United Airlines Acts to Reduce Carbon Emissions In celebration of Earth Day, United-Continental does something a little...unexpected. Jun 15, 2012
Caption: United operated the first U.S. passenger biofuel flight powered with a mixture of renewable algae-derived jet fuel and conventional jet fuel. (PRNewsFoto/United Continental Holdings, Inc.)
Check out what United Airlines has done to celebrate Earth Day!! Not only are they taking the opportunity to reduce their personal carbon emissions, but they're allowing their customers the opportunity to participate as well.
Grand Old Party and the Sea What does the GOP really think about how to properly manage our oceans? May 17, 2012
An editorial in the New York Times printed on May 17th discusses the impact that House Republicans have had on U.S. policy for managing our ocean's fish populations. The result? "They don't much care..."
2012 is off to a great start for sharks in central America. The eight countries that comprise the Central American Integration System have adopted legislation that comprehensively bans finning. This is an impressive display of leadership from Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatamala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. You can read more about the details here: http://larc.iisd.org/news/central-america-and-dominican-republic-outlaw-shark-finning/
The Colorado Ocean Coalition and Teens4Oceans hosted an informatinve afternoon symposium for colorado residents as well as an evening with Sylvia Earle to bring awarnes to critical ocean issues and to educate locals on what they can do for the oceans. Notable attendees included Dr. Sylvia Earle, David Helvarg, Jim Toomey, Dan Basta, Billy Causey, Charlotte Vick and many more! All donations supported The Sylvia Earle Alliance and Teens4Oceans.
The Ocean Symposium included panel discussions, teacher workshops, children's activities, and a day of learning about ocean issues including plastics pollution, marine protected areas, sustainable seafood and watersheds.
The Ocean Celebration was an evening fundraising event for Colorado's ocean supports, headlined by Dr. Sylvia Earle.
Making Waves in Colorado was one of the biggest ocean events to hit the state in our storied history and the day turned out to be a smashing success. Hundreds of interested ocean advocates visited the public library throughout Sunday afternoon and then another 250 came to the fundraising event and live auction at the Rembrandt Yard later in the evening. Thanks to everyone who participated, donated and attended the one year anniversary of the Colorado Ocean Coalition and Making Waves in Colorado!
We regret to report that one of the most prized shark diving destinations in the world, Malpelo, Columbia, was recently targeted by ten illegal shark finning vessels, flying Costa Rican flags, who slaughtered up to 2,000 silky, hammerhead and whale sharks for their FINS so an elite few can enjoy them in soup. This is a very sad day at Ocean First Divers.
Honduras is the first country in the Americas to declare its entire exclusive economic zone as a shark sanctuary! This announcement was made on the island of Roatan, a hot spot for shark tourism, and establishes a precedent for the rest of the Americas to follow...
Ocean First Divers and Teens4Oceans successfully completed testing two camera systems on NOAA's underwater habitat. Aquarius is three miles off of Key Largo in 60 feet of water. The underwater laboratory is deployed next to deep coral reefs and its "aquanauts" explore and investigate the magical underwater world. The two camera systems should be deployed and streaming live within the next couple of weeks. Congratulations to Teens4Oceans!!
Teens4Oceans Silent Auction Louie Psihoyos and Kent Denver May 19, 2011
Thank you to Louie Psihoyos and Kent Denver for a truly amazing night! Louie's presentation captivated the hearts and minds of everyone in Anschutz. He has a natural, charismatic way of speaking and his stories of filming "The Cove" touched us all. Sofia Rainaldi opened with heartfelt remarks about Teens4Oceans and the incredible power and influence of teachers. After Louie's presentation, the gala moved to the lobby where 100 items were auctioned off, raising over $15,000 for Teens4Oceans! Thank you to everyone in attendance and for all those of you who made this event possible!
Is Diving More Eco-Friendly? Some green dive operators have succeeded, others not so much Apr 12, 2011
Three years ago, we interviewed dive operators for the story called “Calculate Your Carbon Fin-Print” (October 2007 issue). At that time, it was a rising trend for divers to determine their “carbon footprint,” and a growing number of dive operators were helping them out by taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions and paying to offset their carbon footprints. Divers who paid a “carbon tax” had their money funneled to carbon offset programs that helped fund projects geared toward reducing greenhouse gases, usually by planting trees or investing in renewable energy companies.
How have those efforts gone? Let’s just say the recession has been the biggest factor in putting green policies on the back burner. The good news is that while a reduction in air travel has reduced the amount of carbon emissions being produced in the skies, it also has put a big dent in dive travel, leading some dive operators to scale back on their green efforts. How about the ones we interviewed back in 2007 – are they still eco-friendly? We contacted them last month to find out.
The Liveaboard Fleet
Explorer Ventures, with five vessels, claimed to be the first “carbon neutral” liveaboard fleet back in 2007. CEO Clay McCardell said his staff analyzed how much carbon dioxide they emitted through boat diesel burned, utility bills, even employee commutes. Then they calculated what it would cost to offset those emissions, and paid that amount to NativeEnergy, a carbon-offset marketer that funds renewable energy projects. But due to the recession, Explorer Ventures dropped the carbon-offset policies two years ago because of economic realities (it forgot to take the details off its website, as the carbon-offsetting program is still listed on its website). “But we’re still trying to educate people on environmental policies, like consider taking expired batteries home to the States 14 versus dumping them overseas on islands where they don’t recycle them,” says McCardell. “And we do still stock eco-friendly products on board.” Even though dive operators want to be green, large vessels have a harder time, says McCardell. “There’s no affordable alternative to burning fuel, and divers expect air-conditioning, compressed air and the power to charge their electronics, so we’re limited based on what we can do.”
We had also interviewed execs at the Aggressor Fleet (they wanted to install the most fuel-efficient engines recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency) and Peter Hughes (its Papua New Guinea liveaboard was starting to run on palm oil). Since that time, the two liveaboard fleets were bought by Wayne Brown, but neither he nor Aggressor Fleet president Wayne Hasson agreed to give us an update on their green practices.
The Dive Shop
Like other green dive shops, Ocean First Divers in Boulder, CO, added a carbon calculator to its Web site so customers could see the dollar figure on carbon credits from their dive travels. Ocean First took it further by asking divers to buy credits for their emissions to fund renewable energy programs. At that time, owner Graham Casden was debating whether credits from the shop’s sponsored dive trips should be paid by customers, Ocean First, or in a 50/50 split. Now, the dive shop is not buying emission credits. “We purchased credits for our customers through 2009 and into 2010, even going as far as to offset all emissions from our dive shop operations, essentially making the business carbon neutral -- but 2008 and 2009 were horrific years for the dive industry, so we had to determine
where we felt our environmental investments would be best spent.”
In the meantime, Casden has focused on making his dive shop more eco-friendly. After getting a $150,000 loan from the City of Boulder, he recently installed a solar PV system, solar thermal system for the water supply, high efficiency boilers, a heat exchanger to circulate warm air coming off the pool back into the system to reheat the pool, eco-friendly pool lighting, and a revamp of all the duct work for improved heating and cooling.
After his cash flow improves, Casden plans to restart the carbon-offset program, and when he does, he says he’ll most likely raise the price on the dive trips by the amount Ocean First is charged for the carbon credits. “We feel strongly that our customers will gladly pay an extra $25 or so if they feel confident that the money is going to a worthy cause. It’s analogous to divers paying a park fee in order to be able to dive in a marine protected are
10 for Change Ocean First Divers recognized for energy savings in 2010 Mar 15, 2011
This was our second year in Boulder's 10 for Change program. After eclipsing a 10% reduction in emissions from 2008 to 2009, we had a much tougher hill to climb for 2010. Through awareness and education, we were still able to save 5 tons of CO2 emissions from the previous year by reducing our emissions by about 3%. We're very excited for this year, though, because we have installed over $150,000 in renewable energy retrofits that should propel us to the forefront of the 10 for Change program for 2011.
New Marine Protected Area Offers Hope for Endangered Sharks & Sea Turtles 'A Day of National Pride' for Costa Ricans Mar 4, 2011
A massive new marine protected area around Cocos Island is a beacon of hope for ocean health and human well-being in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, and will offer endangered marine species such as hammerhead sharks and leatherback turtles, as well as fish stocks that are important to local communities, the chance to recover from increasing pressures, Conservation International (CI) said today in reaction to a decree by the Costa Rican government.
The protected area, called “Seamounts Marine Management Area” (Area Marina de Manejo Montes Submarinos), extending nearly one million hectares - will be five times as large as the existing National Park around the Cocos Islands, currently a fully protected non-fishing zone covering nearly 200,000 hectares and UNESCO World Heritage Site. To put it in context, the new Seamounts Marine Management Area is larger than Yellowstone National Park in the United States, and second only to Galapagos National Park in terms of marine protected areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Located 550 km. (342 mi.) off the coast of Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean, Cocos Island is just 20 km (12 mi.) in circumference, and is often dubbed “Shark Island” for the abundance of sharks that live in its waters, including white tipped reef sharks, whale sharks, and scalloped hammerhead sharks. The waters around Cocos also support more than 30 unique, marine endemic species, which represents more than 40% of the country’s known total.
Signed by Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda in an Executive Decree on Thursday March 3, the declaration formalizes the creation of the new marine protected area surrounding Cocos Island National Park to improve the conservation of this unique oceanic island, conserve an entire marine ecosystem, and protect a group of seamounts (underwater mountains) southwest of Cocos Island.
Describing the decree as a day of national pride, Costa Rican Marine Program Coordinator for Conservation International, Marco Quesada said, “Creating a protected seamount area sets an important precedent. Sea mounts host endemic species, and the deep water that upwells along their sides brings nutrients that support rich feeding grounds for sealife on the surface. Seamounts serve as stepping stones for long-distance, migratory species, including sharks, turtles, whales and tuna. So we applaud the vision of the Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla Miranda, as well as the Minister and Vice Minister of Environment in making this historic move.“
The expanded protected area, which is likely to include both fully protected and low impact fishing zones, will encourage the sustainable management of fisheries resources and protect the scalloped hammerhead shark and the leatherback turtle, two threatened species that concentrate and feed in the new area, and two key ‘flagship’ species for the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
Leatherback turtles are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The Costa Rican population has declined by 40% in the last 8 years, and 90% in the past 20 years, due in part to the loss of eggs to illegal harvest in nesting sites. Scalloped hammerhead sharks are on the globally Endangered species list, and are often targeted by fishermen for their fins, which attract high prices primarily for the Chinese market. Both scalloped hammerhead sharks and leatherback turtles are accidentally captured in commercial fishing operations.
“This new protected area gives us a better chance to ensure that these species will thrive for future generations to marvel at for many decades to come”, said Dr. Bryan Wallace, Conservation International’s Marine Flagship Species Program Director.
Recognized as a core site within CI’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS) program since 2005, Conservation International worked with local partners for the past six years, to help make this decree a reality. In that time, CI’s local team supported Costa Rica in developing national shark and turtle strategies and the creation of new management categories including Marine Reserves and Responsible Fishing Areas, directly involving local communities in management.
“This has been a long journey,” added Quesada. “We have worked with a host of national research, conservation and fisheries organizations to determine the fairest and most environmentally responsible expansion scenarios. None of this would have been possible without the invaluable scientific and management contributions of the Cocos National Park Administration, the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Marine Investigations, Pretoma, Marviva, Forever Costa Rica and, above all, the leadership of President
Boulder Bike Friendly Business Ocean First Divers wins designation for 2011 Jan 24, 2011
Community Cycles and GO Boulder have named 41 Boulder businesses “bike friendly,” based on the results of a survey ranking businesses’ efforts to make biking a feasible option for customers and employees.
The Boulder Bike Friendly Business program was developed by Community Cycles with support from GO Boulder. Both organizations share a desire to increase the viability of bicycle commuting and hope the BBFB program encourages more businesses to accommodate riders with amenities like parking, changing facilities and a bike-friendly business culture.
Businesses receive a score out of 100 total points and are then divided into four score levels. Scoring is based on categories such as bike parking and other amenities, programs and policies related to biking, and community involvement.
Those named bike-friendly receive a certificate and a Boulder Bike Friendly Business sticker. Businesses are also featured on the Community Cycles and GO Boulder websites and e-newsletters.
It is with great honor that we announce the passing of the Shark Conservation Act!! Shark finning is now ILLEGAL in the United States!!! This is a milestone in shark conservation and an issue that Ocean First Divers has been vehemently pushing for years. OFD owner Graham Casden recently spent one week in Washington D.C. with the PEW Environmental Group lobbying for the Shark Conservation Act and their efforts, along with thousands of advocates nationwide, have finally come to fruition. On behalf of sharks across the globe, we thank you!!!
Ocean First Divers and Teens4Oceans recently completed a survey of NOAA's Aquarius facility in the Florida Keys with the aspirations of returning in April to install an underwater science node. Check out the video from the survey!
Palau Shark Sanctuary was founded in 2001 in an effort to end the annihilation of Palau's sharks as a result of rampant shark-finning at the hands of foreign long-line fishing vessels licensed by Palau to fish in their waters. Palau Shark Sanctuary seeks a declaration by Palau establishing the waters of Palau's Exclusive Economic Zone as a sanctuary for all sharks.
Aurora Reservoir Beach Cleanup Join Ocean First Divers for a beach cleanup at Aurora Reservoir! Jun 18, 2010
Aurora Reservoir Beach Clean Up!July 10 from 8am - 2pm
Join the Ocean First Divers crew at Aurora Reservoir on Saturday, July 10 as we do our part to spruce up the diving area. OFD has joined forces with several other Colorado dive centers to clean up the beach area and we need your help! Divers must be at least 18 years old. Lunch will be provided for all participants.
Information meeting July 8 at 5:30pm
Please register for this event by sending an Email to: info@oceanfirstdivers com
or call 303.444.7234
Equipment Rental Prices (special price for this event only)
2 tanks, weights, weight belt, 7mm full wetsuit, BCD & regulator: $38 plus tax
2 tanks, weights, weight belt & 7mm full wetsuit: $20 plus tax
2 tanks, weights & weight belt: $10 plus tax
Please indicate what equipment you will need when you register for this event.
Stop Shark Fishing in Raja Ampat! Shark Savers has established a petition to stop shark fishing in Raja Ampat. Jun 18, 2010
Raja Ampat, in Eastern Indonesia, is the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle that boasts the greatest concentration of coral and fish species on earth. In May 2007, the Raja Ampat government declared seven Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect these important ecosystems, together with the effort of The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, and WWF Indonesia.
The Raja Ampat MPAs cover almost 3,474 square miles of coral reefs and mangroves. Perhaps 20% of that area comprises ‘No-Take’ Zones where fishing is prohibited. A new Marine Conservation Area has also been established in the Misool region of Raja Ampat by Misool Eco Resort (MER). Its entire 174 square miles is a No-Take Zone and a shark sanctuary that is constantly patrolled with the help of grants from WildAid and the Coral Reef Alliance. Within just two years of establishment, shark numbers have increased dramatically and sharks are already returning to, growing, and mating in this small shark sanctuary!
Based on initial discussions with the Fisheries and Tourism Departments in Raja Ampat by MER, it is a real possibility that we can help establish a shark sanctuary in Raja Ampat to cover all of the 40,000 square miles, providing legal protection to all shark, manta, and mobula species.
Shark Savers is supporting the effort with this petition. The Raja Ampat Fisheries and Tourism Departments needs to hear that there is great international interest in prohibiting shark fishing—especially among the eco-tourists and divers who are attracted to sharks.
Please sign the petition calling for a shark sanctuary throughout Raja Ampat!
Click HERE to proceed to the petition! Thank you for helping!
2009 Environmental Achievement Award Global Dive Operators Receive Environmental Honors Jan 1, 2010
Project AWARE Foundation honors dive operators around the world who display commitment and excellence in their efforts to protect underwater environments within business operations and their community.
"The Environment Achievement Award is about rewarding vision, excellence and pursuit of conservation. More importantly, this award ensures the enjoyment of underwater environments for future generations," states Dr. Drew Richardson, Chairman, Project AWARE Foundation.
2009 recipients operate in an environmentally responsible manner, take part in protection of local ecosystems and demonstrate an outstanding commitment to underwater conservation in three primary areas; education, advocacy and action.
Buy a billboard in China and strike a blow against shark fin soup A $100 donation sponsors a billboard against finning Dec 17, 2009
Demand for shark fin soup in Asia is the number one reason why shark populations are plummeting throughout the world.
Now you can take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to make a direct impact in the fight to save sharks.
Shark Savers and WildAid are collaborating on a multi-media campaign in China targeting the consumers of shark fin soup.
Last year's billboard in Beijing featuring Yao Ming
You have a rare opportunity to make a difference.
For $100 you can fund a "Say 'no' to shark fin soup" bus stop billboardfeaturing basketball star Yao Ming,
one of China's most popular and influential citizens. This price includes production, installation, maintenance, and lighting for a full year. These ads are large, most are lighted, and they will be placed in many high-traffic locations in Beijing and Shanghai at eye-level.
Last year, WildAid had 200 billboards in Beijing for 3 months. In a survey, 19% of Beijingers responding remembered having seen the boards and 82% of those people said they would stop or reduce their consumption of shark fin soup. Imagine the power of 1000 billboards for an entire year. This campaign works and your billboard will have an impact!
Another view of last year's billboard in Beijing
The billboards are part of our broader shark fin soup campaign in China and will reinforce the message of television public service announcements, also featuring Yao Ming. They will direct viewers to the web site where they will learn about the environmental and health dangers of shark fin soup. At the web site, they will be invited to take a pledge promising to halt their own consumption, and be able to access campaign materials directed at restaurants, businesses, and those planning weddings.
Time is running out for sharks. Let's stop the problem at its source. Join Sharks Savers and WildAid in a proven campaign that truly motivates people to stop eating shark fin soup.
Take action now. Your billboard will make sure the citizens of Beijing and Shanghai see this important message every day.
Together we will make a difference. Thank you for your support.
The Boulder Public Library will begin offering Kill-A-Watt meters for check-out to patrons on Tuesday, December 15. The program, called "Power Check", is a collaboration with Xcel Energy and the joint City and County ClimateSmart program. Power Check encourages residents to use the meters in their homes and learn how much energy appliances and devices consume. The meters include instructions for use.
The Kill-A-Watt meters will be available at the Main Boulder Public Library, as well as the Meadows and Reynolds branches. The meters check out for three weeks and must be picked up at the front desks. The meters can be placed on hold in the library system using a library card. Users may search for the meters with "Power Check" in the library catalog.
"The Power Check program is one more clear way that your public library provides sensible resources for residents' everyday lives," says Library Director Tony Tallent. "Through this program, we're building a new partnership with Xcel Energy and ClimateSmart, as well as helping our community members understand more about their own household energy use, and for the library patron, it's as easy as checking out a book!"
The End of the Line How Overfishing is Changing the World and What We Eat Nov 19, 2009
"Imagine what people would say if a band of hunters strung a mile of net between two immense all-terrain vehicles and dragged it at speed across the plains of Africa.... left behind is a strangely bedraggled landscape resembling a harrowed field... this efficient but highly unselective way of killing animals is known as trawling... it is practiced the world over every day, from the Barents Sea in the Arctic to the shores of Antarctica and from the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the central Pacific to the temperate waters off Cape Cod."
As the world's fishing grounds reach the point of exhaustion, it becomes more and more important to consider what our actions are on the next seven generations. Depleting all the fish in the sea could result in a hunger epidemic unlike anything the world has ever seen. Do your part to promote sustainable fishing and choose your meals conscientiously.
10 for Change OFD recognized as one of the best performers in the 10 for Change program. Nov 17, 2009
An excerpt from Sacha Greene's 10 for Change statement...
"We are new to the program and I have yet to get as involved as I’d like to be. At Ocean First Divers, environmental responsibility is built into our business model. We consider our impact on the environment with each action that we take and we have adopted a sustainability initiative to help us focus on progress. The “Ten for Change” program is a great tool to help motivate us and to help us track our progress.
We began by scheduling an energy audit through Xcel’s energy assessment program. This audit allowed us to identify the low hanging fruit and provided us a starting point. The first step was to start shutting down our computers every night rather than just shutting off the monitors. We also implement a zero waste program, we now keep enough refuse out of the landfill to cover a football field each and every year. Next we installed low flow aerators into all of our faucets and shower heads along with tank blocks in the toilet tanks to reduce our water use. This was a very simple task that involved one trip to McGuckin’s and an hour of work. We then had motion sensors installed into all of the commonly used areas (bathrooms, break room, storage rooms, etc.) to reduce our electricity usage, and then continued that effort with a full lighting retrofit.
With lighting retrofit alone we’ve saved:
— 3390 kWh over the lifetime of the 68 bulbs replaced
— $7,116 total savings
— 6475lbs of carbon offset
— 14 trees planted
— 5763 gal. of river H2O kept free from mercury poisoning
We’ve been working extensively with Standard Renewable Energy who’ve been instrumental in helping us create a short and long term plan for greening our facility. We contracted them to tune our HVAC units quarterly and to install hail guards to ensure that they run as efficiently as possible. They also helped us program our thermostats so that we’re not heating or cooling our building when no one is there!
Our next step is to take advantage of the county’s ClimateSmart loan program. We have big plans in store to get our facility as off the grid as possible! Our key to success/improvement thus far is always to have the next few steps planned out and to look at the footprint of everything new (and old) that we do. We are very lucky to have a small and incredibly cooperative staff who are all fully committed to our sustainability plan. Without their full involvement we could never achieve our goals.
We also have committed to offsetting the remainder of our carbon footprint, including all of the trips that we lead, through forestry and carbon credits done by Sustainable Travel International. This commitment not only allows us to invest in new, greener technologies but also helps us quantify our impact. Having the dollar numbers in our faces each month helps to keep our impact on the front burner and awareness alone helps us cut back."
On Tuesday, the opening day of dolphin-hunting season, marine mammal specialist Ric O'Barry (right) and his son Lincoln stand near a cove where fishermen often kill dolphins in Taiji, Japan.
This week marked the opening of dolphin hunting season in Japan. During the six-month season, thousands of dolphins are corralled into narrow coves and captured for sale to aquariums or amusement parks. Those not captured are killed for meat. But this year, something different happened.
After Taiji's annual dolphin hunt was covertly filmed for a documentary, the little fishing village has suddenly found itself at the uncomfortable center of a media spotlight.
Police and fishermen in Taiji don't allow filming of the hunt, part of the villagers' everyday lives. But a team of activists and filmmakers went undercover to shoot the footage, telling their story in the 2009 documentary, The Cove.
Since its release, the documentary — which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival — has spurred an international outcry. In one case, Taiji's sister city — Broome in Western Australia — suspended its relationship with Taiji for as long as dolphins continue to be killed.
This week, activist and Cove star Ric O'Barry went back to Taiji for opening day of dolphin season. He was accompanied by a group of international journalists.
But this time, he didn't see any dolphins being killed. He didn't even see fishermen on the water.
That day, he blogged, "Today is a good day for dolphins."
While he's optimistic, O'Barry tells Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz that he isn't sure how long this will last.
The hunters are trying to figure out what to do, he says. They're thinking, " 'Should we go out? Should we be exposed? The world is watching.' And so far, they haven't killed any dolphins."
"I'm hoping it's over," O'Barry says, "that they'll just give up and stop killing dolphins." But he concedes that the future is cloudy. "We don't know what's going to happen. It's a day-by-day thing here. We just don't know."
The Cove is currently playing at the Starz Film Center in Denver until September 17. Click here for more information and movie times.
$3.2 Billion in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements
Mar 26, 2009
Recovery Act Announcement: Obama Administration Announces $3.2 Billion in Funding for Local Energy Efficiency Improvements
March 26, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden and Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced plans to invest $3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects in U.S. cities, counties, states, territories, and Native American tribes. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, funded by President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions, and improve energy efficiency nationwide.
The funding will support energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits in residential and commercial buildings, the development and implementation of advanced building codes and inspections, and the creation of financial incentive programs for energy efficiency improvements. Other activities eligible for use of grant funds include transportation programs that conserve energy, projects to reduce and capture greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy installations on government buildings, energy efficient traffic signals and street lights, deployment of Combined Heat and Power and district heating and cooling systems, and others.
To ensure accountability, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will require grant recipients to report on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed, greenhouse gas emissions reduced, and funds leveraged. Funding is based on a formula that accounts for population and energy use.
Cities and counties will receive nearly $1.9 billion under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, and states and territories will receive nearly $770 million. States will receive and administer funds for those counties and cities that are not large enough to qualify for direct DOE funding. More than $54 million will flow directly to Tribal governments.
Up to $456 million of this funding is planned to be made available under a separate competitive solicitation for local energy efficiency projects. That solicitation will be released at a later date.
Today’s announcement is in addition to DOE’s recent release of nearly $8 billion to support weatherization and state energy projects.
Following today's announcement at the White House, Secretary Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are visiting the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Workers at the facility are being trained for the kinds of "green jobs" that the city and county are investing in—ranging from construction and facility upgrades of green buildings to installation of energy efficient street lights to building energy audits. Secretaries Chu and Solis will highlight the city and county efforts as a model for other communities and an example of how this funding can create local jobs and save energy.