TABLE OF CONTENTS
MGC Challenge Action Items
- Action Item #1 – Financing Energy Efficiency
- Action Item #2 – Energy and Water Benchmarking
- Action Item #3 – Sustainability and Climate Planning
- Action Item #4 – Natural Features Planning
- Action Item #5 – Waste Reduction
- Action Item #6 – LID and Green Infrastructure
- Action Item #7 – Renewable Energy
- Action Item #8 – Energy Efficient Lighting
- Action Item #9 – Fuel Efficiency
- Action Item #10 – Non-Motorized Planning
- Action Item #11 – Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Residents
- Action Item #12 – Green Building Practices
This technical guide provides examples, resources, and step-by-step instructions to complete components of the Michigan Green Communities (MGC) Challenge. The MGC Challenge serves as a roadmap to help communities undertake sustainability projects and to begin tracking progress.
The MGC Challenge consists of two key sections: 1) Action Items and 2) Reporting Metrics. To be certified as a bronze-level community, communities will only need to complete “Section 1: Action Items.” Communities seeking certification at the silver or gold level will need to complete both “Section 1: Action Items” and “Section 2: Reporting Metrics.” Certification requirements for all levels are below:
Bronze: Complete 6 of 12 bronze action items
- Complete 6 of 12 bronze and 6 of 12 silver action items
- Complete 10 of 22 reporting metrics
- Complete 6 of 12 bronze, 6 of 12 silver, and 6 of 12 gold action items
- Complete 15 of 22 reporting metrics
- Complete one of the following: participate on the MGC Steering Committee, serve on a MGC resource team, or complete a MGC case study
MGC CHALLENGE ACTION ITEMS
BRONZE: Implement a program to encourage local government staff and elected/appointed officials to reduce environmental footprint at work.
Programs that qualify include (but are not limited to): employee engagement/training programs around energy efficiency or recycling, incentives for employees, commuter challenge to encourage sustainable transportation, an internal policy to set energy efficient heating and cooling temperatures, or recycling challenges across city departments.
- Muskegon County’s Sustainability Plan includes an action item to provide “Energy and resource conservation training program for County employees.”
- The LiveGreenLansing program encourages all Lansing businesses and their employees to take the pledge to promote sustainability in Lansing. The website even provides a page of tips to employ at work.
- Traverse City Smart Commute Week is a program run by a local non-profit that encourages alternative modes of transportation.
SILVER: Implement an internal revolving loan fund, or similar financing tool, for local government energy projects.
Internal revolving loan funds serve as a tool to increase municipal energy efficiency projects. These loan funds are a sustainable source of funding, where all energy savings from a project return to the loan fund. These funds help support future projects, and help make the case for broader energy efficiency work by demonstrating savings.
- Ann Arbor’s Municipal Energy Fund was established in 1998 and is a source of continued funding for internal energy projects, such as lighting upgrades and renewable energy projects.
- Dearborn’s Adopt-a-Watt program used sponsorships from local businesses, individuals, and non-profits to finance lighting upgrades.
- US Department of Energy (DOE) Revolving Loan Fund Guide
- US EPA Guide to Energy Efficiency in Local Government Operations
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory Revolving Loan Funds “Basics and Best Practices” Presentation
- Financing Strategies for Municipal Energy Efficiency, University of Michigan Masters Project Report
GOLD: Implement a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, or a similar program, to support community energy efficiency and renewable projects.
PACE legislation for commercial properties is enabled in the state of Michigan. PACE allows property owners to invest in energy efficiency and pay back through a special assessment on the property. PACE programs can be administered through a local government, non-profit, or a private entity.
- Ann Arbor’s PACE program is run by the municipality and was the first program in Michigan. The first round of the program financed over $500,000 in local energy efficiency projects.
- Kalamazoo County’s PACE program was approved in 2015 and is administered by a private company.
BRONZE: Conduct energy audits on some government facilities and/or begin to track local government energy use and/or water use systematically, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or another similar tool.
SILVER: Track local government energy use and/or water use for all local government buildings, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or another similar tool.
GOLD: Track local energy and water use for all local government buildings, using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or another similar tool and upgrade/retrofit local government buildings to increase energy efficiency and/or conserve water.
Energy audits on municipal buildings help identify where to target energy efficiency improvements. To complete this item, your community must have performed audits on some government facilities OR started to track energy use in municipal buildings. ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager is an interactive tool that allows for the tracking of energy and water use, over multiple buildings. This tool also helps users to recognize when buildings are underperforming and is free to use.
- The Michigan Clean Energy Report, released in 2015 by Michigan Saves, profiles energy efficiency projects completed in Alpena, Holland, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Pontiac, Saginaw, and Ypsilanti.
BRONZE: Establish an internal government sustainability team or a community sustainability team to coordinate sustainability initiatives.
Both internal and external sustainability teams help build support for taking action at the local government level. These teams look very different across communities. A community team could be a commission or a partnership between local non-profits. An internal team could involve staff members from across city department or may be an extension of an existing department.
- Oakland County established an internal Facilities Management Green Team in 2008 to evaluate energy usage throughout the buildings and facilities operated by the department.
- Farmington Hills has a Commission for Energy and Environmental Sustainability that advises City Council on sustainability.
- Meridian Township supports the Meridian Energy Team which includes energy experts and staff members.
- Report from Green Impact, “Green Teams: Engaging Employees in Sustainability”
SILVER: Adopt a community sustainability plan, climate action plan, climate adaptation plan, or incorporate sustainability targets and indicators into an existing community master plan that has measurable targets.
Communities approach sustainability planning in a variety of ways. To complete this action item, a community must adopt a standalone plan that supports sustainability, or incorporate sustainability into an existing master plan. This plan can focus on climate, energy, or more broadly on sustainability.
- Grand Rapids has a long-established sustainability plan, including progress report updates.
- Ann Arbor adopted a sustainability framework as part of its City Master Plan.
- Ypsilanti adopted a Climate Action Plan in 2012 with a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
- Resilient Grand Haven is sponsored by the City of Grand Haven and Grand Haven Carter Township and includes a review of the Municipal Master Plan.
- The Imagine Flint Master Plan includes elements of sustainability throughout the plan.
- Climate Action Planning Implementation Guidebook for Small Cities – Prepared by Michigan Suburbs Alliance and WARM
- Land Information Access Association’s Planning for Resilient Communities project
- National League of Cities – Creating An Environmental Sustainability Plan: A How-To Manual For Local Governments
GOLD: Incorporate sustainability, energy, and/or climate metrics into capital improvements planning.
Once a sustainability or climate plan is in place, the next step is to incorporate sustainability into the decision-making process. The capital improvements planning (CIP) process generally involves prioritizing to distribute funding across local government assets. Integrating sustainability metrics into the CIP process introduces sustainability to all potential projects.
- Ann Arbor scores potential CIP projects based on whether the project furthers goals from the sustainability framework.
BRONZE: Implement a program to protect natural features, such as wetlands, tree canopy, or water resources.
This action addresses policies and programs that protect, enhance, or maintain natural features in the community. Natural features may include (but are not limited to): watersheds, stormwater management, private or publicly-owned trees, water conversation, coastal areas, open space, or greenbelts.
- Bingham, Centerville, Cleveland, Elmwood, Kasson, Leelanau, Leland, Solon, and Suttons Bay Townships are all partners on the Lake Leelanau Watershed Protection Plan.
- Lansing works with regional partners as part of the Greater Lansing Regional Committee on Stormwater Management to help protect water resources.
- Grand Rapids is a partner of a Citizen Forester program, which helps train volunteers to care for trees in Grand Rapids.
- Networks Northwest offers many resources and model ordinances for Michigan communities.
SILVER: Adopt a natural features plan or ordinance to protect natural features, such as wetlands, tree canopy, or water resources.
This action addresses adopted plans and ordinances that protect, enhance, or maintain natural features in the community. Natural features may include (but are not limited to): watersheds, stormwater management, private or publicly-owned trees, water conversation, coastal areas, open space, or greenbelts.
- Muskegon’s Master Plan includes a natural features inventory and identifies actions and policy recommendations to protect and enhance natural features.
- The City of St. Joseph passed a no-build ordinance to protect its shoreline.
- Policy and Planning for Coastal Communities webpage from Michigan Seagrant
- Developing an Approvable Watershed Management Plan webpage from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
GOLD: Adopt a community forestry plan and urban tree canopy goal.
Adopting a community forestry plan helps prioritize maintaining and enhancing the quality of trees in your community. The plan may address publicly-owned street trees and/or private trees. The plan can be an internal, staff-facing plan, or a plan officially adopted by your community’s legislative body. The plan does not need to be a standalone plan and can be embedded in another plan (e.g., climate action plan, sustainability plan, master plan); however, the plan must set an urban tree canopy goal.
- The City of Ann Arbor recently adopted an Urban and Community Forest Management Plan.
- Grand Rapids completed an assessment of urban tree canopy cover in 2015.
- The City of Birmingham adopted a Public Tree Management Plan in 2012.
- Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program website
- American Planning Association (APA) Planning for Urban and Community Forest website and resources
- US Department of Agriculture i-Tree Tools for Assessing and Managing Community Trees and Forests
>h4>BRONZE: Implement a program to encourage recycling and waste reduction.
To complete this action, your community must implement a program to encourage recycling and waste reduction for employees and/or residents. Programs may include, but are not limited to: incentives for recycling, educational materials for employees and/or residents, recycling competitions internally or communitywide, offering smaller trash carts/bins for employees and/or residents, providing recycling to residents and/or businesses.
- Mygrcitypoints in Grand Rapids is a program that offers local rewards to encourage community members to recycle.
- Meridian Township holds a number of recycling events, including RecycleRama and a regional recycling event.
- Monroe County provides access to information and resources to help residents recycle and live sustainably through on online portal, EcoVille.
- EPA Resource Conservation and Recovery – A Guide to Developing and Implementing Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs
- Michigan Recycling Coalition Professional Resources for Municipalities
- MDEQ Recycling 101 Guide
SILVER: Implement communitywide residential and commercial recycling programs.
This action requires that communities offer recycling options to both commercial and residential customers. This program may be run by the local government or through a franchise agreement.
- Kent County runs a Recycling and Education Center that accepts single-stream recycling for residents. The County also includes a search tool on its website to help residents identify how to recycle items.
- Farmington Hills is part of the Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County (RRASOC) along with other nearby communities.
- Delhi Township offers curbside recycling to residents through a joint program with Granger.
- MDEQ Recycling in Michigan: Successful Recycling Programs, Best Practices, and Diversion Potential Report
- Michigan Recycling Coalition Professional Resources for Municipalities
GOLD: Implement a communitywide composting program.
This action requires communities manage a communitywide composting program. This program may be run by the local government or through a franchise agreement. The program may be a curbside collection program or may through another program, such as community drop-off locations.
- Emmet County Recycling, in partnership with 20 local restaurants and florists, conducted a Food Scraps Pilot Project in 2015 to pilot composting.
- Marquette offers a community drop-off location for organic waste recycling.
- Ann Arbor provides seasonal curbside compost pick-up, including food waste, for residents.
BRONZE: Implement a program to encourage low-impact design and/or implement a green infrastructure project.
This action item addresses actions that mitigate impacts on natural systems and encourage the use of natural processes to increase infiltration, reduce run off, and improve water quality. Examples of
MGC Challenge Technical Guide 10
green infrastructure and LID projects include, but are not limited to, rain gardens, green roofs, vegetated swales, and permeable pavement.
- The City of Detroit is installing green infrastructure to help manage stormwater runoff.
- Rain gardens installed along Michigan Avenue in Lansing help capture stormwater.
- City Hall in Farmington Hills features a green roof system.
- Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) maintains a database of case studies, featuring green infrastructure and green streets projects in Michigan.
- MDEQ Funding Resource for Financing Green Infrastructure in Michigan
- SEMCOG Green Infrastructure Resources
- Huron River Water Council (HRWC) Barriers Preventing Implementation of Green Infrastructure in Washtenaw County, Michigan
- EPA Green Infrastructure Resources
- Great Lakes, Green Streets Guidebook
SILVER: Provide incentives for property owners to decrease impervious surface.
To complete this action, communities need to incent property owners to decrease impervious surface on their property. This may include incentives for rain gardens, rain barrels, permeable pavement, and rainwater harvesting.
- The City of Ann Arbor provides residential and commercial stormwater credits to property owners that take action to reduce stormwater runoff.
- The City of Grayling implemented a rain garden adoption program to incent property owners to help maintain installed rain gardens.
- Kalamazoo County offers an incentive to residents to install rain gardens, by offering to cover partial costs for membership to the Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones.
- EPA Encouraging Low Impact Development: Incentives Can Encourage Adoption of LID Practices in Your Community
- EPA Municipal Handbook: Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure – Incentive Mechanisms
GOLD: Adopt a policy or ordinance that encourages green infrastructure and/or discourages impervious surface.
For credit for this action, communities need to adopt a policy, program, or ordinance related to green infrastructure or to reducing impervious surface. For instance, an ordinance requiring property owners capture a percentage of stormwater onsite discourages impervious surface. Likewise, an ordinance requiring green infrastructure on new street construction or reconstruction encourages green infrastructure projects.
- Ann Arbor adopted a Green Streets Policy in 2014 establishing requirements for stormwater infiltration on new and reconstructed public streets.
- Sault St. Marie adopted a Community Improvement Plan that sets a guideline of incorporating green infrastructure when public funds are used.
- The Green Grand Rapids Master Plan Update directs for the use of green infrastructure.
- City of Ann Arbor Stormwater Utility Case Study
- EPA Municipal Handbook: Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure – Green Streets
BRONZE: Implement a program to encourage renewable energy projects (e.g., renewable energy, zoning overlay districts, and/or solar/wind ordinance).
This action may be either an internal program to encourage renewable energy in local government facilities or may be a community-facing program. The program does not need to be run by the local government, but the local government should be a partner or directly benefit from the program. Policies supporting renewable energy projects also meet the requirement for this action item.
- The City of Ann Arbor developed a2energy, an online website and branding effort, to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable resources to residents and businesses across the city of Ann Arbor.
- Farmington Hills, Holland, and Houghton County are all participating in the Georgetown Energy Prize and are undertaking projects and programs to encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy use.
- Saginaw County, Midland County, and Bay County are working with Solarize Michigan to bring down the costs of at-home solar energy by using bulk buying, competitive bidding and community education.
- Novi City Council adopted a solar panels ordinance.
- Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office (SEMREO) Policy Library, including sample wind and solar ordinances
- Michigan Association of Planning (MAP) Wind Energy Information Resources, including model ordinances and resolutions
- Michigan Siting Guidelines for Wind Energy Systems
- Networks Northwest Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Practices and Policies for Local Governments
- DOE Renewable Energy Resources
SILVER: Implement at least one local government renewable energy project (e.g., solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, wind, district heating and cooling systems, biodigesters, biomass, or energy storage system).
To meet this action, complete a renewable energy project on a local government facility or property. The project does not need to be financed or administered by the local government, but the local government should be a partner or directly benefit from the project.
- Delhi Township uses a biodigester to help turn poo to power.
- Ypsilanti worked with a group of volunteers to become the first city hall in Michigan with solar power.
- Washtenaw County installed solar hot water heaters on the Washtenaw County Jail.
- SEMREO Renewable Energy Case Studies
- DOE Solar Energy Resource Center
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Learning About Renewable Energy
GOLD: Implement at least one community renewable energy project (e.g., solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, wind, district heating and cooling systems, community solar, bio digesters, biomass, or energy storage system).
To meet this action, complete a renewable energy project that directly benefits the community. The project does not need to be financed or administered by the local government, but the local government should be a partner on the project.
- The Lansing Board of Water & Light, City of East Lansing, City of Lansing and Michigan Energy Options are partnering to provide Lansing Board of Water & Light electric customers to offer community solar.
- Wyandotte is looking at incentives for residential geothermal services.
- A Guidebook for Community Solar Programs in Michigan
- Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA) Community Solar Resources
ACTION ITEM #8 – ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
BRONZE: Create an inventory of local government-owned street lighting.
This action is completed if the local government has an accurate inventory of their street lights.
SILVER: Develop a plan to replace local government traffic signals, street lighting, and/or parking illumination with energy efficient lighting technologies (e.g., LEDs and other technologies of equal or greater efficiency).
To complete this action, the local government must have a plan in place to upgrade or replace lighting fixtures with energy efficient technologies. The plan may be internal or adopted by the local government’s elected body.
GOLD: Replace the majority of traffic signals, publicly- and utility-owned street lighting, and/or parking illumination with energy efficient lighting technologies (e.g., LEDs and other technologies of equal or greater efficiency).
This action requires that the local government has made significant process on using energy efficiency lighting technologies. Cost savings from a lighting efficiency project can be captured and reinvested in future efficiency projects via a revolving loan fund.
- Huron County upgraded to LED lighting for its county building and health department.
- Grand Traverse County has installed LED street and area lighting, among other lighting efficiency upgrades.
- DOE Lighting Facts program includes standardized information on LED lighting products
- EPA ENERGY STAR program certification for efficient light bulbs and fixtures
ACTION ITEM #9 – FUEL EFFICIENCY
BRONZE: Conduct an inventory and efficiency audit of the government vehicle fleet.
Reducing fuel use in the government fleet depends on tracking energy use.
This action requires an inventory of the local government fleet, including fuel use.
SILVER: Adopt a fuel efficiency target for the government fleet, including an implementation plan for reaching this target.
To check this action, communities must set a tangible target for fuel efficiency (e.g., percentage reduction or similar) and have a plan to achieve this target. The plan may be internal or adopted by the local government’s elected body.
- The City of Auburn Hills developed a comprehensive fleet analysis with help from Clean Energy Coalition.
- The City of Ann Arbor adopted a Green Fleets Policy covering its municipal vehicle fleet.
GOLD: Adopt an anti-idling policy for government fleet and/or a communitywide policy.
Idling policies help reduce fuel usage both in local government operations and within the community. Completing this action requires either an internal-facing policy, or a community-facing policy.
- Mount Clemens and Sylvan Lake have adopted anti-idling ordinances.
- EPA Compilation of State, County, and Local Anti-Idling Regulations
- DOE Clean Cities IdleBox Toolkit for Idling Reduction Projects
ACTION ITEM #10 – NON-MOTORIZED PLANNING
BRONZE: Implement a program to encourage non-motorized transportation and/or install infrastructure to support non-motorized transportation.
This action applies both to installed infrastructure and to programs that educate, encourage, or incent community members to use non-motorized transportation. Non-motorized infrastructure includes, but is not limited to: bicycle lanes, sidewalks, enhanced crosswalks, bicycle parking, sharrows, and grade-separated non-motorized traffic lanes. Adopting a complete streets policy would also meet this action.
- The City of Detroit recently installed its first protected bicycle lanes.
- Macomb County installed HAWK (High-intensity Activated crossWalK) signals to enhance pedestrian safety on Gratiot Avenue.
- Houghton adopted a bike parking ordinance.
- Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Terminology
- US Department of Transportation (USDOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Resources
- Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Downtown Street Design Manual
SILVER: Adopt a non-motorized transportation plan.
This action requires a non-motorized plan transportation plan adopted by the local government’s elected body.
GOLD: Implement non-motorized plan and show measurable results (e.g., added infrastructure, an increase in non-motorized commutes).
To complete this action, the local government must have an adopted non-motorized transportation plan and achieve measurable results or targets referenced in the plan.
- The Charter Township of Union worked with area partners to develop the Greater Mt. Pleasant Area Non-Motorized Plan.
- Oakland County’s Trails Master Plan aims to create a connected system of trails and greenways.
- The City of Royal Oak adopted a Non-Motorized Transportation Plan as part of its City Master Plan.
- SEMCOG Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel Resources, includes links to plans in southeast Michigan
- Michigan Complete Streets Coalition Policy Center, includes links to ordinances and plans
- EPA Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Metrics
ACTION ITEM #11 – ENERGY EFFICIENCY FOR LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS
BRONZE: Promote an energy efficiency program for low-income residents.
Completing this action requires an educational or incentive-based program targeted at low-income residents. This program does not need to be financed or administered by the local government, but the government should be a partner and/or should actively promote the program to community members. For example, county governments or local utilities often administer direct-install energy efficiency programs to replace lighting and other fixtures with more energy efficient fixtures. If a local government promotes these programs, it may receive credit for this action.
- The City of Ypsilanti promotes weatherization programs offered through Washtenaw County.
- EcoWorks facilitates the Michigan Energy Efficiency for All campaign strives to improve the health and quality of life of families in affordable housing.
- DTE Energy Low-Income Programs
- Consumers Energy Low-Income Programs
- MDHHS Michigan Energy and Weatherization Resources
- Enterprise Green Communities Resident Engagement Tools
SILVER: Install a renewable energy project and/or energy efficiency upgrades in government- or privately-owned affordable housing.
To receive credit for this action, the local government must complete a renewable energy project at an affordable housing site, or the local government must implement energy efficiency upgrades within an affordable housing site. The affordable housing may be owned by the local government or the affordable housing may be privately owned. The local government does not need to finance or administer the program, but the local government must be an active partner on the project.
- The Ann Arbor Housing Commission installed a 42-kW rooftop solar installation at one of its public housing site.
GOLD: Adopt a plan, policy, or program for energy efficiency or renewable energy in low-income housing.
Meeting this action requires the local government to have a formal plan, either internal or adopted by the local government’s elected body, to increase energy efficiency and/or use of renewables within low-income housing.
- Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) piloted a benchmarking program within affordable housing properties.
- American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Best Practices in Developing Energy Efficiency Programs for Low-Income Communities and Considerations for Clean Power Plan Compliance
- Energy Efficiency for All Program Design Guide
- Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (CEDAM) Utility Data and Energy Efficiency Pilot Programs
ACTION ITEM #12 – GREEN BUILDING PRACTICES
BRONZE: Develop a green purchasing policy.
A green purchasing policy supports the procurement of products and services that reduce impacts on the environment. Meeting this action requires an internal or formally adopted green purchasing policy.
- Villages of Lexington and Ontonagon have adopted green purchasing policies.
- National Association of State Procurement Officials Green Purchasing Guide
- EPA Sustainable Marketplace: Green Products and Services
- Sustainable New Jersey – Adopt a Green Purchasing Policy by Ordinance, including a sample policy
SILVER: Develop a green building policy for local government facilities.
To complete this action, a local government must have an internal-facing policy for green building. This may include policies for rehabilitation and/or new construction. This policy does not need to directly reference green certifications programs (such as LEED, Living Building Challenge, Green Globe, etc.) but should reference energy standards.
- State of Michigan Executive Directive 2005-04 requires energy efficiency targets and benchmarking of energy use in State-managed or occupied buildings.
- City of Novi utilizes LEED standards in government-owned facilities and encourages LEED in private development.
- Sterling Heights incentivizes LEED certification for private developments.
- American Institute of Architects State and Local Green Building Incentives
- City of Ann Arbor Municode
GOLD: Achieve green building certification for a local government building.
This action requires a local government to receive green building certification for a building owned by the local government. Green building certification programs include but are not limited to: LEED, Living Building Challenge, Green Globe, and Energy Star.
- Grand Rapids’s Technical Services Building was LEED Certified after a 2014 renovation.
- The City of Farmington Hills has a LEED Gold Certified city hall building.
REPORTING METRIC #1 – TOTAL ANNUAL MUNICIPAL ENERGY CONSUMPTION. (BTU)
Before starting: determine whether you will calculate annual energy consumption based on the most recent calendar year or your municipality’s most recent fiscal year. In many cases, using the fiscal year will coordinate well with various departments’ other data and reporting needs. Depending on the number of facilities your municipality owns or operates, you may wish to consider a utility bill tracking service to monitor building energy use.
Part 1 – Building Electricity
Step 1 – If you do not already have records of electrical usage (in kWh, a.k.a. kilowatt-hours), ask your account representative at your local electric utility if they can supply a spreadsheet with monthly or annual electricity use for municipally-owned or operated buildings.
Step 2 – Sum building-level electricity use for the year to determine the total municipal building electricity use in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
Step 3 – Multiply the kWh total by 0.003412 to calculate total building electricity use in millions of BTUs (MBTU).
Part 2 – Building Natural Gas
Step 1 – If you do not already have records of natural gas usage (in CCF or therms), ask your account representative at your local natural gas supplier if they can supply a spreadsheet with monthly or annual natural gas use for municipally-owned or operated buildings.
Step 2 – Sum building-level natural gas use for the year to determine the total municipal building natural gas use in CCF or therms.
Step 3 – If your natural gas data is in CCF, multiply the total by 0.104 to calculate total building natural gas use in millions of BTUs (MBTU). If your natural gas data is in therms, multiply the total by 0.1 to calculate total building natural gas use in millions of BTUs (MBTU).
Part 3 – Streetlights and Traffic Signals
Step 1 – If your municipality has streetlights that are metered, use available bills or a usage summary from your electricity provider to sum the kWh usage from each month of the year. If your municipality has not recently added or removed many streetlights, you may be able to simply multiply one month’s kWh usage by 12 to calculate an annual total.
Step 2 – If your municipality’s streetlights are not metered, request a streetlight inventory that shows the number of streetlights at different wattages.
Step 2a – For each wattage level (100W, 250W, 400W are common wattages), multiply the wattage by the number of streetlights and divide by 1000 to get a kilowatt (kW) total.
Step 2b – Sum the kW total for each wattage level from Step 2a to arrive at a kilowatt (kW) total for ALL unmetered streetlights.
Step 2c – Multiply the kW total from 2b by 4,200 to calculate an annual kWh total for unmetered streetlights.
Step 3 – If your streetlight bill lists the total traffic signal wattage (in watts), multiply this by 8.766 to determine the total annual traffic signal kWh. If in kilowatts (kW), multiply by 8,766.
Step 4 – Sum the kWh totals from Steps 1, 2c, and 3 to calculate an annual kWh total for streetlights and traffic signals
Step 5 – Multiply the kWh total from Step 4 by 0.003412 to calculate the annual MBTU total for streetlights and traffic signals.
Part 4 – Fleet Vehicle Fuel Use
Step 1 – Ask your fleet manager for an annual summary of fleet vehicle fuel use by fuel type in gallons (i.e., gasoline, diesel, biodiesel [B20, B100, etc.], ethanol, CNG, propane, etc.)
Step 2 – For each fuel type, multiply the number of gallons used by the corresponding MBTU factor from the table below:
Step 3 – Sum the MBTU quantities for all fuel types to calculate the total annual fleet vehicle energy use in MBTU.
Part 5 – Total Municipal Energy
Sum up the results of Parts 1-4 to determine total annual municipal energy consumption.
REPORTING METRIC #2 – TOTAL ANNUAL COMMUNITYWIDE ENERGY CONSUMPTION. (BTU)
As with municipal energy use, you will need to decide whether to calculate annual energy consumption based on the most recent calendar year or your municipality’s most recent fiscal year.
Step 1 – Contact your local electric utility and request an annual total of electricity use for your municipality. This should be in kilowatt-hours (kWh) or megawatt-hours (MWh). Multiply this number by 0.003412 (if in kWh) or 3.412 (if MWh) to calculate the communitywide electricity consumption in million BTUs (MBTU).
Step 2 – Contact your local natural gas utility (this may be the same as your electric utility) and request an annual total of natural gas consumption. This should be in hundred cubic feet (CCF) or therms. Multiply this number by 0.104 (if in CCF) or 0.1 (if therms) to calculate the communitywide natural gas consumption in millions of BTUs (MBTU).
Step 3 – (If applicable.) If your community has a significant number of homes heated by propane, you may want to contact your local propane supplier(s) to request an annual total of gallons of propane sold in your community. Multiply this number by 0.0915 to calculate the communitywide propane consumption in millions of BTUs (MBTU).
Step 4 – (Optional.) If you want to include an estimate of communitywide transportation energy use, contact your regional council of governments (COG: i.e., SEMCOG, etc.) and request an estimate of annual vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for your community. Multiply the VMT total by 0.00933 (see note below) to estimate total annual communitywide transportation energy consumption.
Step 5 – Sum the results of Steps 1-4 above to calculate the total communitywide energy use in million BTUs (MBTU). When reporting this metric, indicate whether or not transportation is included.
Note: The 0.00933 MBTU per mile factor in Step 4 above is based on assuming 50% of miles from diesel vehicles with an average fuel economy of 10 MPG and 50% of miles from gasoline vehicles with an average fuel economy of 20 MPG.
REPORTING METRIC #3 – ANNUAL ENERGY SAVINGS FROM MUNICIPAL BUILDING AND/OR LIGHTING UPGRADES. (BTU)
Step 1 – Contact facility manager(s) and/or department heads to generate a list of energy conservation measures taken with municipal buildings or streetlights.
Step 2 – For each energy conservation measure, decide whether you will determine savings based on actual (observed) reductions in energy use or predicted (calculated) savings. Using predicted savings is often helpful when facility programming or usage patterns have changed. Complete step 3a OR 3b for each measure accordingly.
Step 3a – To calculate savings based on ACTUAL reductions, subtract annual facility (or streetlight) usage for one year AFTER implementation from one year’s usage BEFORE implementation.
Step 3b – To calculate savings based on PREDICTED reductions, consult materials provided at the time of implementation. There may be information from an equipment manufacturer, installer, or energy services company that estimates electricity (kWh) or natural gas (CCF or therms) savings for the energy savings measure. If not, you may need to make some assumptions about savings based on similar projects.
Step 4 – Take the result of step 3a or 3b for each energy saving measure and multiply by 0.003412 (if in kWh), 0.104 (if in CCF), or 0.1 (if in therms) to calculate the savings in MBTU.
Step 5 – Sum the results of step 4 to determine the total annual energy savings from municipal building and/or lighting upgrades in millions of BTUs (MBTU).
REPORTING METRIC #4 – TOTAL ANNUAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION. (KWH)
Step 1 – Identify all local government facilities that are generating renewable energy, which is usually electricity but may or may not be metered. Complete step 2a OR 2b for each facility, depending on whether or not the generating facility is metered.
Step 2a – If renewable energy generation is metered and data is logged electronically, consult the data logs to determine annual generation (kWh) for the facility. If metered but not logged, you may need to take periodic manual meter readings to determine annual generation (kWh).
Step 2b – If renewable energy generation is NOT metered, multiply the nameplate capacity in kilowatts (kW) by 1,140 for solar/PV or 2,630 for wind to estimate the annual generation (kWh). See note below.
Step 3 – Sum the results of steps 2a or 2b for each generation source to calculate the total annual local government renewable energy generated in kWh.
Note: The factors in Step 2b above are based on capacity factors of 13% for solar (PV) generation and 30% for wind.
REPORTING METRIC #5 – TOTAL ANNUAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT RENEWABLE ENERGY PURCHASED. (KWH)
Step 1 – Contact facility manager(s) and/or department heads to identify all local government facilities that are purchasing renewable energy, which may be from the local electric utility or from a third-party supplier of renewable energy certificates (RECs).
Step 2 – Refer to utility bills or the REC supplier contract to determine the annual kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy purchased for each facility.
Step 3 – Sum the results of step 2 to calculate the total annual local government renewable energy purchased in kWh.
REPORTING METRIC #6 – NUMBER OF CERTIFIED GREEN BUILDINGS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL. (LEED, ENERGY STAR, OR OTHER SIMILAR CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS)
Step 1 – Visit USGBC LEED projects site (http://www.usgbc.org/projects).
Step 2 – Select “City” from the “Name” dropdown menu, as shown below.
Step 3 – Type in the name of your community in the blank search field, as shown below.
Step 4 – Use the “Apply” button to show results.
Step 5 – Export results by selecting the “Export results (XLS)” link, as shown below. This will export results into an Excel spreadsheet
Step 6 – Use the spreadsheet to determine the number of LEED buildings within your community.
REPORTING METRIC #7 – MOST RECENT COMMUNITYWIDE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS INVENTORY.
Report most recent greenhouse gas emissions inventory results.
Resources for conducting an emissions inventory:
- EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator
- DOE Energy Star Portfolio Manager Technical Reference: Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- ICLEI Greenhouse Gas Protocols
REPORTING METRIC #8 – MATERIALS RECYCLED COMMUNITYWIDE. (TONS/YEAR)
Step 1 – Contact local recycling provider (e.g., solid waste/recycling staff person, franchise operator, Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) staff) for weights of recyclable materials on trucks. Weights are typically provided by month or by pick up days.
Step 2 – Sum data per year. If needed, translate weights to tons.
REPORTING METRIC #9 – MATERIALS COMPOSTED COMMUNITYWIDE. (TONS/YEAR)
Step 1 – Contact local composting provider (e.g., solid waste/recycling staff person, franchise operator, compost center staff) for weights of compostable materials on trucks. Weights are typically provided by month or by pick up days.
Step 2 – Sum data per year. If needed, translate weights to tons.
REPORTING METRIC #10 – MATERIALS LANDFILLED OR INCINERATED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT. (TONS/YEAR)
Step 1 – Contact local waste provider (e.g., solid waste/recycling staff person, franchise operator, landfill operator) for weights of landfilled materials on trucks. Weights are typically provided by month or by pick up days.
Step 2 – Sum data per year. If needed, translate weights to tons.
REPORTING METRIC #11 – PERCENT IMPERVIOUS SURFACE COMMUNITYWIDE.
Option 1: Near-Infrared or Infrared Aerial Photography
Communities use a variety of methods to calculate imperious surface. To conduct a highly accurate assessment, consider a computer analysis of near-infrared or infrared aerial photography of your community. This type of analysis can distinguish between impervious and pervious surfaces.
- City of Ann Arbor Example
- City of Ann Arbor Impervious Surface Calculation Sanborn Case Study
Option 2: Spatial Analysis The Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT), a custom suite of easy-to-use scripts for ArcGIS, prepared by NOAA, is used to calculate the percentage of impervious surface area within a geographic area. The tool and more information are available online. ESRI ArcView and ESRI Spatial Analyst are needed to use this tool.
Option 3: Photo-Interpreted Estimates
i-Tree provides a tool that estimates tree and other surface area cover using Google Earth imagery. This is a relatively quick and easy way to estimate impervious surface for your community. View the i-Tree Methodology.
REPORTING METRIC #12 – PERCENT TREE CANOPY COVER COMMUNITYWIDE.
i-Tree provides a tool that estimates tree and other surface area cover using Google Earth imagery. This is a relatively quick and easy way to estimate impervious surface for your community. View the i-Tree Methodology.
Step 1 – Go to the i-Tree Canopy tool online – http://www.itreetools.org/canopy/. See screenshot below:
Step 2 – Import a file for the boundary of your community (e.g., city boundary). Boundary files can be located on the US Census website, if your community does not have this readily available.
Step 3 – Select “Configure and Begin Your Survey.”
Step 4 – Name the cover classes you want to classify (e.g., tree, grass, impervious). Tree and Non-Tree classes are included by default, but additional classes may be added.
Step 5 – Select “Project Location” (e.g., “Michigan – Grand Traverse”) for your community. This will help more accurately allocate tree benefits. This step is not necessary, and you may simply select the “Skip and Begin Survey” button to move progress forward.
Step 6 – Survey “Tree,” “Non Tree,” and other defined classes by adding new points, as shown in the screenshot below. Adding more points improves accuracy.
Step 7 – When finished, select the “Report” button to see results.
REPORTING METRIC #13 – ANNUAL MUNICIPAL WATER CONSUMPTION. (GALLONS)
Step 1 – Contact your municipal or local water utility for this information.
REPORTING METRIC #14 – ANNUAL COMMUNITYWIDE WATER USE. (GALLONS)
Step 1 – Contact your municipal or local water utility for this information. Some water utilities may service multiple jurisdictions. Be sure to request data for your community only.
REPORTING METRIC #15 – ANNUAL COMMUNITYWIDE WASTEWATER. (GALLONS)
Step 1 – Contact your municipal or local wastewater treatment facility for this information. Some treatment facilities may service multiple jurisdictions. Be sure to request data for your community only.
REPORTING METRIC #16 – TOTAL ACRES OF PARKLAND.
Step 1 – Contact local parks department or park management staff for this information. ArcGIS can be used to calculate the area of parks, if a spatial map of the parks exists.
REPORTING METRIC #17 – NUMBER OF VEHICLES IN GOVERNMENT FLEET.
Step 1 – Contact fleet or facilities staff for this information. This number should include ALL vehicles within the fleet.
REPORTING METRIC #18 – NUMBER OF HYBRID ELECTRIC AND ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN GOVERNMENT FLEET.
Step 1 – Contact fleet or facilities staff for this information. This number should include ONLY hybrid electric and electric vehicles within the fleet.
REPORTING METRIC #19 – NUMBER OF ALTERNATIVE-FUEL VEHICLES IN GOVERNMENT FLEET.
Step 1 – Contact fleet or facilities staff for this information. This number should include ONLY alternative-fuel vehicles within the fleet. Alternative fuel(s) include:
- Compressed natural gas
REPORTING METRIC #20 – ANNUAL FUEL SAVINGS THROUGH GREEN FLEET UPGRADES. (GALLONS OF PETROLEUM-BASED FUEL REDUCTION)
Step 1 – Contact fleet or facilities staff for this information.
Step 2 – If information is not yet compiled, request annual fuel use data from fleet or facilities staff. Ensure data covers two full years of fuel use data. Ensure data is disaggregated by fuel type.
Step 3 – Establish first full year of data as the baseline year.
Step 4 – Sum all petroleum-based fuel used in the baseline year.
Step 5 – Sum all petroleum-based fuel used in the second fuel year of fuel use.
Step 6 – Subtract Y2 from BASE to produce the difference in gallons of petroleum-based fuel from the baseline year to year two.
Step 7 – Report the difference, if the difference shows a reduction (e.g., if year 2 shows less fuel use than the baseline year).
REPORTING METRIC #21 – PERCENT SUSTAINABLE COMMUTES BY MODE TYPE.
Step 1 – Visit http://factfinder.census.gov/ to access US Census data for your community.
Step 2 – Select the “Advanced Search” feature by selecting “Advanced Search” and then the “Show Me All” button.
Step 3 – Type “commuting” in the search box and select “S0801: Commuting Characteristics by Sex.”
Step 4 – Click the “Go” button.
Step 5 – Refine your search by typing your community into the search box and select your community.
Step 6 – Click the “Go” button.
Step 7 – Ensure the most recent 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) Year Estimate is selected. 5-year estimates are most accurate.
Step 8 – Click the hyperlink for “Commuting Characteristics by Sex” for the most recent ACS 5-year estimate. This will bring up a report for your community.
Step 9 – Click the “Download” button at the top of the screen to download the report.
Step 10 – Select format for download. Excel is recommended.
Step 11 – Enter data by mode type for walked, biked, and public transportation.
Walked – 1%
Biked – .1%
Public Transportation – 1.4%
REPORTING METRIC #22 – INSTALLED NON-MOTORIZED INFRASTRUCTURE. (MILES)
Step 1 – Contact transportation, project management, public works, or engineering staff for installed miles of bike lanes for the most recent calendar year or fiscal year.
Step 2 – Contact transportation, project management, public works, or engineering staff for installed miles of sidewalk for the most recent calendar year or fiscal year.