The Baltimore Energy Initiative is a three-year, multi-agency program focused on reducing energy consumption in Baltimore City. It is funded by a 54 million dollar Customer Investment Fund grant that resulted from the merger of Exelon and Constellation in 2012. The overall program has three primary goals around energy efficiency:
In order to accomplish these goals, Baltimore City formed a coalition of agencies to provide a range of services to both individuals and businesses. Beginning in 2013, these agencies began to implement the BEI program.
JFI-BNIA’s role in the BEI is to serve as a third-party provider of evaluation, measurement, and verification (EMV) services for the overall program. In addition, JFI-BNIA’s role includes managing and integrating the various datasets from the different programs in the BEI. The program is currently in its third year and final year, which means three years of longitudinal data will be available when the FY2016 report is written.
The BEI is composed of four main elements – community empowerment, energy assistance and case management, energy efficiency, and energy efficiency plus. These programs, moving from community empowerment to energy efficiency plus, provide progressively intensive services for building energy security and reduce energy consumption.
Community Empowerment Program – motivated 14,217 residents to sign public pledges
committing to reduce energy use.
Retrofits and Upgrades – Community Energy Savers Grants and Loans – provided loans to 27 non-
profit and city facilities for weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades.
Cogeneration – Combined Heat and Power – initiated four separate intensive conversion
processes at Baltimore City facilities.
Urban Heat Island Mitigation – planted 541 trees planted, removed 19,480 square feet of
concrete removed, installed 1 commercial and 3 residential CoolRoofs.
Energy Assistance and Case Management
Energy Assistance – provided 1,029 Baltimore City residents with energy assistance.
Case Management – provided wraparound case management for 244 residents that tracks
progress toward energy security and economic stability.
Energy Efficiency Program – provided light weatherization and energy efficiency services to
Energy Efficiency Plus
Energy Efficiency Plus – provided heavy weatherization service to 1,071 households, including
521 heating system replacements and 384 roofing replacements.
For the Community Engagement portion of the BEI, Baltimore City is mobilizing three agencies to improve building energy systems, educate communities to maximize energy savings, and plant trees and install cool roofs to reduce the urban heat island effect – the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability, the Office of Sustainable Energy (OSE) in the Department of Public Works, and the Forestry Division in the Department of Recreation & Parks. These three agencies build of each other’s programs in order to leverage the maximum cumulative impact for reducing energy consumption.
Community Empowerment Program (CEP) – This is a program of the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability in partnership with Civic Works, Inc. and the Baltimore Community Foundation. CEP provides education to Baltimore City residents on energy saving practices and behaviors through a grassroots effort in neighborhoods and schools as well as through in-home consultations and a service that provides free energy-saving materials to tenants and homeowners. In FY2015, CEP staff, working with partners in the BEI Energy Efficiency Program and Baltimore City’s Community Action Centers, motivated 14,217 residents sign a public pledge committing to reduce energy consumption. CEP staff also handed out 3,916 energy saver kits, recruited 183 energy captains, engaged 30 businesses regarding energy efficiency, partnered with 10 school hubs to provide energy education, and attended 420 city-wide events to present on energy efficiency measures.
Retrofits and Upgrades – Community Energy Savers Grants and Loans – This program is coordinated by the Office of Sustainable Energy (OSE) in the Department of Public Works. For the BEI, OSE is running three programs; 1) a grant program for nonprofits for energy upgrades to facilities, 2) a low interest loan program overseen by Healthy Neighborhoods, Inc. (HNI) and The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), and 3) energy upgrades to city facilities. In FY2015, this program provided loans to 27 non-profit and city facilities to complete a range of weatherization and energy efficiency upgrades. This included providing technical assistance and energy education to facility managers and staff of these non-profits. For city agencies, this program provided funding to upgrade four facilities that included a homeless shelter, police station, library, and a multi-use city building. Another element of this work included robust outreach to non-profit organizations and city agencies about the Retrofits and Upgrade program.
Cogeneration – Combined Heat and Power – This program is also coordinated by the Office of Sustainable Energy (OSE) in the Department of Public Works. During FY2015, OSE made significant progress in developing combined heat and power with the goals of ensuring stable and efficient energy supply and reducing Baltimore City’s reliance on the larger electrical grid. In FY2015, four separate projects for cogeneration have been initiated and are at varying stages in the conversion process: 1) Back River Waste Water Treatment Plant, 2) Patapsco Waste Water Treatment Plant, 3) Ashburton Water Filtration Plant, and 4) Baltimore City Police Headquarters and the adjourning Central District. In addition, OSE evaluated three city schools that operate swimming pools.
Urban Heat Island Mitigation – This program is designed to reduce excessive heat related to the urban heat island effect. It consists of two sub-programs, TreeBaltimore and CoolRoofs. For TreeBaltimore, 541 trees were planted throughout the city, 405 new tree pits were created, 134 existing pits were expanded, and 68 old stumps were removed for new plantings. For the new and expanded tree pits, this involved removing 19,480 square feet of concrete which has the benefit of reducing impermeable surface within the city. The CoolRoof Program completed one large commercial/non-profit cool roof installation, as well as 3 residential cool roof installations. The program also worked to increase awareness by canvassing door-to-door in two target heat island neighborhoods, reaching over 500 residences. A number of cool roof installations were set-up and planned for implementation after the end of FY2015 and will be reported in the FY2016 report.
The Energy Assistance and Case Management programs are primarily managed by the Mayor’s Office of Human Services (MOHS) Community Action Partnership (CAP). This combined program enables
MOHS to pair assistance for energy bills to low-income households with case management services. CAP staff provide energy education to clients, direct them to additional services and track their progress in becoming energy secure.
Energy Assistance (EA) – The Mayor’s Office of Human Services (MOHS) Community Action
Partnership (CAP) administers services and delivery systems that promote self-sufficiency for low-income households. CAP operates the Office of Home Energy Programs and five Community Action Centers (CACs) that are geographically dispersed throughout Baltimore City. The basic premise of this program is that energy assistance must be combined with other social services in order to help low-income households reach energy security. Using energy assistance as an intake point, resources from these programs are targeted to ensure efficiency and impact. This framework allows the CAP program to transform energy assistance from a single social service to a larger portal that directs customers into the optimal level of education, energy efficiency and case management requisite to their unique needs. In FY2015, CAP staff were able to provide 1,029 Baltimore City residents with energy assistance in FY2015, while processing 4,307 applications. In addition, program staff were able to educate 17,255 residents about energy efficiency measures.
Case Management – The MOHS Community Action Partnership (CAP) case management model under the Customer Investment Fund centers on a targeted approach to energy assistance customers with excess usage and arrearage problems that meet the needs of both the family and the house in which they reside. Through case management, customers are monitored over time to track improvement in key indicators of energy security using the Home Energy Insecurity Scale, used by Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). CAP staff screen clients for 23 different government benefits through its case management services. In addition to the government benefits, customers are also informed of local community resources such as food pantries, farmer’s markets, ESL classes and first time homeowner classes. During FY2015, CAP staff were able to provide case management for 244 residents who qualified for energy assistance.
Energy Efficiency Program – This program is led by the Baltimore City Office of Sustainability in partnership with Civic Works, Inc. and the Baltimore Community Foundation. Its goals are to educate Baltimore City residents on energy saving behaviors through a grassroots effort in neighborhoods and schools as well as through in-home consultations and a service that provides free energy-saving materials to tenants and homeowners. During FY2015, the Energy Efficiency Program provided light weatherization and energy efficiency services to 4,715 households. This included 80,710 energy efficient lightbulbs that were installed, 7,903 flow restricting aerators, 3,986 low-flow showerheads, and 7,573 feet of water pipe insulation. This resulted in annualized energy savings of 4,749,160 kWh, coincident peak demand savings of 771.47 kW, and lifecycle energy savings of 35,275,044 kWh.
Energy Efficiency Plus – This program is administered by Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The program goals are to provide weatherization services, in coordination with lead abatement and health upgrades, to low-income families by integrating public and nonprofit agency services. BEI funded elements overcome obstacles that historically have been barriers for low-income families to receive energy conservation services. These obstacles are especially evident and problematic in Baltimore City’s aging and distressed housing stock, and so the HCD element is especially important in providing services to households most in need of weatherization services. In FY2105, HCD oversaw the weatherization of 1,071 households. This included 521 heating system replacements, 384 roofing replacements, 384 weatherization enhancements, 400 health and safety measures installed, and 113 furnace conversions. This resulted in annualized energy savings of 1,992,961 kWh and lifecycle energy savings of 28,077,415 kWh.
Seema Iyer – Associate Director of the Jacob France Institute
P: (410) 837-5797
Brandon Nida – Research Associate
P: (410) 837-6552