Local Government Toolkit: General Resources
The City Efficiency Toolkit is the aggregation of resources organized to support the success of strategic energy management in local governments in Texas and Oklahoma. Other resources libraries, including the Department of Energy’s State and Local Solution Center and the City Energy Project similarly consolidate resources for local governments across the U.S. Texas’ State Energy Conservation Office offers local governments an array of educational and technical resources to support energy management on the ground.
State Energy Conservation Office Local Government Energy Program
The State Energy Conservation Office operates a number of outreach, educational, technical assistance, and financing programs to support Texas local government’s energy-saving efforts.
City Efficiency Leadership Council
The City Efficiency Leadership Council (CELC) is a collaborative network of Texas cities, school districts, and other government entities engaged in partnership and resource exchange in an effort to expand the adoption of energy management best practices in the public sector. CELC engages local governments through regional roundtable luncheons, webinars, city best practices case studies, local government energy reporting assistance, portfolio baselining and benchmarking, technical support and this city efficiency toolkit.
Remote Energy Assessments
Remote assessments use software-based data analytics to evaluate daily, monthly or interval electricity use data to monitor energy-saving opportunities. These assessments are provided at no cost to selected public entities to help reduce energy bills, freeing up operating dollars for other needs, improving the usability and comfort of facilities.
Preliminary Energy Assessments
SECO’s network of professional engineering firms provide Preliminary Energy Assessments that include the following elements:
- Analysis of utility bills and other building information to determine facilities’ energy and cost utilization indices
- Recommended maintenance procedures and capital energy retrofits
- Design and monitoring of customized procedures to control run times of energy-consuming systems
- Informal, on-site training for building operators and maintenance staff
- Follow-up visits to assist with implementation of recommendations and determine associated project savings
- Development of an overall energy management policy
- Assistance with development of guidelines for efficiency levels of future equipment purchases
- Facility benchmarking using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
Technical Assistance for Local Governments
SECO’s engineering firms provide a broad spectrum of customized, on-site, energy-related services ranging from basic consultations to feasibility studies free of charge to local governments.
LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program
In Texas, the LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program offers cities and other public sector entities low-interest financing for energy and water efficiency upgrades as well as energy services performance contracting (ESPC) for their facilities. Learn more in the City Project Financing module.
Local Government Energy Reporting
Texas Health and Safety Code §388.05 requires political subdivisions, including cities, counties, water districts and other local government entities, in 41 non-attainment or nearing non-attainment counties to develop plans to reduce energy use and report progress to SECO each year. SPEER and the North Central Texas Council of Governments offer support and education for reporting entities.
Department of Energy State and Local Solution Center
The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has organized it’s wealth of resources for local governments in the State and Local Solution Center. The resources are designed to facilitate strategic investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies through the use of innovative practices.
Resources are divided into four primary phases of energy management:
- Develop an Energy Plan: Resources for developing long-term energy plans as the foundation for improving energy performance including the Guide to Community Energy Strategic Planning. Also, see Energy and Water Policies module
- Design and Implement Energy Programs: Resources for development of energy programs for both internal city operations and community wide initiatives
- Pay for Energy Initiatives: Financing can be challenging to navigate and different mechanisms are appropriate for public and private projects. Also see City Project Financing module
- Access and Use Energy Data: Data driven strategic energy management can help local governments optimize energy management and operate as efficiently as possible. Also see Energy Benchmarking
City Energy Project Resource Library
The City Energy Project was a joint project of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Institute for Market Transformation to bring together 20 cities counties across the U.S. to create and implement customized, effective energy efficiency policies and programs. Their best practices and resources have been consolidated into the City Energy Project Resource Library.
Similar to the State and Local Solution Center, the City Energy Project Resource Library is organized by phases of an energy management program including Understanding Building Energy Use, Prioritize Policies and Programs, Reach Community Stakeholders, and Communicate Progress and Results.
Through these resources available on national, state, and local levels to offer energy efficiency best practices and solutions, cities and municipalities can get a good sense of the ways they can work towards reducing overall energy use and pinpoint pathways to achieve energy efficiency. For additional information on more specific questions, check out the various modules included in this toolkit. Feel free to reach out to SPEER’s Local Government Program Manager, Cassidy Ellis, for any further questions or assistance at email@example.com.