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The 2009 Federal Stimulus Legislation (ARRA - American Reinvestment and Recovery Act), proposed federal energy & climate legislation, along with recently implemented Massachusetts legislative initiatives, including especially the Green Communities Act, collectively afford significant opportunities for funding sustainability projects in the community. Many funding opportunities, especially the larger ones, must be sought and implemented by the municipality (and/or the schools), but some may be available for community-based groups.

Identifying and tracking these opportunities is one challenge. Another is marshalling the resources to apply for them, especially as many are appearing with short windows for application and there are no resources in the community dedicated to pursuing them. The people most able to match up opportunities with projects and apply for them are already overextended.

To the extent that promising opportunities can be identified and surfaced, we can leverage the time of the professionals who will have to reply to them. Further, identifying enough promising opportunities that we are not able to pursue may help justify adding resources for that purpose - especially over the next one to two years, when so much stimulus money will be available.

There are also funding opportunities that may available to Green Needham and Green Needham projects directly that could be applied for through the Green Needham Foundation.

May, 2010 - We should probably create a separate page for funding opportunities for Green Needham.

NStar Community Outreach Grant

Applying February 2011

Lead vendor is CSG. They provide a toll-free number for the program so we can track participation.

Lead Times:

  • Increase as heating season progresses
  • Can be 6-8 weeks if need specific times (e.g. Saturday)
  • If flexible, can be very short window
  • Will provide training to Towns
  • Will provide reports back to Towns (starting this month)
  • Includes who got audits, CFLs installed, proposals for air sealing and/or insulation
  • Will provide guidance on heating equipment replacement and report that back
  • Do track installation of high efficiency heating equipment
  • Plan to keep running totals, then provide a monthly report

Get addresses from the database

  • Can get blower door test - multiple triggers? (About 30% of households)
  • Air sealing - up to $600 free
  • Up to $2,000 for insulation

How the grant part works

  • Use a standard algorithm
  • Based on historic MassSave costs to acquire audit customers and move through system
  • Includes population as well as physical size

Leveled grant

  • Level 1 - $2,862 - up front
  • Level 2 - 6 heating system upgrades
  • Level 3 - 11 heating system upgrades
  • Total incentive package just under $11,000
  • Three levels
  • Based on kilowatts & therms saved
  • Measure CFL's installed, air sealing & insulation, heating systems
  • Level II and III payments - not set in stone, use all measures

Also have bonus levels -

  • 10% above kW & therm savings - 10% additional dollars

Extension of their marketing budget...


  • Now up and running, so faster
  • Jan reviews application - about a week or so
  • If approved, procurement group would provide a contract
  • Customer privacy issues....around data they provide
  • Send letter requesting first payment
  • Decide on mutually agreeable date for training - 2 1/2 to 3 hours
  • Binder for each member of group 1-4 units, multi-family units
  • Will print brochures
  • Monthly updates
  • Will want to review any materials we produce for co-branding
  • One year pilot
  • Will have to check


  • Do it now - do it when waits are short

Will be submitting shortly.

Alliance for Climate Education

There may be an opportunity in their School Grants category for what we want to do with the wind study. We are working with a professional on the wind feasibility study who would be interested in doing the formal wind study as a collaborative effort with students. This could be a great follow-on to the NEF-funded work with the data gathering and analysis.

I have discussed this with Sue Boniauto at NPS and others.

Rouwenna Lamm is one of the three New England ACE staff members. She will be speaking at the MCAN Steering Committee meeting on May 25th in Cambridge.


This organization is sponsoring a contest to recognize "changemakers" - people who implement new and creative solutions in their communities to drive change.

  • Wendy Surr worked with Michael & Eleanor to submit us for this award

  • Must submit by April 21, 2010
  • Online entry and feedback
  • 3 online winners - $5,000
  • 1 state winner from each of 7 states $5,000

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund has a yearly small grant program (Deadline is September 15th) that supports small groups that are working on community level issues. The grants range from $500 to $2,500. I think we could be well positioned for this program.

EPA Environmental Education Grant Program

This program looked like a fit for Needham when I came across it in mid-November. In a great example of how the Green Needham collaborative model works, we were able to put together a team of people from the schools (Sue Bonaiuto and Mary Rizzuto) and the Needham Community Farm (Debbie Schmill and Elise Coughlin). They were able to pull a proposal together for an program that would provide professional development to elementary teachers over two years to incorporate environmental education into the Needham elementary schools science curriculum.

  • April 2010 - Needham is a finalist for this grant.

Program Announcement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting grant applications for a total of $3.4 million in funding for environmental education projects and programs. EPA expects to award approximately 100 grants ranging from $5,000 to $200,000 and will accept applications until December 15, 2009.

The purpose of the EPA Environmental Education Grant Program is to promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers and citizens. The grants provide financial support for innovative projects that design, demonstrate, or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Projects should involve environmental education activities that go beyond disseminating information.

The Environmental Education Grant Program provides funding to local education agencies, state education or environmental agencies, colleges or universities, not-for-profit organizations, or noncommercial educational broadcasting entities. Tribal education agencies, which are controlled by an Indian tribe, band or nation, may also apply, including a school or community college.

Since the program began, EPA has provided more than $45 million in funding to more than 3,000 agencies and organizations.

EPA Office of Environmental Justice Small Grants Program 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting grant applications for a total of $1 million in funding for projects aimed at addressing environmental and public health issues in communities. EPA expects to award approximately 40 grants of up to $25,000 each and will accept applications until January 8, 2010. Local governments and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. (According to MCAN about 1/3 of applications were awarded grants last year.)

The goals of the Environmental Justice Grant Funding Program are to help communities understand and address environmental challenges and create self-sustaining, community-based partnerships focused on improving human health and the environment. Past projects have focused on issues including exposure to toxins, farm worker pesticide protection, mercury in fish, indoor air quality, drinking water contamination, and pollution from shipping ports.

In addition to the traditional criteria, EPA is encouraging applications that address the disproportionate impacts of climate change in communities by emphasizing climate equity, energy efficiency, renewable energy, local green economy, and green jobs capacity building.

Application and further information available here.

EECBG Program 2009

Sept 24, 2009 - The US DoE has announced that Massachusetts was one of nine states that received approval for their proposed programs under the EECBG grant. From the DoE Announcement:

Massachusetts will use its Recovery Act EECBG funds to advance efficiency and conservation goals at the community level. To maximize the overall return on these investments, the commonwealth will leverage private capital and expertise from local and non-local partners. The majority of Massachusetts' EECBG allocation, administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), will be passed along to cities and counties with populations less than 35,000. DOER estimates that, given the amount of funding available and the maximum grant award amount of $150,000, more than 80 communities will receive funding under this competitive subgrant program.

This award also includes the funding to meet two other commitments DoER announced earlier:

  • Making the Energy Information Reporting System developed by the state available to all 351 cities and towns
  • Providing training on the stretch energy code for local building inspectors

July, 2009 - The DoER is awaiting approval from the US DoE for its proposal for competitive sub-grants to communities of less than 35,000 population under the Federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

Sept 15., 2009 - The DoER has provided a draft application for the EECBG program so that municipalities can be prepared to submit once the program is approved at the federal level.

General guidelines:

  • All projects must be on, or service municipal buildings, including schools
  • Maximum grant to any community will be $150,000
  • Matching funds not required, but desirable
  • Projects may not already be under construction, but must be "shovel-ready" (provide plans in grant application, near-term construction)
  • Eligble projects:
  • Solar PV
  • Other renewables - CHP (Combined Heat & Power), Biomass thermal, solar thermal, geothermal
  • Energy Efficiency Measures in oil (or propane) heated buildings
  • Performance Contract Buydown (make an ESCo performance contract more financially attractive)

For Needham, energy efficiency measures in oil heated buildings is likely to be the most achievable area in the near term, though it is conceivable that a Solar PV project could be developed.

EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grant

  • Purpose: Replicable models of sustainable community action that generate cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions while improving the environmental, economic, public health, or social conditions in a community.
  • How much: $100,000 - $500,000 per grant (requires 50% cost sharing)
  • For: Municipalities, Schools
  • Dates: Submissions due July 22, 2009

This grant could leverage projects already under consideration or planning in Needham, reducing the cost to the community.

From the EPA Guidelines (areas of most likely near-term applicability for Needham highlighted):

Proposed activities must achieve reductions in GHG emissions by addressing one or more of the following priority areas:

  • energy performance in municipal operations (including municipal energy, water, and wastewater utilities)
  • energy performance in residential, commercial, agricultural, aqua-cultural, and/or industrial buildings
  • land use, transportation, or community master planning
  • reduction of vehicle miles traveled
  • solid waste management
  • agricultural, aqua-cultural, and natural resource management
  • use or supply of green power products, on-site renewables, and other clean energy supply options
  • heat island management
  • removal of barriers for greenhouse gas management, through the development of effective programs, policies, or outreach
  • other innovative activities which generate measurable reductions of greenhouse gases

In addition, applications submitted for consideration should:

  1. achieve ongoing GHG reductions
  2. build capacity within local and tribal agencies to address greenhouse gas emissions
  3. build and leverage partnerships across multiple stakeholder groups;
  4. link climate change initiatives with broader environmental, economic, health, and social co-benefits;
  5. link funded activities to broader climate management; and
  6. create models of success that are broadly replicable.

Sources: EPA Climate Showcase Communities Grant] web page