efficiency Alliance, mentor, office of sust

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

10/10 - Reached out to Chris Caldwell, Assistant Finance Director at ACC Finance Department

- Asked him some prep questions via email before meeting in-person or over the phone

1) How is energy/utilities funding managed and allocated in ACCUG? What percent of the annual operating budget?
2) Is there potential to have fund from the annual operating budget roll-over through capital budgeting?
3) How is SPLOST funding managed in ACCUG?
4) Is there a way to create a revolving loan fund (hybrid “savings-checking account”) using SPLOST funding for seed capital? How much up-front capital would be necessary/feasible?
5) Has ACCUG utilized revolving loan funds in the past?
6) Can the Mayor’s/Commission’s allocations for energy conversation (every other year) go toward this revolving loan fund?
7) Would this financing model garner stakeholder support?
8) If successful, could a revolving loan fund be upscaled to provide a sustainable pipeline of funding for future energy efficiency measures?

- Meeting set up for on 10/21

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan - Found this information on a Green Business Revolving Loan Fund in ACC (for private sector):
http://en.openei.org/wiki/Athens-Clarke_County_-_Green_Business_Revolving_Loan_Fund_(Georgia)

Will inquire about this at the meeting on 10/21

2 years ago

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 10/5 - Andrew Saunders, Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator

- really helpful
- email introduction to Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Finance Department to learn logistics of funding allocation and county-/city-level and revolving loan fund (RLF) structure

- need to revise policy solution:
- proposing yearly energy audits is not feasible because they are so expensive (especially Level II and III ASHRAE audits) - range from $600 to $3,000
- also the data is valid for up to 5 to 10 years
- benchmarking versus auditing
- 195 facilities but ~80 actual buildings
- I am targeting buildings not all facilities in the paper; need to change this
- all the data on most ACC buildings is in Portfolio Manager up until 2014
- Portfolio Manager - open-source online database that combines utility data (kWh) and dollars spent on utilities + data on every building characteristics + 3rd party weather and climate conditions to provide stories on overall energy use in consumption in buildings (trend data, recommendations, reports to present to occupants, etc.)
- maybe should propose updating Portfolio Manager yearly + providing building occupants and ACC with yearly reports on building performance in relation to previous year(s) and other ACC buildings
- Sustainability Plan has proposed at leas 10 audits with SPLOST funding -- would then create momentum for more audits
- I proposed that all 80 buildings could be required to have undergone energy audits in with valid data up until 2025 (therefore, won't have to do every building, just the ones that haven't been done)
- Andrew said 2025 is overly aggressive
- best to start with the oldest (most dilapidated) and highest-dollar (most expensive) buildings
- maybe have these done done done by 2025 (also in line with target year for Sustainability Plan Goal 1)
- this policy proposal goes along with 2 action items in the developing Sustainability Plan (under Goal 1 - reduce energy intensity by 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2050)
- those buildings with worst performances will roll out in priority energy upgrades
- need to develop a way to document energy savings on energy efficiency projects because high-efficiency products will overestimate the potential returns to usage (because they want you to buy it)
- can't use utility bills because they are not weather-corrected (what if it was a really hot or cold year)
- Level II and Level III ASHRAE audits only provide estimates of cost and energy savings; it's never exact; need to find a way to develop a realistic margin of error for these estimates
- also how to justify that cost savings might not be as high as proposed because electricity rates going up (increased by 2.5% in the last year)
- the narrative of savings comes from more than just cost and utility data (which is why Portfolio Manager and its report are so helpful)
- why energy efficiency? --> yes, it's not as sexy or cutting-edge as something like solar, BUT old/dilapidated buildings are not in positions to utilize new solar technology effectively
- energy efficiency takes care of the lowest hanging fruit and get's the building in proper shape to use any technology effectively
- also, how do you make sure that energy/cost savings are actually happening because the process of change can be quite slow and expensive

- financing:
- can't legally transfer money from SPLOST account to capital budgeting account
- RLF is like a savings account and ACC annual operating budget (AOB) is like a checking account
- RLF is a hybrid that make both pots of money talk
- currently, AOB has line items only for utilities
- allocated at the beginning of the year, based on forecasting and predictions of usage
- if shortage, can pull money from another line item in AOB
- if surplus, could put the money elsewhere but it doesn't roll over
- de facto policy incentivizes underestimating utilities expenses
- would need RLF money/savings to roll over so could not operate out of AOB
- need to create a capital account because that's the only way the money can/will roll over
- $25,000-$50,000 allocated every other year by Mayor and Commission to energy conservation projects
- could this money be put towards a revolving loan fund?
- the RLF idea would be separate account from SPLOST that would exist as a separate entity
- SPLOST funding would still be used for seed capital for RLF (need special instrument) and to fund energy audits to worst performing/most expensive buildings (this is allowed under existing SPLOST Project definition)
- audits inform the engineering/upgrade process BUT need sustainable/easy to understand financing and implementation model for stakeholder buy in

- include ACC Cooperative Extension as success story example in paper
- 3,100 sq ft. building
- 2007: 194,000 btus/ft energy use; $7,770/year on energy costs
- 2014: 100,000 btus/ft energy use; $4,800/year on energy costs
- in that time, ~ 50% GHG emissions reduction
- this didn't pop up as a highly efficient building on Portfolio Manager, but looking at the data can share a story of success
- this is why updating Portfolio Manager yearly and analyzing consumption and expense trends can be really helpful
- behavioral audits also important, but outside the scope of this project
- Energy Conservation Coordinator would handle all of this

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

October 5:

Draft- pretty good about the paper overall. Glad that she approached benchmarking and such as the first step.
Working on fleshing out the mechanics of the revolving loan fund.

Andrew Saunders- very good meeting w him. In paper- requiring all county building to require annual audits. Going to need to tweak this slightly- too expensive and time consuming. Data is valid for 5-10 years.
Solutions portion of the draft is a bit incomplete- meeting w Finance dep of City government- Andrew connected her. Get an understanding of the Splost funding- can't directly just put in to revolving fund. There are mechanisms to make this happen- need to learn about those logistical.
Energy efficiency upgrades- first done to the poorest performing buildings or the oldest buildings.

When reviewing paper- pay special attention to page 11- should this be moved to supporting arguments?

Follow ups
- Add the coalition doc
- Add an immediate case study of a building w energy efficiency
- Send out the one-pager to- Athens Clarke County env. coordinator, UGA office of sustainability, someone from City Government- connections from Andrew, SEEA, mentor.
- Reach out to GA Env Finance Authority

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/28 - Andrew Saunders, Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator

- This was probably the most helpful meeting I've ever had.
- Andrew and I will meet next week (10/5) to discuss the draft, which I will also send to him.

- History of energy efficiency in Athens: pretty well-received ideas
- Mayor's Code of Ordinances: 15% reduction in energy intensity (gross goal) in public infrastructure --> this failed because they were adding a large (750-bed) jail; changed water treatment facility from chlorine to UV (which took up 75% of the city's energy use); also added building stock to city
- technology couldn't keep up with growth, and therefore, changed the goal to 15% reduction in energy intensity per square feet; which allows for more expanding opteration
- in FY09 to FY17 plans, there is an energy goal (intensity reduction goal) - energy is on the mayor/commission's agenda
- mode of operation to achieve the goal is embedded in the county budget
- upgraded over 10,000 lighting fixtures to higher efficiency CFL (not LED)
- most energy efficient building is the Athens Cooperative Extension facility after audits but few other audits have been done to help the poorest performers
- energy efficiency not really on their radar though (as a commission)
- BUT Andrew is really receptive and wishes he could get more done (obviously)
- 2013-2014 (1 year) county facilities' energy intensity increased by 5% (weather corrected) --> even when there were no significant construction projects or building stock increases = solely due to consumption
- people need to know this is not okay
- similarly, water consumption behavior sharply decline in 2008/2009 and then increased again after 2012 (after people's wallets weren't as tight)

- Athens Sustainability Plan - Andrew working on it
- 1 (out of 11) chapters on energy
- benchmarking not included but there is definitely an opportunity (!!)
- benchmarking is the latest trend in urban energy efficiency
- Andrew and team is constructing the bones (with long term and short run actions), and will then take it to NGOs and community organizations for feedback/input
- SPLOST for public sector (opportunity!!!!)
- ACC spends ~5% its operating budget on fuel and electricity

- Financing energy efficiency
- PACE financing in Atlanta and other cities (Fayetteville, Arkansas which is also a college town, etc.)
- in Atlanta, don't know if ARRA stimulus funding rolled over for seed capital or if seed capital was just accumulated funds/from operating budget
- in Fayetteville, PACE is 100% privately funded; did an RFP and public sector can place loans and recover funding on taxes
- PACE is government assessment on a tax, so it become 1st priority on a collateral asset and allows lenders to give favorable interest rates
- private investment with public support

- disclosure is a good route, up and coming trend but also may be hard to implement in Athens
- sensed there was some institutional skepticism (??not sure??), but Andrew seems to think it's a good idea
- empowers consumer with information ad to achieve efficiency over time
- for commercial buildings in the SE, energy is so cheap that it's not a big player in investment decisions and building stock is tight

- tracking energy consumption data: PortfolioManager (through Energy Star)
- Athens-Clarke County been using 2007-2014 to store facilities data
- the software automatically trends in consumption, etc.
- most important graph: energy use intensity for existing facilities (electricity)
- ACC has the data for 7 years, but need to present it to someone who cares about fixing negative trends
- the data is only as powerful as those who interpret it
- - 2013-2014 (1 year) county facilities' energy intensity increased by 5% (weather corrected) --> even when there were no significant construction projects or building stock increases = solely due to consumption
- people need to know this is not okay
- need to determine a threshold (building size) for benchmarking
- need to inquire tax assessor how many square feet of each building type (based on size) there exists in the city (county facilities)
- utility (GA Power) also really willing to provide detailed info on individual customers' consumption (but not others)
- i.e. GA Power would never share info on their industrial partners or how much the community of Athens (as a whole) is consuming

- EE political climate in Athens
- GREAT idea to use public sector as an example for private
- not a smart to go after private right away, poor political climate
- public sector players - are pretty willing to work together
- Commission allocates $50K every other year towards energy conservation (+efficiency)
- weak Mayor
- County Managers control government mostly (4 people)
- County Commission set policies and approve the budget (no day-to-day operations)
- Mayor elected by the people and Mayor hires 4 county managers (with permission of County Commission)

- SPLOST funding is secret weapon
- yes, tax-payers vote on it but project bucket definitions are loosely defined
- used for capital outlay projects (excludes hiring staff and maintenance expense) BUT includes renovation projects (i.e. repaving roads and energy efficiency upgrades!!!!)
- 31 project buckets: Energy Sustainability Program is #23
- ~$900K pot of money to use, but can't use all of it
- but could serve as seed capital for revolving loan fund
- currently each project bucket is overseen by a user group (3 county staff + 2 citizens) to allocate incremental funding, which conintues to accumulate over time = warchest of existing funding
- idea: use ~ $60K from SPLOST as seed capital to start revolving loan fund (~10-15% annual return) to pay for Level 1 and 3 ASHRAE energy audits
- use energy benchmarking data to determine which buildings are performing the worst and are 1st priority for efficiency upgrades
- if we derive benefits from energy, we can create a fund using the savings

- implementation, need not only money but also expertise and staff time
- currently very very low capacity, Andrew doing everything
- hiring County Energy Manager to over see this (within the next 12 months, 36 LATEST) and the idea has been proposed (and received decent support) before

- timeline: present Sustainability Plan to mayor before July 2017
- before that, internal revisions (and this benchmarking ordinance could be included)
- then, present to NGO and community stakeholders

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan - Still have several questions:
- can this be scaled up over time?
- what is the volume of potential projects and their ability to absorb capital?
- what is ACC's tolerance to financial innovation in public sector?
- what is the capacity of the fund management team? who would that be?
- could the facilities department support implementation?
- what model to follow? accounting model where funds are transferred to a central department bc project recipients don't have discrete control over/ownership of project specifics?
- would this be a line item in Project 23 SPLOST Energy Sustainability Program budget or would it be a separate account?
- where is SPLOST money housed - community development banks? which?
- ask tax assessors: how much (sq. feet) of each county facility type/size exists
- anyone else I should talk to?

2 years ago

Aman Banerji

Meetings Sep 27-

SEEA- regional energy efficiency non-profit organizations for cities/private developers- types of policy perspectives on energy efficiency. Lack of information on energy consumption. Before these minor retrofits- need to know where the problems are- developers really don't care. Commerical buildings have the greatest potential impact- public utilities have a huge role to play. If there is not a priority set at the public level, there will be no hope for commerical buildings to go on this.

City of Athens to require yearly public audits on county facilities- buildings owned by the county.

Implementation and roadmap- not just that they money is there, that the training and infra is there.
City's environment coordinator meeting tomorrow- can give more updates then.
Revolving loan fund is generally the way to go.
Coalition to receive one pager- Athens Clarke County env. coordinator, UGA office of sustainability, someone from City Government- connections from Andrew, SEEA, mentor.



Follow-ups

Reach out to Georgia Environmental Finance Authority + Decatur environ authority
Aman to send edits on one pager
Aman to send edits of updated draft of the outline
Shreya to add coalition document
Shreya to complete draft of the White Paper

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/26 - Cyrus Bhedwar, SEEA Director of Policy

- SEEA not specifically involved in disclosure for a long time
- City of Atlanta has led benchmarking and disclosure initiatives and they have an Office of Sustainability
- Athens does not have an Office of Sustainability
- public facilities is a good start because you have more control over them than the variety of stakeholder in private sector
- NYC is the gold standard of comparison
- Not too many examples in the South: Austin, Orlando, Atlanta
- Decatur (GA) is also a good resource
- Way to frame the problem or issues of energy efficiency to policymakers: stewardship of taxpayer dollars; you are elected to not waste people's money, therefore you have an obligation to correct energy inefficiency
- need to understand where policymakers stand on the issue (Wednesday meeting will be very important)
- engage stakeholders in the process: "if people trust the process, they will more likely respect the outcome"
- energy savings performance contracting: has had a rocky history, but the advantage of it is that you don't need to bring your own capital for energy renovations; good first step before revolving loan fund if city has sufficient expertise (unlikely though)
- Atlanta started their revolving fund using a lump-sum (funding accrued through a few high-savings projects); then reinvested into other high-yield projects
- Look into resources of: Institute for Market Transformation
- Gave Decatur, GA Sustainability Coordinator's info -- good contact

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/26 - Lauren Westmoreland, SEEA Director of Built Environment

- Shreya interested in implementing benchmarking and disclosure policies
- Atlanta recently passed benchmarking and disclosure policies --> one year complete
- Austin (smaller than ATL) also done this
- Orlando in the process
- Not too many examples in the Southeast and the ones that have done this are much bigger than Athens (~126,000 people)
- there is a lot beyond just proposing disclosure policies --> need feasible roadmap for implementation
- no one in the Southeast has gone through full implementation process; not many perfect examples except New York City
- GA had passed disclosure policies in the past, but may be defunct now
- public buildings is a good way to lead by example
- UGA is also a good example for city: talked about 2008 contracting work briefly
- Orlando: using energy audits and information from utility providers that the city has access to, corrected some major public infrastructural issues; and used savings capital to create revolving loan fund --> good solutions idea
- implementation requirements: need staff time and expertise; even if money is allocated, if there's no expertise, it's a waste
- need to reach out to GEFA for revolving loan fund advice

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meetings this week:
9/26 - Lauren Westmoreland (SEEA) on building energy code and standards and "green building"
9/26 - Cyrus Bhedwar (SEEA) on energy efficiency policy development and implementation
9/28 - Andrew Saunders (Athens-Clarke County government Environmental Coordinator) on SPLOST funding for energy/sustainability, Athens sustainability plan development, regulatory landscape/policy infrastructure surrounding energy efficiency

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/21 - Wesley Holmes, SEEA (Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance), Director of Strategy and Development

- his role involves exploring ways to acquire funding for energy efficiency projects and addressing market barriers
- low-income financing for those businesses that don't have access to traditional credits (credit-constrained)
- on-bill financing: funding through a utility to create an opportunity to perform different types credit ratings (other than FICO scores)
- often times the most need energy retrofits are left out of the market; structural barriers
- loan-loss reserves, interest rate by-downs
- need to educate marketplace on safety and security of energy efficiency
- created an energy efficiency fund: $800K starter capital (roll-over ARRA stimulus funds) to create a revolving loan fund
- create warehouse energy efficiency loans (low-interest investments) with the expectation that money would come back with interest in the future; work with local markets to establish energy efficiency loan products
- work across 11 states, mostly mid-large size cities
- not much work in smaller cities in GA
- advised against working with SPLOST funds because SPLOST projects need to be shovel-ready
- need to find out how infrastructure in Athens is set up around energy
- if want to create a revolving loan fund to retrofit public buildings in the city, then there are other ways that the city can get the money
- other avenues don't have to come from a new tax-base
- energy savings performance contracts are fairly effective BUT:
- 10-year payback period can make it hard to settle because the person who enters the agreement is rarely in office when the project life is over (creates anxiety)
- some companies don't want to pay out if savings are not achieved
- could ramp up energy savings through education
- GEFA could be a good resource (might be understaffed but could be knowledgeable)
- problem with private sector buildings is that lots of businesses rent out spaces that are operated by different people and are developed by different people
- split-incentive issue: who is going to pay for energy efficiency measures?
- PACE (property assessed clean energy) financing is a good solution
- commercial buildings can lead by example from public sector
- PACE also promotes market awareness
- benchmarking and disclosure policies also crucial to conduct audits every year or at the point of sale
- point of sale could be more compelling to offset costs (cost burden borne by property owner)
- policy vs. program - without opt-in program feature there will be someone/some party upset by the policy
- could create a PACE district in Athens - can pay for any investments in 20 years of so (case study)?
- or work with power companies to layer on incentives or provide comprehensive retrofits (like on-bill financing) to building owners --> would be optional though AKA program
- Need to drive consumer awareness --> right now, power prices seem so low that doesn't seem like they're wasting energy or owners are spending money unnecessarily BUT can demonstrate inefficiencies with consumption and cost data
- establish a grant program where companies downtown would put down 1/2 of energy retrofit costs and government matches those funds
- developers are so difficult to move = stay away from them
- tenants and local business are the ones that occupy and pay the power bills

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/6 - Kevin Kirsche and Jason Perry from UGA Office of Sustainability
- former bosses from internship with Office
- did contracting work for Athens-Clarke County in 2008 where they energy audited all county facilities and performed carbon footprint analysis
- looked into how county could allocate federal conservation block grants
- discussed SPLOST tax funding (reinstated through taxpayers' vote every five years)
- problem with reallocating existing tax funds is that use of funds my violate the tax description or the scope of the tax that voters' agreed to initially
- potential to change tax stipulations in upcoming 2017 revision
- Mayor of Athens Nancy Denson not in favor of green building policies
- SPLOST (special purpose local option sales tax) --> 1% sales tax used for capital outlay projects
- SPLOST projects must be equitable and benefit everyone
- Solarize Athens (recommendation by Shana) mostly successful in residential space
- public buildings could be a good proof of concept but greater impact with commercial buildings
- issues with commercial buildings - diversity of stakeholders, have to work with developers who only care about building as many structures as possible
- create a revolving loan fund (???) - could be a god idea --> maybe using SPLOST pot of money?
- or revolving loan fund using foundation grants (i.e Kendeda Foundation) but doesn't seem sustainable
- having trouble distinguishing between program and policy
- agreed that GEFA is way understaffed and may not be very helpful
- INFORMATION GAP --> small businesses just don't know how much they are consuming and how much they could be saving
- tenants and those paying the power bills are the most intimately impacted by energy efficiency upgrades and subsequently falling energy consumption costs
- also confirmed that I should reach out to Andrew Saunders

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 9/1 - Ronny Just, Governmental Relations Manager at Georgia Power
- state utility monopoly
- office in Athens
- need to focus on cities where growth is on the horizon
- warned that Athens might not be growing quick enough? (don't think this is true though)
- bonds could help finance energy efficiency - need to look into green bonds?
- GEFA might not be as good of a resource as Shana mentioned due to serious funding cuts and leadership vacuum
- energy savings performance contracting could be effective

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan

Meeting 8/30 - Shana Jone, Faculty Mentor
- previous mentor during policy fellowship at Carl Vinson Institute of Government
- recommended reaching out to specific community organizations (i.e. certain County Commissioners, Solarize Athens, etc.)
- introduction to Andrew Saunders, creating Athens Sustainability Plan (Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator)
- opportunities to reach out to GEFA (Georgia Environmental Finance Authority) on clean energy financing
- look into Energy Performance Savings Contracting

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

September 9:

Found and solicited a great funder. Create a road map for the tax funding- upcoming iteration is 2017. Existing funds already within this pool of money. 2017- could be an opp to alter the tax legislation- to add energy efficiency to the mission.
Typically tax is used for capital outlay projects- like Energy Sustainability, education etc. Within energy sustainability- manufacturing plants and improving energy in large and permanent structure. Opp to alter that definition to add in energy efficiency measures. That legislation will be voted on quite soon. Currently, revenue generated can't be used for maintenance projects of any type. Could be a problem with using existing funds to use some of this

Was supposed to present to state legislators- at the Environmental policy academy- but energy efficiency stuff has been removed. Georgie Environmental science authority- energy financing meeting in November- opp to present. Not currently on the coalitions list.

Follow ups
- Send 1 pager of project by Monday
- Send outline by Monday
- Send Bilbiography and Lit review by today
- Completed first phase of outreach- by next week
- Attach the coalition sheet by Monday.

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

August 24:

Focus on Athens- as she's in the City.
Athens City Government- responsible for all of the public utilities and such. Located in downtown Athens, very accessible. Many different divisions and municipal entities- handle different facets of her problem.
Problem- Commercial building energy inefficiency due to a lack of municipal priorities. Lack of funding- and lack of muni priorities in smaller cities in the state of Georgia.
Challenge- Should she work on commercial buildings- retail spaces, warehouses, hospitals and more- very wide net or should she focus on public buildings like muni government buildings? Could do either.
Monday- attended City Council meeting- looked at a special sales tax called Block tax. Provides funding for capital improvements. Primary for capital outlay projects, not used for maintenance costs. Not applicable to energy retrofits and auditing. But the pool of money is not being used at all. Bucket for Energy and sustainability had a million dollars allocated in 2011, only small part of it used just yet. Is there any way to use those resources. There is potential apparently for the Block tax to fund this.
Sales tax- money will keep coming in, not worried that this pool of money will vanish. Provides hope for policy or project longevity. Other projects and a plan for funding allocation does not exist.

Looking to have a meeting with the Energy Sustainability manager.
Policy- setting quantifiable goals for building energy efficiency targets by 2020.

Strategic energy plan efficiency targets- approved by the City Council commission. Build a vision for how to build this energy efficiency targets by reducing commercial building energy efficiency by 2020.

Follow up:
Coalition Id- will add
Power map- add to Loft.
Bibliography- adding in tonight.
Drafting an outline- and will complete 2 paragraphs tonight.
Literature review- add on by Monday.

2 years ago ·

Shreya Ganeshan joined the project

2 years ago ·

Rachel Brown-Weinstock joined the project

2 years ago ·

Sawyer Smith joined the project

2 years ago ·

Asha Athman joined the project

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji

Update June 12:

Follow up Beverly Harp- Shreya Ganeshan

Background- PBAF looking at commercial building energy inefficiency in the city of Atlanta within the city of Atlanta District. Department of Energy pilot project- Better Buildings Challenge- in many cities across country- voluntary program whose mission is to achieve energy consumption reduction by 2020. Targets major cities across the country- Atlanta, Chicago etc. Essentially the developers, and the people participating are luxury spaces in the City- like sports stadiums or commercial or offices spaces. These are the ones that are getting this type of funding and energy from the Department of Energy. Has become a quite successful program, competition among the elite. But still very focused on luxury spaces, there are still many offices spaces, and others in the City that aren't receiving this type of resources.

Research showed Atlanta has resources to make this retro fitting happen. Where the importance really lies is outside of the main city like Atlanta. Found a lot of potential for something like this in smaller cities that have similar kinds of commercial spaces. Better buildings challenge can be replicated outside of the City of Atlanta. Won't happen without this intervention.
Sort of shifting- target setting toward cities outside of Atlanta. Initially PBAF project- with a focus on LED lighting retrofits. The problem is more institutional than that. Lots of developers and such don't know how simple some of these basic changes- like energy efficient retrogrades. Initial costs for something like this are very high but will be able to recover costs.

This policy project- Incentivizing developers and such to move toward these types of changes. Developing models for public/private partnerships, needs a financial- economic framework to allow developers to capture these kinds of changes. LED lighting retrofits or solutions like that. What sort of expense threshold can we set for developers to work with local municipalities?

Initial focus was a bit more on the education side. With the education version- there is an org, a lot of what they do is education and developer training. Do have an office in the City of Atlanta. Would like to meet with them to learn what's learned in other states and what could work in Georgia? A lot of this could happen by speaking with the right set of organizations.
Will be working at the Carl Institute- to get in touch with local municipalities across the state?

Counties and cities that are taking Energy efficiency in to their own hands? Doesn't have to be within the context of the Better Buildings Challenge.

What's the political viability for Climate Change reform? Is low, but this can be framed as an economics project with environmental consequences. Some of the very few environmental reform mechanisms that benefit everyone in the very short term.

Would be interested in working on something like this w Savannah, Macon and 1-2 other cities.
Better Building Challenge- urban trend rooted in program, not policy.

Where: Cities are definitely more receptive to something like this. Find 2-3 smaller cities where an enabling environment exists. Atlanta can serve as a good model, but not where the project needs to be based.
Who: South Eastern Energy Efficiency Alliance- do this kind of work. Can try to set up a call. South face energy Institute- also focused on energy efficiency within the city of Atlanta.
What: Greater energy efficiency within these cities- educating developers (sounds a bit trivial).
How: Education and local government come together- before any developer is able to take on a construction project- take on this energy module. Or outline the energy cost benefit- prior to construction. Can we find ways to think through a funding model- socio economic cost structures-be modelled in to the policy itself.

Not sure what type of mechanisms and grant based programs exist. How to tackle these up front capital costs? Of course, they want to tackle to take advantages of

Easy to do with new construction, a lot of the challenge exists with old buildings.


How can Roosevelt be helpful here?
- Networking/attending conferences- events related to energy efficiency, would love to attend.
- Connections with other stakeholders in other cities
- Exposure to ways in which voluntary programs have impacted regulatory policy- more insights into this
- How quantitive metrics are implemented into policy evaluation?- How can one communicate these types of advantages to a policy maker? - Examples of other policy papers that do it well, along with different types of evaluations.

How could Hyde Park be useful:
- Older Emerging Fellows- anyone who's been able to implement policy at some level- could be a good Alum connection

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji Accepted a new goal: Completed Outline of Paper

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji Accepted a new goal: White Paper

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji Accepted a new goal: Building Coalitions

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji Accepted a new goal: Building Coalitions

2 years ago ·

Aman Banerji Accepted a new goal: Bibliography & Brief Outline Due

2 years ago ·

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