City of Forest Park Passes Resolution to Support Residential Home Energy Improvements

On February 21, the Forest Park City Council passed the Residential Energy Efficiency Program Resolution to provide a unique opportunity for Forest Park residents to benefit from home energy savings through energy efficiency investments.

Chuck Johnson, Forest Park City Mayor, highlighted the value of the efficiency program for Forest park residents explaining that, “The City is very fortunate to be able to partner with the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance.  The combination of their resources with those from our Environmental Awareness Program will allow our residents to identify and make energy efficiency improvements to their homes which will benefit them for many years.  Participants in the program will enjoy greater comfort while reducing their energy costs.”

The Energy Alliance and the Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program have developed a partnership that will subsidize both home energy assessments and energy improvement projects.  Forest Park residents who participate in this program will only have to contribute $50 for a comprehensive home energy assessment ($500 value) to discover energy saving opportunities such as sealing air leaks, insulating wall space and attics, and analyzing the efficiency & safety of a home’s furnace and other combustion systems.

Based on recommendations from the professional home energy assessment, Forest Park residents can then choose to go to the next step of making some or all of the recommended energy incentive improvements.  To help with the improvement costs, the Energy Alliance will provide a 35% incentive for the recommended home energy improvements. In addition, qualifying Forest Park homeowners will also receive an additional 15% incentive from the Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program, totaling up to 50% in incentives for home energy improvements.  Residents are encouraged to sign up early, as the Energy Alliance $50 home energy assessment and 35% home energy improvement incentive is a limited time offer.

The Energy Alliance makes it easy and affordable for residents and nonprofits to invest in energy efficiency improvements to their buildings.  The Energy Alliance helps building owners connect with contractors to assess energy saving opportunities, access Energy Alliance and other related financial incentives, and assist in the quality implementation of building improvement projects. Hamilton County was one of seven local governments that has funding through the federally funded Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block grant to support residential and nonprofit energy efficiency projects in the region.  Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune noted that, “hundreds of energy assessments and over 50 home energy improvement projects have already been completed in our county, saving our residents money while improving the comfort and safety of their homes.  We believe that this partnership with Forest Park will contribute to significant growth of the program.”

Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, is excited by the opportunity to extend its partnership within Hamilton County by working with the City of Forest Park, to provide an added value to residents through offering an additional 15% incentive for home efficiency improvements.  Mr. Holzhauser recognized the efforts of Wright Gwyn sharing that, “he spearheaded this project from the beginning and approached the Energy Alliance with enthusiasm to help the community both improve their environment and save money at home”.

Wright Gwyn, Program Manager of the Forest park Environmental Awareness Program notes that residents are already signing up for the home energy assessment program and adds that, “if any Forest Park resident ever considered making home energy improvements, now may be the time”.  Sally Huffman, a Forest Park resident, was very pleased with her energy assessment, sharing that her contractor was very thorough in her inspection. Sally related that her contractor “checked the attic, doors, windows, furnace, water heater, air conditioner, garage and basement. She [Energy Alliance contractor] also blew air through the house to further determine where the leaks were.”  The Residential Energy Efficiency Program helped Sally invest in her home by taking advantage of the financial incentives provided by the Energy Alliance and the City of Forest Park Environmental Awareness Program.

Forest Park residents can learn more about the program and also sign up for a home energy assessment at the Forest Park Environmental website at http://www.forestpark.org/environmental. Residents are encouraged to register and schedule a home energy assessment as soon as they can.  Forest Park’s funding for the additional 15% incentive is anticipated to only be able to assist up to 50 to 75 homes.  Residents are also encouraged to attend an organizational and informational Meeting at the on March 22nd at 6:30 PM to learn more about the program and services available through the Energy Alliance.

For more information contact: Lilah Glick, Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Marketing and Community Outreach Director at .

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities reduce their energy costs.   GCEA was launched in January 2009, providing education, expertise, and innovative financing to  help Greater Cincinnati become more energy efficient, saving money for residents while creating local jobs throughout our community.

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Focus the Nation

Energy Alliance Presents at Focus the Nation

On February 22nd, the Energy Alliance participated in a Focus the Nation teach-in at Miami University, a nation-wide effort committed to youth involvement in America’s transition towards a clean energy economy.Focus the Nation helps student leaders and volunteers build Clean Energy Forums on their college campuses that cross pollinate academic disciplines and engage elected leaders, business leaders, and other leaders from the surrounding community.

Lilah Glick, Marketing and Community Outreach Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance presented, “Bringing Energy Efficiency Home and Beyond”, sharing the barriers and opportunities to investing in energy efficiency. Ms. Glick highlighted the importance of energy efficiency in helping households save energy and money noting that, “for every dollar invested, energy efficiency provides a savings of four dollars on average.”

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with Scot Thrapp from the Ohio Department of Development Energy Division, Steve Melink from Melink Corporation, Greig Rutherford from the Oxford City Council, and Ralph Dull a local farmer who has invested in renewable energy on the Dull Homestead Farm. The panel discussion highlighted energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions through both private and public initiatives.

Mr. Rutherford described his “Edge of the Woods” project which is a single family residence with the goal to be “off the grid” and use renewable energy sources and sustainable materials. Mr. Thrapp discussed how to find available grants and rebates for financing energy improvements at DSIRE USA (www.dsireusa.org) or Energize Ohio (www.energizeohio.osu.edu). Steve Melink described how cost is the major hurdle in investing in renewable energy technologies and that it is important to invest in energy efficient improvements before investing in renewable energy. Mr. Melink emphasized that, “it is important to look at energy improvements as a whole system by combining energy efficiency with renewable energy to maximize the combined rate of return”.

Jenna Dolhi, the Miami University student organizer for Focus the Nation said she “came away with a lot of good ideas to start an action plan on campus over the remainder of the term.” Focus the Nation offers youth driven initiatives including their Civic Engagement program and the Focus Roots Fellowship program. Their programs helps to educate thousands of young people in their communities and gives them the tools to help support clean energy projects.

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Mount Washington United Methodist is the First to Complete Energy Alliance Nonprofit Program

December 15, 2010- Today, the Mt. Washington United Methodist Church (UMC) became the first nonprofit to complete the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) efficiency program, benefiting from GCEA’s building assessment expertise and receiving a $21,200 dollar grant toward the $40,200 total improvement project.  In March of this year, Mt. Washington UMC received a call from the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church about the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance nonprofit program.  At the time, GCEA was participating in the Mt. Washington Neighborhood Enhancement Program, in partnership with the City of Cincinnati, and after attending a presentation on March 23rd at McNicholas High School, Mt. Washington UMC signed up when it learned about the new energy saving opportunity available through GCEA.

The Energy Assessment

The first step to becoming energy efficient is learning about the performance and energy consumption of a building.  Reverend Rick Riggs, Pastor of Mt. Washington UMC, had an energy assessment with a GCEA approved contractor, Monroe Mechanical, which analyzed energy saving opportunities including lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment.   In addition to performing a building energy assessment, GCEA’s contractor completed an analysis of energy use over the last three years and found that the forty five year-old Mt. Washington UMC building had numerous energy saving opportunities.

“Because of this grant we will be able to use money that would have gone to our utility bills to instead go to ministry to make a positive difference for Christ in people’s lives.” – Pastor Riggs

With an investment of $40,200 dollars, Mt. Washington UMC could reduce its annual lighting electricity use by 35%, heating use by 25%, and cooling use by 25%.  In five years, the combined investment from the Ohio River Valley District of the United Methodist Church and GCEA is expected to be paid off, and Mt. Washington UMC will save an average of $8,000 per year over the life of the installed equipment.

Good Stewards

Mt. Washington UMC’s efficiency project initially stalled because it lacked the capital for the remaining project balance.  But the church’s luck changed when Pastor Riggs received an email from Galen Mills, a member of the Missions Foundation of the Ohio River Valley District of the United Methodist Church.  “Like a gift from God”, explained Pastor Riggs in regards to the donation offered by the Ohio River Valley District of the United Methodist Church, which provides grant money for churches to do various projects.  Galen Mills shared his enthusiasm for the project remarking that, “God expects all of us to be good stewards of what He has provided. We are very grateful the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance made it possible for the Missions Foundation to partner with them and the Mt. Washington United Methodist Church to bring about permanent reductions in energy consumption and energy costs.”

The Installation

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance brought in Monroe Mechanical to install 125 light fixtures with t-8 fluorescents, replace a twelve year old boiler with a 96% efficient boiler, and exchange outdated air conditioner equipment. Mt. Washington UMC also had incurred expenses in 2010 including the need to replace its roof, change half of the building’s boiler heating piping, install a new A/C unit, a hot water heater, and repair a furnace.  The savings from the energy efficiency improvements will also benefit UMC by helping to offset these unexpected expenses.

Partnerships for Good

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance has teamed up with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light and Artswave (formerly the Fine Arts Fund) to increase energy efficiency for local religious and arts & culture organizations.  Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and an active member of other nonprofit organizations views the program as an excellent way to support the community.  Mr. Holzhauser shared that, “GCEA is committed to helping non-profit organizations reduce their energy costs through education, technical assistance, and financing programs.  This frees more resources for their organization’s mission.”

While Mt. Washington UMC’s energy efficiency project will make its facilities more comfortable, more efficient, and at the same time reduce its annual utilities, Pastor Riggs offered a deeper reason for taking action:

“We believe everything comes from God, and we are to be good stewards of everything, especially our resources and the environment.”

 

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Community Volunteers connect Covington Residents with Energy Efficiency Resources

On November 6th, 30 volunteers reached out to residents in the Covington, KY neighborhoods of Peaselburg, Levassor Park and Wallace Woods, sharing energy saving resources and distributing energy efficiency kits.  The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance in cooperation with the Center for Great Neighborhoods and KY Home Performance are working to help home owners reduce their utility bills through energy saving home upgrades such as lighting, insulation, and mechanical systems. The Covington outreach effort successfully distributed 154 efficiency kits potentially saving each household over $60 in electricity and totaling almost $10,000 in savings for the combined households.   The community outreach efforts also generated 58 home energy assessment requests that would help residents learn about ways to save energy at home.  Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance shared that, “Improving the comfort of your home is easy to do and saves you money.  GCEA helps residents invest in getting their home assessed for energy saving opportunities and then connects home owners with financial incentives, tax incentives, and reduced-interest loans.”

The Center for Great Neighborhoods is partnering with GCEA to help connect Covington residents with energy saving programs and services.  Dan Petronio, Associate Director for the Center for Great Neighborhoods says, “The Center for Great Neighborhoods is excited about bringing GCEA’s resources to Covington.  We believe the program has strong potential to help homeowners achieve significant energy savings, improve home safety, and increase the value of their home.”  For over 30 years, the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, has been dedicated to helping people improve their lives by improving the quality of urban neighborhoods. Strong neighborhoods provide stability, social supports and a web of vital resources that allow families and individuals to thrive.

KY Home Performance will offer either a below market rate loan maximum term of 10 years at 6.99% up to $20,000 or a cash rebate of 20% match up to $2,000 for qualifying improvements in addition to GCEA’s 15% share to help Kentucky homeowners offset the cost of home energy saving improvements.  Terms and conditions apply. The contributions of KY Home Performance and GCEA will help Covington residents save money and energy while improving the comfort of their homes.  “A home is the largest investment a family can make,” said Richard L. McQuady, chief executive officer of Kentucky Housing Corporation.  “Looking at the house as a whole system and making energy-efficiency improvements should help protect their long-term investment as they maximize home efficiency and comfort.  Through the KY Home Performance partnerships, thorough evaluations, quality work and a lending hand have made home improvements much easier for our Kentucky Families”.

To learn more about making cost-effective energy-efficiency improvements with KY Home Performance, visit www.KYHomePerformance.org or GCEA’s Web site at www.greatercea.org.

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Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Receives $17 Million Competitive Grant From U.S. Dept. of Energy for Energy Efficient Building Retrofits

Cincinnati – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, a non-profit providing program management and financing services for area residential and commercial buildings, has been awarded a $17 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help reduce energy bills for Greater Cincinnati building owners. The grant is part of the “Retrofit Ramp-Up” initiative, the competitive portion of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which will “ramp-up” energy efficiency building retrofits and spur economic growth in the energy efficiency industry.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) is one of just 25 award recipients nationwide to receive the highly competitive grant, which received $3.5 billion in applications for the just over $450 million in funds available. The funding allows GCEA to further their mission of making energy saving measures more affordable to building owners in Hamilton County in Ohio and Boone, Kenton, and Campbell counties in Kentucky.

The award funding will be used to increase energy efficiency across the residential, commercial, and multi-family sectors, including a focus on non-profit organizations. This will create or retain up to 700 direct and indirect jobs over the three year program. In addition, the program will achieve as much as 250 million Kwh in electricity savings, 2.5 million therms of gas savings, and as much as a 250,000 ton Greenhouse Gas reduction in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Says Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance Executive Director Andy Holzhauser, “This federal funding allows us to leverage private capital to potentially create a local energy efficiency market of up to $50 million per year. And that means residents and business owners are saving money on their utility bills, moving our country toward energy independence, and creating or retaining a broad range of jobs from auditors, to skilled trades people, to engineers, and project managers needed to serve this market.”

GCEA’s Retrofit Ramp-Up application received support from seven local governments (Hamilton County, the City of Cincinnati, the City of Florence, the City of Covington, Boone County, Kenton County, and Campbell County), as well as collaborative partners including local foundations, workforce development agencies, institutes of higher education, and local utilities.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance plans on bringing energy efficiency to the area block by block, starting with a volunteer-powered neighborhood energy efficiency blitz on May 1 in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington in conjunction with the City of Cincinnati’s Neighborhood Enhancement Program. During this one day event, GCEA volunteers will knock on nearly 1,000 doors, offering resources to make their buildings more energy efficient.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, which was funded for the first time under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, helps state, local, and tribal communities make strategic investments in improving energy efficiency, reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions.

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energy alliance news

GCEA Sub-recipient of $100,000 EPA Grant

Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance sub-recipient of $100,000 US EPA grant through City of Cincinnati to help non-profits lower their energy costs

Cincinnati – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA), a local non-profit providing energy efficiency services to residences and non-profits, was named a sub-recipient today of a $100,000 grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency through the city of Cincinnati. The grant, a part of the city’s $500,000 Climate Showcase Communities award, will allow GCEA to help the city’s non-profit organizations lower their energy-related overhead and contribute to the success of the Green Cincinnati Action Plan.

“This award supports GCEA’s ability to provide energy-saving education, project management, and innovative financing solutions to area non-profits, a sector that has been traditionally hard to reach,” said Andy Holzhauser, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance. “Local non-profits should be able to use their scarce funding to support their mission, and every dollar we can help them save on their energy bills is another dollar that goes into their programs.”

The Green Cincinnati Action Plan aims to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 8% by 2012, or 2% annually. It provides the additional benefits of creating jobs, conserving scarce natural resources, saving money, enhancing the local economy, and improving air quality and public health.

“This funding will provide a tremendous boost to fulfilling the vision and programs in the Green Cincinnati Action Plan” – Larry Falkin, director of the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environmental Quality

Being named a Climate Showcase Community cements Cincinnati’s status as a national leader on sustainability and climate protection.   Only 20 communities received the grant out of a pool of 450 applicants.  The Green Cincinnati Action Plan will be used by EPA as an example of municipal “best practices” in promoting sustainability.

 

 

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energy alliance news

Energy Alliance Announces Board of Directors and Nominated Officers

CINCINNATI – The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance announces its Board of Directors and elected Officers. The Energy Alliance Board is comprised of leaders in the business, economic development, workforce development, energy, and non-profit community.

 

Board of Directors

  • Larry Feist – Program Chair, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Cincinnati State
  • Al Gaspari, CPA – Sr. Manager – KPMG, LLP
  • Jeff Martin – Development Officer – Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC)
  • Sr. Ann Rene McConn – President – Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation
  • Dr. Richard Nault – Vice President of Student Affairs Emeritus – Miami University
  • Dan Neyer – President – Neyer Properties
  • Jock Pitts – President – People Working Cooperatively
  • Rob Richardson, Jr., Esq – Construction Market Representative, Ohio Valley and Southern States Region – Laborers, Employers Cooperation and Education Trust (LACET)
  • Andrew Ritch – Director, Strategy and Business Planning – Duke Energy
  • Gwen Robinson – President/CEO – Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency
  • Mike Rohrkemper – Chief Executive Officer – Gold Star Chili

The Board of Directors has elected Dan Neyer as President of the Board, Dr. Richard Nault as Secretary, and Mike Rohrkemper as Treasurer.

The Energy Alliance is a non-profit organization that provides educational, project management, and financing services for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. It is a multi-jurisdictional collaboration funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in partnership with the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio, as well as the cities of Covington and Florence and counties of Boone, Kenton, and Campbell in Kentucky, and a broad cross-section of public and private partners that include the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Duke Energy.

The Energy Alliance’s initial focus is on the residential, non-profit, and small commercial building sectors. The Energy Alliance intends to change the perception of energy efficiency, why it’s important to the community in creating jobs and reducing dependence on foreign oil, and how it saves the customer money. This will be accomplished through neighborhood outreach programs and the development of innovative financing mechanisms to make the retrofit process simple and affordable for everyone.

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Governors’ offices to receive briefing from Energy Alliance and Partners

Governors’ administrations to engage in discussion regarding regional energy efficiency efforts in the Greater Cincinnati area

CINCINNATI – The Offices of Governor Ted Strickland and Governor Steve Beshear have called for a briefing on the regional collaborative efforts that have taken place in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky that have led to the creation of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA). GCEA is a non-profit organization that provides educational, project management, and financing services for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades. GCEA’s initial focus is on the residential, non-profit, and small commercial building sectors.

GCEA received grant funding from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Duke Energy Foundation to incubate the business model, and has been able to leverage that investment into over $1.6 million, which is focused on serving the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. The City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio, the cities of Covington and Florence and counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell in Kentucky are contributing a portion of their Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds, enabled through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009. And recently, the Department of Energy released their “Recovery Through Retrofit” $390 million competitive grant, the guidelines for which are well-aligned with GCEA’s effort.

“The collaboration and commitment shown by the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and its regional leaders in developing their current energy efficiency program is exactly the type of partnership that can accelerate our nation’s advanced energy industry,” Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said. “We believe this foundation positions the Alliance’s work to be a model for communities around the nation.”

GCEA’s effort has had a regional focus from the onset, recognizing that the Ohio River is an asset to the community, and that working together across political jurisdictions develops economies of scale that drives greater benefits to the residents of the participating communities.

“I commend the leadership of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance and its partners who have developed this concept in advance of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, allowing it to serve as a sound financial investment that leverages public money with private capital to generate a more significant economic impact,” said Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

This roundtable briefing will also discuss regional workforce developments efforts that have taken place, convened by the Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network, partnering with organizations such as Cincinnati State, Gateway Community College, Laborers’ International Union of North America, AFL-CIO, Southwest Ohio Regional Workforce Investment Board, Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, Allied Construction Industry, YWCA, Urban League, and others.

Kathy Merchant, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, remarked “As the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance works with partners and the community to build demand and financing mechanisms for energy efficiency work, it’s essential to ensure we have career pathways to provide a highly skilled workforce. The Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network intends to continue to support the workforce development community to increase capacity and get residents of our community good-paying jobs.”

The opportunity for energy efficiency as a significant economic driver cannot be understated. Duke Energy has a business model in place that supports their customers upgrading to energy efficient technologies, and they are working in conjunction with GCEA to maximize the investment opportunities in retrofitting the building stock.

“We are proud to be a part of this local partnership to advance energy efficiency with our customers and improve the environment,” said OH and KY Duke Energy President Julie Janson.

GCEA intends to change the perception of energy efficiency, why it’s important to the community, and how it saves the customer money. This will be accomplished through neighborhood outreach programs and the development of innovative financing mechanisms to make the retrofit process simple and affordable for everyone.

Andy Holzhauser, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance, commented that, “We are all in this together. The success of the Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance is only as good as the community in which it works. Street by street, block by block, we will bring a message to residents of Greater Cincinnati. One that helps them save money on their utility bills while creating demand for the services of local contractors, preserving the integrity of our historic building stock, and reducing our country’s dependence on foreign oil as well as the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. It’s a win for everybody.”

 

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