Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program (EECBG) helps communities implement energy-efficient strategies and projects that conserve natural resources and save money over time. Federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy will be available through this program for thousands of communities across the United States in the next year. This exciting new program will support a wide variety of uses that range from conservation programs to efficiency planning to project implementation.

Any city or county committed to implementing strategies or approaches supporting the objectives of the EECBG will be able to apply. Entitlement communities (cities over 35,000 in population or counties over 200,000) are eligible for formula grants directly from the U.S. Department of Energy, while smaller communities will be able to apply for EECBG funding through their State Energy Office.

Entitlement communities have until June 25, 2009 to submit applications to the U.S. Department of Energy for EECBG funding. Program applications for non-entitlement communities will likely be issued in late 2009. Demand for funding through this program is expected to be strong, so it is important that communities start developing plans to use EECBG funding as soon as possible to take advantage of this excellent opportunity.

How your community can use an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

The EECBG program provides applicants a great deal of flexibility in developing uses for funding. Successful strategies will result in optimum energy efficiency, fossil-fuel emission reductions, long-term economic benefits, and reduction of energy use. Examples of projects or programs that may contribute to accomplishing these objectives include:

Community-Wide Energy Efficiency Planning

  • Strategic plans for energy efficiency
  • Amendments to comprehensive/master plans that incorporate energy-efficient planning principles
  • Public education programs

Transportation Planning and Improvements

  • Non-motorized plans
  • Development of trails, bike lanes, and pedestrian pathways
  • Bicycle and pedestrian facilities and programs (bike racks, safety programs, etc.)
  • Public transit improvements
  • Development and implementation of ride-sharing programs and incentives
  • Development of car pooling lanes and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes
  • Intelligent transportation system (ITS) improvements
  • Traffic flow improvements that reduce emissions (roundabouts, left turn lanes, etc.)
  • Energy-efficient street lighting and traffic signals
  • Traffic signal optimization and synchronization
  • Employer-based incentives and programs to reduce vehicle trips (car pooling, flexible work schedules, etc.)

Energy-Efficient Public Facility Improvements

  • Government facility improvements (green roofs, weatherization, heating and cooling, etc.)
  • Development of community alternative energy systems (hydroelectric power, wind power, biomass, solar power, etc.)
  • Purchase of energy-efficient public vehicles (hybrids, alternative fuels, etc.)
  • Development of publicly-owned alternative-fueling facilities

Energy-Efficient Codes and Ordinances

  • Zoning ordinance amendments to allow and regulate renewable energy sources (wind turbines, solar panels, biomass, etc.)
  • Creation of energy-efficient site development codes and/or guidelines (subdivision codes, LEED® standards for private development, etc.)
  • Creation and enforcement of energy-efficient building codes
  • Public Assistance Programs for Energy Efficiency
  • Financial incentive programs to assist homeowners and businesses in energy efficiency improvements
  • Residential and commercial building energy audits
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