Clean Energy Solutions

Chapel Hill Homes and Building Program

Local Economic Development

The Chapel Hill Homes and Building Program

CESI’s relationship with the Town of Chapel Hill began in late 2010, when we met John Richardson, Chapel Hill’s Sustainability Officer.  Chapel Hill had received formula EECBG dollars, and was also applying for competitive Better Buildings funds.  We worked closely with John, Chapel Hill Town staff, citizen advisory groups, and the Town Council to write a plan for the formula dollars and receive approval on this plan.  This involved:

  • Identifying target markets to be served
  • Specifying energy efficiency measures to be targeted
  • Collaborating with potential community partners
  • Developing a budget and plan for formula funds
  • Creating performance targets and metrics for assessing progress towards these targets.

After a highly collaborative writing and planning process, this plan was approved in Winter 2011.

CESI also worked with Chapel Hill and Carrboro to write their applications for competitive Better Buildings funds, which would allow significant expansion of the program described in the formula grant plan.  We were successful in winning $20M to be shared between Chapel Hill and 12 other southeastern municipalities.  Chapel Hill and Carrboro, instead of hiring a new employee to manage and implement the Towns’ energy efficiency programs, asked CESI to “insource” an employee to work specifically on the Chapel Hill and Carrboro program implementation.

In close partnership with the Towns, CESI implemented the program vision described in the Better Buildings application.  This involved:

  • Working with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA), the umbrella grant recipient, to meet reporting requirements to DOE
  • Identifying target sectors to be served and criteria for eligibility to participate in the program
  • Creating an incentive schedule and maximum incentive limits to target certain energy efficiency measures over others
  • Naming the program – The Chapel Hill Homes and Building Program
  • Identifying and pre-qualifying contractors to participate in the program
  • Contracting with a local firm to provide QA
  • Marketing the program through existing community channels, an online campaign, community events, and the Towns’ websites
  • Managing homeowner and business-owner requests and questions
  • Working with the Towns to meet various administrative, contracting, and reporting requirements
  • Implementing a software solution for homeowners, contractors, town administrators, and program participants
  • Overseeing the first residential and commercial applications and retrofits, which were in high demand.

Our partnership with Chapel Hill and Carrboro is an excellent example of a public-private partnership that allowed CESI to oversee early program implementation, while giving the Towns the opportunity to learn alongside CESI staff.  We are proud of the resulting WISE program, and its impact in North Carolina.