USDN Innovation Products on Energy

Table of Contents 

Innovation Lab - Concept Developing and Prototyping: Learning resources to understand the topic.

 Innovation Lab - Refinement: Tools and guides to inform developing programs.

Adoption Accelerator - Standards Emerging and Scaling: Implementation examples to show how it is being done.


Innovation Lab - Concept Developing and Prototyping:

Learning resources to understand the topic.

The Thermal Break Shear Wall: Simultaneous energy efficiency and seismic resiliency improvements in standard housing stock: This project implemented dual energy efficiency and seismic resiliency improvements in standard housing stock project, testing a method to improve the energy efficiency and seismic resiliency in older housing stock by trying the use of an emerging approach to wall assemblies. A report detailing the project from start to finish is posted here. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018).
» Download

Methane Math - How Cities Can Rethink Emissions from Natural Gas: This project enabled USDN core members, associate members, and partners to synthesize available information on methane leaks in natural gas distribution lines into a document to guide the development of policy and program options for municipalities. The final report examines levels of methane leakage in natural gas systems and identifies (1) remediation mechanisms and (2) better methods for accounting for the emissions impacts. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2017)
» Download

Energy Systems Transformation Framework: A framework to develop a shared vocabulary, understanding and vision for how municipalities can develop a community-wide energy planning and management system that supports a transformation of their energy systems from a fossil fuel base to 100% renewable energy. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016). 
» Download
» Watch the convening video

New Financial and Delivery Models for Retrofitting Buildings:  A detailed assessment of the extent to which the Energiesprong retrofitting model is transferable to London, through the development of a robust business case and barriers report, including practical steps needed to deliver the model in London and an introduction to the financial model. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

Upscaling Green Vehicles: A report  on the potential for promoting “green vehicles” in Northern Europe, highlighting the main observations, exchanges and recommendations identified during a workshop in Copenhagen, including an opportunity for collaboration between cities, car industry companies, energy companies, interest groups, and mobility operators. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

Green Rental Housing App (became Rent Rocket): Feasibility analysis of an online tool to promote sustainable rental housing. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2014). 
» Download

Community Based Social Marketing Campaign - Cold Water Wash: A multi-city campaign to foster sustainable behavior in residents through a cold water wash program. (USDN Special Project, 2013). 
» Download

Community Based Social Marketing Campaign - Employee Computer Shutdown: A multi-city campaign to use community based social marketing to foster sustainable behavior through an employee computer shut down program. (USDN Special Project, 2013)
» Download

Building Energy Benchmarking 1.0: Lessons from early adopters of commercial building energy disclosure and benchmarking policies. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2012). 
» Download

Understanding the Barriers to Commercial PACE: Report based on a survey of mortgage lenders identifying barriers to scaling up Commercial PACE programs and ways to address these barriers. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2012). 
» Download

Innovation Lab - Refinement: Tools and guides to inform developing programs.

Regional Fugitive Methane Accounting: This project developed a methane emissions estimator tool that allows cities to identify natural gas leakage estimates that are specific to their region and utility. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2019)
» Download

Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Exchange (ZEBx): This project co-funded the development of three case studies documenting GHG reduction successes and the lessons learned in improving the cost-effectiveness of implementing these projects. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2019) 
» Download

Thermal Decarbonization Initiative for Cities – Phase 2: This project implemented phase 2 of the Thermal Decarbonization Initiative for Cities. The project team designed and tested pilot programs to scale up demand for heat pumps and strengthen local supply chains - specifically in the small residential sector. An air source heat pump tool was created to provide a high-level estimate of GHG savings for installing air source heat pumps in 4 U.S. cities: Boulder, Burlington, New York City and Washington, D.C. (CNCA Innovation Fund 2019)
» Download

Total System Performance Ratio Project: This project defined a minimum performance standard for HVAC systems in a single metric, with: (1) baseline systems for various building types; (2) calculation software; and (3) code language for incorporation at the city and state level. This standard has been proposed for incorporation into the Washington state energy code. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

Pathways to EV: Preparing for the Proliferation of Electric Vehicles in the Midwest: This project enabled USDN members and partners to catalog existing Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure tools and policies, and to create a regional-level EV infrastructure toolkit that presents a pathway for city and utility sectors to prepare for EV deployment in their communities. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

Ensuring Equity in Energy Transformation and Innovation: This project developed actionable resources for local governments and partners to use in advancing social equity in clean energy program design and implementation in their communities. Products included a guidebook for equitable clean energy program design, an inventory of best practice programs and four in-depth case studies. This work outlines a path forward for municipalities and their partners to create programs that prioritize making clean energy technologies accessible and beneficial to low- and moderate-income households, communities of color, and indigenous communities. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

The London Energiesprong Trial Project: The Energy Leap project is seeking to adapt the Energiesprong model for the UK, testing innovative ways to deliver net zero energy refurbishments for up to ten demonstrator properties, and helping overcome some of the barriers to delivering zero carbon retrofit at scale. This report summarizes progress and shares the lessons learned to date from London’s effort to understand whether the Energiesprong model can be successfully transferred to London. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

USDN/IMT Benchmarking and Energy Data Collective Action Group Report: Three reports draw from works published by jurisdictions that are currently implementing benchmarking ordinances, academic publications, and interviews and discussions with members of the (USDN) Benchmarking and Energy Data Collective Action Group. There are three reports in total: (1) Sharing Data to Motivate Action; (2) Managing Benchmarking Data Quality; and (3) Analyzing Benchmarking Data. (USDN Collective Action Group, 2018).
» Download

Renewable Heating & Cooling: Thermal Decarbonization of Residential Buildings: This guide provides options and actionable steps for other cities interested in completing similar analyses to guide the development of approaches to transitioning away from fossil fuel-based heating. In particular, this guide discusses key steps and best practices to: (1) Establish goals and parameters for a thermal decarbonization initiative within the local context; (2) Identify and collect data from publicly-available data sources; (3) Conduct a market analysis of the local building stock; and (4) Leverage market analysis to engage key stakeholders and develop policies and programs for scaling the local RH&C market. (CNCA and USDN Innovation Funds, 2018).
» Download

REALIZE - Bringing the Clean Industrial Revolution to Existing Residential Buildings: This project examined market barriers to a business model that brings the “Energiesprong” program from the Netherlands to San Francisco. Varying market conditions in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area will determine REALIZE’s approach to successfully facilitate the development of a mass scale energy retrofit market. Categorizing properties by market conditions will allow REALIZE to target Low Income Housing Tax Credit affordable properties that present minimal barriers to entry, while continuing to improve market conditions for future market segments. Products contain work completed to gain insight into market conditions, barriers, and solutions in an effort to advance REALIZE technical solutions at a rapid rate through a robust to-go-market strategy. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2017).
» Download

Accelerating the Transition to 4th Generation District Heating Systems: This project examines two fundamental aspects of the transition to 4th Generation District Heating Networks designed to enable a more cost effective transition away from fossil fuels to a future heat supply that is from local renewable, environmental and waste heat sources. Products include: 1) Connecting Existing Buildings to DHNs Summary Report; and 2) Connecting Existing Buildings to DHNs technical report. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016.)
» Download Summary Report
» Download Technical Report

Accelerating Net-Zero High-Rise Residential Buildings: A report to examine the technical and economic feasibility of moving towards net-zero high-rise residential buildings in Australia and identifies pathways to accelerate their commercialization, designed to inspire Federal and State Government policy makers and the development industry to move rapidly toward buildings that go well beyond current requirements. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

Blueprint for Development Approval of Hydrogen Re-fueling Stations: A blueprint describing (1) the key activities involved in the process of developing hydrogen refueling stations, (2) the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders involved, and (3) a detailed stage-gate process describing all the key activities to be undertaken at each stage of the licensing and permitting process, including detailed activity checklists, technical appendices, and global case studies. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016)
» Download

Carbon Neutral Buildings - Accelerating Market Transformation to High Performing Building Envelopes in North American Cities:  A project to apply energy reductions strategies from Europe to North America to accelerate the market transformation towards carbon neutral buildings, including a barriers and best practice report, zero emissions building targets report and presentation, and North American Passive House Network meeting materials. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

Integrated Whole Energy System Decarbonization Strategy:  A strategy for transitioning to district-scale low-carbon energy systems in three communities in Boulder, Seattle and Minneapolis, including a Energy System Transformation Playbook and Executive Summary and transformation strategies for each community. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

Multi-User Microgrids & District Energy Analysis: A peer-learning process to explore emerging best practices related to developing multi-user microgrids and district energy projects in U.S. cities, including a workshop, a scoping white paper, and additional analyses focusing on ownership models, value streams, and legal barriers for potential multi-owner microgrids. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016)
» Download

Natural Gas, Fuel Oil & Related Thermal Energy De-Carbonization Strategies:  A project to develop strategies for decarbonizing thermal energy systems in different building types in two cities: residential and commercial/light industrial buildings in Boulder and municipal buildings in San Francisco. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Download

RentRocket - Building Energy Tool: A prototype rental housing website that aims to (1) help renters consider sustainability factors (such as utility costs) alongside other factors (such as rent) when making housing decisions and (2) help landlords recognize the value of sustainability investments as a marketable asset. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2016).
» Visit Website
» Download

Southeast Equity and Energy Efficiency Toolkit: A toolkit to help build capacity for the Southeast Sustainability Directors Network (SSDN) members to integrate meaningful equity considering into their implementation of municipal sustainability policies and practices. (USDN Innovation Fund,2016)
» View toolkit

Building Energy Benchmarking 2.0: Common strategies to work with building owners in the marketplace to see energy benchmarking policies turn into energy efficiency upgrades. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2014). 
» Download

Municipal Coalition for LED Street Lights: Southeast Michigan's municipal coalition approach to wide-scale installation of LED street lights. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2014). 
» Download

Office Building Energy Benchmarking: Office Building Benchmarking Guide to help cities design and implement effective energy benchmarking and performance recognition programs for hard-to-reach sectors, like smaller Class B or C office buildings. (USDN Innovation Fund, 2014).
» Download

Adoption Accelerator - Standards Emerging and Scaling: Implementation examples to show how it is being done.

Chicago Green Living Program in Chicago, IL: A project to create a residential package of all of the beneficial energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste & recycling, transportation, and other “green” programs that the City offers and to connect low and moderate income residents to this package of offerings (Partners for Places, 2018).
» Download

How to Scale Corporate Renewable Electricity PPAs in Australia: This project enabled knowledge sharing and replication efforts stemming from the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP). The project was designed to be shared to encourage further PPAs. Activities include: undertaking market research and stakeholder mapping, developing a replication strategy, developing a procurement manual and replication guide, raising awareness about the opportunity for corporate power purchase agreements, and hosting a customer engagement and knowledge sharing program. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

Bringing Renewable Thermal Solutions to Scale in New England: This project developed and implemented pilot programs designed to expand the early adoption of renewable thermal in the existing residential building stock in New England. It created market analysis and campaign design methodologies, and summarized campaign findings so other cities can use lessons learned as they follow suit. (CNCA Innovation Fund, 2018)
» Download

Increasing Energy Efficiency in Low-income Neighborhoods in Chattanooga:  A project to expand a successful program that helps low-income neighborhoods – which use 43 percent more energy per square foot during the winter than the city’s average home – increase their energy efficiency. Residents will be encouraged to create their own locally-based solutions (Partners for Places, 2016).
» Download

Committing to Inclusive Sustainability Action Hartford: A project to create a sustainability director position for the city and a climate action plan that comprehensively addresses energy, land use, transportation, waste and water usage. The plan will look at the root cause of climate change, including ways to improve air quality and reduce flooding, to improve the health and well-being of all residents (Partners for Places, 2016). 
» Download

Carbon Reduction Efforts Benefit Low-Income Neighborhoods in Portland, OR: A project to help this city ensure that its successful efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions directly benefit low-income neighborhoods by supporting a resident-led Community Energy Plan in the Cully neighborhood. Portland has seen impressive results from its carbon-reduction efforts – in 2014 per person emissions were 40 percent below 1990 levels – and seeks to support historically underserved communities in implementing low-carbon investments and solutions (Partners for Places, 2016).
» Download

Energy Efficiency in New Construction in Ithaca NY: A project to make Ithaca more energy efficient by evaluating the policy tools the city can use to incentivize or mandate green building standards for new construction. (Partners for Places, 2016).
» Download

Equitable Access to Solar in Berkeley CA: A project to bridge the solar divide and ensure that all residents have access to renewable energy sources by providing solar installations for low-income communities, including multifamily affordable housing developments, and offering free hands-on solar job training. (Partners for Places, 2016).
» Download

Austin 2030 District: A project to launch the Austin 2030 District, a voluntary initiative to reduce energy and water consumption and carbon emissions from Austin buildings. (Partners for Places, 2015).
» Download

Education and Engagement on Energy Efficiency in Knoxville TN: A community engagement campaign to empower disadvantaged residents in Knoxville to reduce utility bills through energy efficient behavior and cost-effective upgrades. (Partners for Places, 2015).
» Download

Lower-Income Home Energy Retrofits in Blacksburg VA: An energy retrofit program in homes of lower-income older adults in Blacksburg and the New River Valley in order to extend their independence and expand adoption of energy efficiency practices. (Partners for Places, 2015).
» Download

Stamford 2030 District: A resilient, high-performance building district in downtown Stamford with goals to dramatically reduce demand for energy and water resources and increase resiliency by 2030. (Partners for Places, 2015).
» Download

Vulnerable Populations Outreach Program in Bloomington IN: A project towards establishing and enhancing programs which assist vulnerable populations and create an outreach coordinator position to help meet Bloomington's new residential energy reduction goal. (Partners for Places, 2015).
» Download

Community Energy Plan in Holland MI: An overview of a one community's energy plan for efficiency retrofits, energy audits, and building performance labeling. (Partners for Places, 2014). 
» Download

CoMo Energy Challenge in Columbia MO: An overview of Columbia's CoMo Energy Challenge program.  (Partners for Places, 2014). 
» Download

Energy Efficiency Revolving Fund - Asheville, NC Case Study: A detailed case study from Asheville, NC on how to finance sustainability programs through LED streetlight energy efficiency savings. (USDN Special Project, 2013).
» Download

Energy and Climate Action Implementation in Binghamton, NY: An energy efficiency retrofit project that also developed a Task Force to coordinate community engagement in the implementation of Binghamton’s Energy and Climate Action Plan. (Partners for Places, 2012). 
» Download