The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network collaborates to accelerate the adoption of economically viable, socially equitable, and environmentally responsible best practices in American Southeastern communities. We do this by sharing information and problem solving together.
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   The Southeast Sustainability Directors Network:
   August Update

Case Study: Renewable Energy Planning and Zoning
Generating electricity from Renewable Energy (RE) sources can play a significant role in advancing cities sustainability goals and reducing carbon outputs. Many cities in the Southeast have found RE to be an expensive and confusing venture, as what is “normal” in California can still be challenging in this region. It has to be proven, preferably by trusted neighboring communities, and needs to have a life beyond flash in the pan grants driven by shifting federal agendas. RE Planning Guides like this one, while somewhat helpful, rarely feature RE ordinances from this region. These basic steps outline how to plan for the long-term shift in city energy portfolios:
  1. Know your three pillars. The Southeastern U.S. has a variety of readily available RE sources, including land to generate biomass, coastal wind, water tables accessible enough to tap for geothermal, and enough sunlight that can produce high return on investment on solar installations. To understand what will work in a specific community, take time to understand specific economic capabilities, cultural perceptions, and environmental realities. This article gives insight into why RE has been slower to grow in the South.
  2. Learn who is doing what and how. Studies like this one point to tools the Southeast is using right now at the State and Local level. There is rarely just one measure applied. Rather, it’s a portfolio of EE and RE strategies, policies, regulations, and incentives that move the needle urban center by urban center.
  3. Start with Energy Efficiency (EE) – Putting RE into a building system that hasn’t been weatherized is like putting icing on a cake before it’s baked. Planning for RE should be done after EE needs have been assessed. RE grants or incentives should only follow EE actions. More on this topic here.
  4. Know local utility and governing State structures. Every Southeastern State with the exception of North Carolina is absent a RE Portfolio Standard. Knowing State barriers can help navigate around them. Similarly important is a working understanding of the local utility profit structure you are operating in. This knowledge can foster conversations that start on similar ground.
  5. Understand the incentives. Those who went through the Solar Cities program know this site like an old friend. It’s a State-by-State database of Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, and can help when designing local EE and RE programs.
  6. Lean on Peers. Cities like Asheville, NC; Knoxville, TN; and Orlando, FL have made great strides incorporating EE and RE into their sustainability plans. Reach out to SSDN members there to learn how.
  7. Use resources from other sectors. Enough work has been done so you don’t have to invent the EE and RE wheel when it comes to planning and zoning. Check out partners like DOE, ACEEE, SACE, and SEEA for the how-to’s of energy planning, ordinances, and zoning.
Bottom Line
Don’t look for the silver bullet. Understand local economic, social, and environmental assets and constraints. Look for peer examples. Then, begin building a program that addresses both energy efficiency measures and growing renewable energy contributions. Make sure it suits your individual community needs and works within your governing structures.

Funding Announcements

USDN Peer Learning Exchange - Applications Due November 20th
The USDN Peer Learning Exchange Grant Selection Committee will support a number of 1-to-1 or small group peer exchanges that will be chosen through this RFP process. In comparison to the Innovation Fund, peer exchange grants: 1) are quicker to turn around, 2) award smaller funding amounts, 3) are narrower in scope, 4) don’t involve a third party/consultant, and 5) don’t have to be innovative. The RFP and more details can be found here.

USDN General RFP - SSDN Letter of Intent to Propose Invited: Energy Efficiency and Equity Programming
The USDN Innovation Fund Steering Committee invited Knoxville, TN to submit a full proposal for equity programming in energy efficiency. The letter of intent is here. Contact Erin Gill (Knoxville, TN) if you would like to be a part of proposal development. Final proposals are due to the Innovation Fund on November 19, 2015.

If funded, this would be the third USDN Innovation Grant to SSDN members: 2014 Adaptation Planning Grant, Peter Nierengarten (Fayetteville, AR) and 2015 Community Based Social Marketing Campaign, Estevan Baza (Oldsmar, FL).

Top SSDN Members Posts

Please continue to share with us what you're learning or needing to know on We look forward to sharing your posts in the newsletter next month.

Can't log on to USDN?  SSDN members, reply to this email or send Maggie a note to get log-in information. Posters, be sure to tag the Southeast so everyone can see.  A tutorial for the site is here.

At the annual meeting three topics peaked your interest: Integrated Planning, Climate 101, and PREP Phase II. Below are scheduled calls for members to discuss each idea, and the possibility of moving forward with grant proposals and collaboration concepts. If you are interested in any of these efforts please mark your calendar and dial into the call.

Integrated and Comprehensive Planning Call: Proposal Development Call September 11 at 3:00 pm EST
Call Info: 530-881-1212, meeting ID 581-382-689

This call continues the conversation about the importance of integrated and comprehensive planning for sustainability. A group of members began gathering research and sharing information this summer; see information here.  This call will continue the dialog to see if members want to potentially pursue a Peer Learning Exchange grant. around this topic.
Interested Communities: Asheville, NC; Cary,  NC; Charleston, SC; Durham, NC; Franklin, TN; Fayetteville, AR; Memphis, TN; Orlando, FL; Savannah, GA; Raleigh, NC; and Sunrise, FL. 

Climate 101 Training Call: Proposal Development Call September 24 at 3:30 pm EST
Call Info: 530-881-1212, meeting ID 581-382-689

This call will outline the intent to apply for a Peer Learning Exchange grant. If awarded, SSDN members will travel to Fort Lauderdale, FL to learn how to deliver Climate 101 Trainings to municipal employees.
Interested Communities: Asheville, NC; Charleston,  SC; Fayetteville, AR; Fort Lauderdale, FL;  Oldsmar, FL; Raleigh, NC; and Sarasota, FL.

PREP Workshop Phase II Call: Proposal Concept Development Call October 9 at 11:00 am EST
Call Info: 530-881-1212, meeting ID 581-382-689

This call is for members interested in conducting a second phase of the Partnership for Resilience and Planning (PREP) project. This would support additional southern cities receiving adaptation training. PREP is a peer learning and training effort for Sustainability Directors to learn how to start the conversation about adaption and resilience planning in their community. This call will focus on developing a concept paper for use in identifying a funding source.
Interested Communities: Sarasota County, FL; Savannah, GA; and Wilmington, NC.
CDP Cities North America invites you to the 2015 Workshop: 
City Resilience and Climate Management: Driving Change, Accelerating Practice
Join them for educational and interactive panels, discussions, and breakout sessions around climate measurement and management. Collaborate with your peers, gain insight into leveraging the private sector, and learn how to position your city for green investment opportunities. City leaders will have the opportunity to learn from our host city, the City of Charlotte, a fast-growing leader that is defining their environmental ambition through economic development, energy innovation, and building healthy communities. 
Topics will include: 
Target setting - 100% RE, Carbon Neutral, science-based targets. Which one and how? 
Realizing Common Goals: Companies and Cities working together in mitigation  U.S. Clean Power Plan – What does it mean for cities?  What’s money got to do with it? Investors discuss financing cities climate work.
Where? Foundation for the Carolinas, 220 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC 28202
When? October 14th and 15th, 2015 
There is no cost to attend this workshop. To express interest in attending, please contact Very limited travel resource may be available for select cities to attend. 
Copyright © 2015 Southeast Sustainability Directors Network, All rights reserved.

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