Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

an initiative of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States of the U.S.

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Success Stories

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Each state directs its own strategy for investing RGGI proceeds in programs that benefit consumers and build a clean energy economy. Below are just a few examples of individuals, companies and cities that have benefited from energy efficiency, renewable energy and job training programs funded with RGGI proceeds.

These success stories also appear in the report The Investment of RGGI Proceeds Through 2014. See the full report for more information on how RGGI proceeds have been invested.

Older success stories can be viewed in the Archive, and media coverage of RGGI investments and successes is posted on the News and Updates page.

Connecticut: C-PACE Brings Solar PV to Sofia's Plaza
Originally constructed between 1981 and 1986, Sofia’s Plaza contains retail and professional spaces along 2 North Road and 122 Prospect Hill Road in East Windsor, Connecticut. The buildings in Sofia’s Plaza have a combined area of 90,000 square feet.

Utilizing $1.5M in construction financing through the C-PACE program, Sofia’s Plaza installed a 250-kW solar PV rooftop system and a 250-kW solar PV ground mount system with no upfront costs. One-hundred percent of project costs were funded through RGGI auction proceeds.

Delaware: Pathways to Green Schools
In 2014, the SEU along with the Delaware Valley Green Building Council launched the Delaware Pathway to Green Schools Program. This program aimed to reduce environmental impacts and costs, improve health and wellness, and provide effective environmental education in Delaware schools. Eight schools were selected to participate in the program. Each school received a free building assessment and energy audit, assistance with using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Program, and technical assistance throughout the year. Each school that completed the program received $1,000 and one school received $10,000. The schools that participated in the program created recycling programs, community and school gardens, tracked and monitored their energy usage, and implemented recommendations in their energy audits.

Maine: The Home Energy Savings Program
Efficiency Maine’s Home Energy Savings Program (HESP) serves as the framework for market-based weatherization and heating system improvements achieved through a combination of rebates, financing, and customer education. HESP is designed to raise awareness about the benefits of home weatherization and to encourage Maine homeowners to make energy efficiency upgrades.

FY 2014 was a significant year for HESP. With its passage of the Omnibus Energy Bill in June 2013, the Maine State Legislature directed Efficiency Maine to invest 35% of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction revenues in measures to reduce home heating demand. This change in the RGGI statute allowed Efficiency Maine to expand its funding for projects that save heating oil, Maine’s most common heating fuel, without relying on federal funds. More than 7 in 10 Maine households use fuel oil as their primary energy source for home heating – a higher share than in any other state. In 2014, HESP invested $3,870,000 of RGGI funds, approximately 99% of the Program's total budget.

FY 2014 also saw the expansion of loan product offerings through HESP to include new unsecured energy project financing. These smaller loans have continued to increase in popularity, as they require less paperwork and can be processed more quickly than the other loan products. By the end of FY 2014, unsecured loans accounted for 80% of the loans administered by Efficiency Maine. The average amount financed was approximately $8,200.

HESP provided more than 6,400 participants with rebates for energy saving measures in FY 2014, including more than 2,500 rebates for ductless heat pumps. The average HESP rebate of $839 incentivized an average total project cost of $4,936. Through these incentives, Efficiency Maine was able to facilitate more than $21 million in private energy efficiency investments. Overall, the measures incentivized through HESP in FY 2014 generated lifetime energy savings of 1,298,600 MMBtu, helping Mainers save roughly $47.5 million in lifetime energy costs. Given that RGGI funds constituted 99% of the budget for HESP in 2014, they were responsible for a proportionate share of these savings.

Maryland: EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities
The 2014 EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities Low-to-Moderate Income Grant (LMI) Program is delivering significant annual energy savings to thousands of low to moderate income Maryland residents through recently completed energy efficiency projects spearheaded by a wide range of non-profit and government organizations. Through 62 grants ranging from just over $5,000 to nearly $1 million, MEA supported a wide range of energy efficiency measures that maximized energy savings in the commercial and residential facilities in which they were installed. Grantees have included:

  • A collaborative of local governments within Prince George's County improved 154 homes with annual energy savings of more than $61,000.
  • Almost 200 families in five counties are saving more than $70,000 annually in energy costs through a project with the Community Action Council of Howard County.
  • Two Habitat for Humanity chapters are saving homeowners more than $25,000 annually in energy bills by making smart energy efficiency upgrades.
  • The Baltimore organization Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. improved 27 facilities and delivered annual energy savings of more than $131,000 to groups serving the city's underserved.

Massachusetts: Town of Natick Reaches Efficiency Goal
In the spring of 2010, Natick was one of the first Green Communities designated by DOER. One of the criteria to become a Green Community is to establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by 20 percent within five years. Natick was one of the first communities to achieve the program’s energy reduction goal, reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent from fiscal year 2008 to 2014. The town’s annual energy costs have been reduced by approximately $387,000.

Natick has used a wide range of measures to achieve this success:

  • Converted street lights, lighting in municipal parking lots, and interior lighting to efficient LED lighting, and installed occupancy sensors in some facilities.
  • Upgraded HVAC systems, including variable frequency drives and demand control ventilation.
  • Optimized operation of the domestic hot water systems in several schools by making improvements such as installing timers to turn pumps off when the building is closed.
  • Selected several energy efficient models when replacing municipal vehicles, purchased one electric vehicle, and currently in the process of installing an electric vehicle charging station.
  • Natick leases an ice rink and as part of the contract, the town requires the operating company to reduce energy use. Upgrades have included LED lighting, better insulation, building controls and a more efficient cooling system.

New Hampshire: New Municipal Program
On July 24, 2013, Senate Bill 123 (SB 123) was signed into law. This bill amended RSA 125-O:23 II-III (Multiple Pollutant Reduction Program) effective January 1, 2014, and requires that certain proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Program be allocated to municipal and local government energy efficiency projects. The primary focus in the first year was to expand on the success achieved through the foundation of the existing Core commercial and industrial programs, and to gain insight and experience that could be utilized in the program design in 2014 and in subsequent years.

During the first year, approximately 200 energy efficiency projects were completed under the Municipal Program. These projects resulted in energy savings of 67,620 MWH and 33,071 MMBtus over the expected life of the energy efficiency improvements, and saved municipalities $12 million in energy costs.

New York: Growing the Energy Storage Industry
RGGI investments are supporting the New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium (NY-BEST) Testing and Commercialization Center, which was created to catalyze, attract and grow the energy storage industry in New York. The world-class Center provides unique testing and validation services needed to bring new battery and energy storage technologies to the commercial market.

The Center offers product development services that are essential for researchers and companies to test the viability and performance of innovative energy storage technologies before they are introduced to the marketplace as new commercial products. These services can be difficult for individual companies to procure within a reasonable geographic proximity or at a reasonable cost, and include: testing for small single-cell batteries to larger megawatt systems, product development, performance validation, certification testing, environmental testing and battery lifetime testing, mobile in-field testing and on-site product commissioning.

Energy storage technologies, such as batteries, ultracapacitors, fuel cells and flywheels are being used to increase efficiency and reliability on the electric grid, as well as in transportation, buildings, and portable electronics where they are helping to drive a cleaner, more sustainable and secure economic future.

Rhode Island: Rocky Hill School
Rocky Hill School is a K-12 co-educational college preparatory school located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. With a $104,000 grant from the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources, the Rocky Hill School installed a 33 kW solar photovoltaic array on the Alan F. Flynn Upper School Building, which will provide 20% of the building’s annual electricity for the next 30 years. Over the system’s lifetime, the project is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 906 metric tons.

“For the 300 students from preschool to grade 12 on the 84-acre campus along the shores of Narragansett Bay, it’s part of a multi-pronged effort to run a sustainable campus and to instill environmental stewardship into the student body” Peter Hanney, Director of Communications and Marketing at Rocky Hill School.

A Davis Vantage Pro2 weather station and a solar irradiance meter were installed adjacent to the array, to collect real time weather and irradiance data, allowing the students access to the data in real time. In addition, the Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class used the data as part of the class curriculum.

Vermont: Lynn and Buddy Behrendt's Home
For most of the 32 years Lynn and Buddy Behrendt have lived in their 1860s farmhouse, logging, splitting, and hauling the six to seven cords of wood used each winter was a chore. At 80, Buddy was ready to find an easier way to heat their home in Windham, VT. “We wanted to start thinking of a way to simply use less fuel,” he said, “including the oil we need for the auxiliary, as-needed burner.”

“That—and the house was simply old and drafty,” Lynn added. “There was no getting around it. Ours was never a super tight, comfortable, toasty house, and it was time to address both issues.” After searching for a contractor on Efficiency Vermont’s website, Lynn found Vermont Foam Insulation, Inc. (VFI) in Chester, a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR contractor. An energy audit conducted by John Birch from VFI concluded that an air leakage reduction of 25% was achievable with improved insulation. After going over various options with the couple, a two-fold plan was initiated, which included installing open-cell (low density) spray foam insulation throughout open and closed spaces within the attic, as well as performing air-sealing throughout the home to reduce outside air penetration within the attic. This included air-sealing around the chimney/flue, wiring and pipes, scuttle hole entrance, and around basement walls where closed-cell foam was used.

For Buddy, results from the one-day project have been measurable. “The difference is incredible,” he said. “Now the whole home is toasty, and we use about a cord and a half less wood to achieve that. At my age, it just makes sense to plan ahead.”

Incentives from Efficiency Vermont, totaling $1585, helped to make the Behrendt’s project a reality. They save an estimated $325 per year on wood in addition to having a more comfortable and convenient home.