Category: DOE

Rethink Real Estate: Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds


The Parker Ranch installation in Hawaii. Photo by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Earlier this month, Smart Growth America released Federal Involvement in Real Estate, a survey of over 50 federal programs that influence real estate in some way. This post is the second in a series taking a closer look at some of the programs included in that survey. Today’s post is about Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds .

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) give state and local governments a low-cost financing option to encourage energy conservation.

Funding from the program has been used to retrofit public buildings, to power buildings with renewable energy, and to improve public transit infrastructure. Authorized by Congress as part of the 2008 Energy Improvement and Extension Act, the original legislation allocated $800 million in federal funding to the effort and has since been increased to $3.2 billion as a result of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As of July 2012, about $760 million in allocated funding had been spent. Because QECBs do not have to be spent within a certain time period, a great deal remains untapped.

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Building a modern streetcar and a stronger downtown in Tucson, AZ

What do Tucson, Seattle, Washington DC, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Sacramento, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Providence have in common? They are just a few of up to 40 communities across the country currently planning or building streetcar lines connecting neighborhoods to their downtowns.

Tuscon is the latest city to jump on the streetcar bandwagon. The city’s 3.9 mile, 196.6 million Sun Link streetcar project broke ground earlier this week, and once complete will offer direct, high-capacity transit connections between downtown Tucson, the University of Arizona and the Arizona Health Sciences Center. The project stems from a community partnership of diverse stakeholders, including Arizona’s Congressional delegation, the state’s Regional Transportation Authority, the University of Arizona, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, the city’s business community and neighborhood advocates who all worked together to make the streetcar project a reality.

Support for the project comes from a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). TIGER grants are part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between DOT, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development which coordinates federal housing, transportation, water, and other infrastructure investments to make neighborhoods more prosperous, allow people to live closer to jobs, save households time and money and reduce pollution.

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Webinar: Community Renewables: Wind, Solar, and Model Program Rules

From EPA:

Sponsored by DOE’s Technical Assistance Program for state and local officials, this webinar will feature presentations on community renewable programs, with a focus on wind projects, and how these can be models for communities interested in owning and developing wind projects to provide locally produced clean energy.

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Webinar: Achieving Greater Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings

From EPA:

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Technical Assistance Program for state and local officials, this webinar shares strategies to put existing public buildings on the path to becoming high-performance buildings. The webinar will give an overview of a new guide being developed by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP) and regional stakeholders filled with low- to no-cost strategies to reduce energy and water consumption, maintain renewable energy systems, commission your existing buildings, select environmentally friendly materials, and more.

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