DOE Technical Assistance Program April Webinar Schedule

Don’t miss any of the upcoming Technical Assistance Program (TAP) webinars. This month’s webinars will explore best practices and technical information for state, city, county and tribal energy practitioners.

Registration is now open for the April webinars, which will address a range of topics including:

  • Financial institution partnerships
  • Best practices for combustion air zone (CAZ)
  • Advanced benchmarking for EPA’s Portfolio Manager
  • Solid-state lighting solutions
  • Modeling tools and techniques for grantees
  • An overview of research on interactions between energy efficiency programs funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and utility customer-funded energy efficiency programs

The complete webinar schedule for April can be found below. Please remember the webinar details are subject to change. A description of each webinar, as well as sign up information can also be found on the TAP Blog. For information on past TAP webinars, please visit the Webcasts page on the Solution Center.

Don’t see a webinar for a topic you’re interested in? Make a comment on our blog or send an email to

Engaging Financial Institution Partners
Host: Mark Zimring, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Date: April 11, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:30 EDT
Description: Stimulus grantees across the country are partnering with financial institutions to offer loan products that help households overcome the upfront cost barrier to investing in energy efficiency. This webinar will feature expert guidance on strategies for engaging financial institutions, as well as insights from energy efficiency program managers and their financial partners on the keys to successful negotiations.

Combustion Air Zone (CAZ) Best Practices
Host: Phil Jones, ICF International and J.C. Martel, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Date: April 13, 2011
Time: 1:00-2:30 EDT
Description: This webinar will discuss using combustion air zone (CAZ) best practices to ensure that sealing homes to be more energy-efficient does not cause indoor air quality problems. CAZs exist where combustion appliances are located in confined spaces within the building envelope.

Advanced Benchmarking: Benchmark Building Energy Use Quickly and Accurately Using EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager
Host: Peter Flippen, ICF International
Date: April 14, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:00 EDT
Description: This Webinar will go beyond the basics of benchmarking energy performance using Portfolio Manager. This webinar will give attendees familiar with Portfolio Manager another layer of detail related to getting data into the tool quickly and accurately. An example of how to benchmark a complex office building will be presented along with tips for benchmarking other public sector building types. Spreadsheet import options and EPA’s Automated Benchmarking System will be reviewed as well to help attendees determine the best most efficient approach to benchmarking.

Exterior Solid-State Lighting Solutions for Municipalities
Host: Chad Bulman, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Date: April 19, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:00 EDT
Description: Municipalities around the nation are increasingly saving on energy costs by renovating or retrofitting exterior street lighting fixtures. This webinar will inform participants on the basics of exterior-based, solid-state lighting (SSL), especially for municipal applications, as well as present best practices in specifying and implementing cost effective projects. In addition, the topics of manufacturer claim verification and available resources will be described by an expert in the field of SSL. This webinar is for municipalities who are interested in understanding the tools needed to implement high efficiency lighting.

Modeling for Grantees
Host: Ed Pierce, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Date: April 27, 2011
Time: 3:00-4:15 EDT
Description: The first step in determining feasibility of an energy conservation measure is to estimate the savings that can be achieved. This webinar will briefly survey the available estimation modeling tools and techniques and provide examples of the type of energy conservation measures to which grantees can apply them.

Interactions Between Energy Efficiency Programs Funded Under the Recovery Act and Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency Programs
Host: Chuck Goldman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Date: April 28, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:30 EDT
Description: The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) provided billions of federal dollars to support investments in energy efficiency at the state and local level. How state energy offices chose to allocate those funds and how those programs interacted with the existing utility customer-funded programs is the subject of a new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) entitled, “Interactions between Energy Efficiency Programs Funded under the Recovery Act and Utility Customer-Funded Energy Efficiency.” This webinar will present findings from the LBNL report.

Residential Retrofit Program Design Guide Overview
Host: Team 4 – Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Date: May 3, 2011
Time: 2:00-3:00 EDT
Description: As states and municipalities plan for—and start to roll out—residential retrofit programs, having a trusted “operations manual” to turn to will help save time and avoid potential pitfalls. The “Residential Retrofit Program Design Guide” is just such a manual, designed to provide guidance to program planners and implementers based on decades of experience from successful retrofit programs. This webinar will introduce the Residential Retrofit Program Design Guide and provide an overview of its content and structure, with a focus on how programs can use it for planning and as an on-going resource.

How to Buy and Sell Secondhand Tech (and Why You Might Want To)

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Profhacker blog has a three part post on  buying and selling secondhand tech. Be sure to read the comments, which are usually as useful as the posts themselves.

Visualizing the World Water Day Challenge

Read the full post at

In 2008, the world passed an historic milestone: for the first time, more than half the planet’s people lived in cities. Today the urban landscape continues to grow — some 3.3 billion of us now live in urban hubs.

Cities have traditionally been, and continue to be, crucibles of innovation, creativity, and wealth. But there is a darker side to urban growth. As cities expand, crime, pollution, disease, and poverty also rise apace — slums now represent some 38% of urban expansion. And because many of the world’s metropolitan centers lack the planning and infrastructure to support the new tide of urban residents, access to clean water — for drinking, cleaning, and industrial use — becomes newly critical.

What kinds of human activities consume the most water? Who has access to water, and where is it most needed? When it comes to global water inequity, is virtual water flow part of the solution, or part of the problem? How is the price of water changing around the world?

In anticipation of “World Water Day 2011”, we recently joined forces with the folks at Circle of Blue to shine a spotlight on these challenging urban water issues. We invited the design community to visualize urban water data, and help us draw connections and insights from across the spectrum of health, economic, environmental, and policy perspectives.

After much interactive clicking and much deliberation, today we’re happy to announce the winner (and award them $5,000 from GE) and two runners up (who will each get $500 from GE)

UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability Travel-Free Meeting Grant Program

Via the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability’s Bright Green Projects page.

With funding from the Climate Action Fund, the Office of Sustainability is awarding grants of up to $100 to promote travel-free meetings in hopes of reducing UC Berkeley’s business air trips by up to 10% within the next two years. Grants may be used to either 1) host a ReadyTalk Web meeting 2) host a video-conference in an ETS facility or 3) purchase a computer camera for web-conferencing. This grant program will run from March 2011 until December 2011.

To familiarize the campus with travel-free meeting options, the Office has partnered with Business Process Analysis Working Group (BPAWG), Cal People and Computer Training (CalPact), and Educational Technology Services (ETS) to host a series of training events for applications such as ReadyTalk and Skype.

Get familiar with travel-free meeting options:

To learn more about the grant project, training events, and fill out an application click here.

EcoFashion Hot at Santa Clara

Read the full story in USAToday College.

Being an environmental studies major at Santa Clara University but also an America’s Next Top Model binger, I was more than ready for the first Eco Fashion Show at our school. We created our “wearable dress” out of newspaper. We folded pages for defined creases, which looked really cool. I also wanted a nice bodice so I combined the two ideas and ended up with our final creation. Paper bags created a strong under-layer to shape the bodice and support the newspaper, and floss served as our thread. Our tutu skirt was made of folded pages, with the fans stapled and sewn together.

UF gets No. 1 ranking in sustainability report

Read the full story in the University of Florida Alligator. Download the full report from the Roberts Environmental Center. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received a B-.

The Gators’ green agenda has propelled them to a clean No. 1 spot.

UF ranked as the top school on the Roberts Environmental Center’s sustainability reporting of the top U.S. universities.

Undergraduates of California’s Claremont McKenna College scanned universities’ websites, including Brown, Yale and Duke, for criteria pertaining to social and environmental issues. Information was then compiled into PDF files, which were divided into sustainability categories to see how many the university covered.