City of Chattanooga Recognized for Energy Efficiency Achievements
U.S. DOE recently recognized Better Buildings Challenge partner City of Chattanooga for energy efficiency leadership across more than 200 of its municipal facilities. 
Over a period of several decades, the City of Chattanooga has made significant progress in reversing the negative environmental impacts of local industry. As part of this work, the city joined the Better Buildings Challenge in 2015, committing to reduce energy intensity by 20%. After reaching this goal five years ahead of schedule in 2019, Chattanooga has since achieved 36% energy intensity savings across two million square feet of building space from a 2013 baseline.
The City’s Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus exemplifies this ongoing commitment to efficiency. The campus manages and treats wastewater for six counties and is the largest energy consumer of the city’s owned and operated buildings. Beginning in 2018, the Moccasin Bend Environmental Campus underwent several structural improvements to ensure long-term effective wastewater treatment for its growing population and increase resilience in times of extreme events.
To improve the facility’s efficiency and performance, the City of Chattanooga installed a 10-acre solar array, upgraded the facility’s equalization blower, retrofitted the building with LED lighting, improved water systems, and installed variable frequency drive controls. Chattanooga’s holistic approach has resulted in 27% energy and 24% water savings annually at the campus, ultimately saving $1.4 million per year.
Tennessee Minority Serving Institutions Receive Funding to Invest in Next Generation STEM Leaders
U.S. DOE recently announced $30 million in financial assistance grants to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). These grants, distributed by DOE’s Office of Environmental Management’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP), will help develop highly qualified science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and foster a well-trained, technically skilled, and inclusive workforce. By advancing the education and training of a culturally diverse workforce of scientists, engineers, and managers, MSIPP builds upon federal efforts to increase the participation, leadership, and success of students from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities.

Tennessee State University, in partnership with Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, will receive an award of $5 million to address the need for building and maintaining a well-trained, technically skilled, and diverse workforce by promoting the education and development of the next generation workforce in STEM, cybersecurity, and additive manufacturing disciplines.
Maryville College Receives EPA Grant to Provide Environmental Sustainability Kits to Schools
Maryville College will use a $100,000 grant from U.S. EPA to provide reusable kits for fourth graders in area schools to learn about the environment and sustainability in the region. The college expects to reach about 960 students, with boxes going to local elementary and middle schools.

The “Out of the Box Community Sustainability” packages will focus primarily on air and water quality issues specific to East Tennessee. Expected to be about the size of a file box, each unit is designed to be ready to use, with a lesson plan and instructions for engaging activities. 

Within the larger topics of air and water quality, the kits will delve into subjects such as the impacts of increased sedimentation into water systems, human health impacts from air quality, food security, and climate change. The activities also are designed to develop students’ critical thinking skills, such as looking at the sustainable ways of doing things that have disappeared because of convenience, such as clothes dryers replacing clotheslines in the mid-20th century, or the impact of buying groceries that are shipped long distances.
Federal Requests for Information
Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Competitive Program
U.S. DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) issued an RFI to obtain public input regarding the solicitation process and structure of a DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to fund the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECGB) Competitive Program, which aims to support units of local government ineligible for direct formula grants from DOE under the EECGB program to lower fossil fuel emissions and energy use in their jurisdictions.
Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congress authorized $550 million for the EECBG Program to assist eligible entities in implementing strategies to:
  • reduce fossil fuel emissions 
  • reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities
  • improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and other appropriate sectors.
Specifically, this RFI seeks input on:
  • Potential partnership structures and models to achieve program goals and to leverage the financial investment for deeper impact
  • Technical assistance needs of applicants and their stakeholders and partners
  • Program criteria and metrics
  • Opportunities to reduce administrative burden on award recipients while protecting against waste, fraud, and abuse
  • Employment and expanding union jobs
  • Equity, environmental, and energy justice priorities
  • Market adoption and industry sustainability
  • Build America, Buy America requirements
Click here to access the full RFI. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to no later than January 13, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern.
Preparing Workers and Businesses to Deliver Energy Efficiency and Building Electrification Measures
DOE's Office of State and Community Energy Programs issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input regarding three new workforce programs. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, this set of investments will support workforce training and the certification of professionals focused on building electrification and energy efficiency.
  • State-Based Home Energy Efficiency Contractor Training Program, offers $200 million in grants for states to prepare the contractors who electrify and install energy efficiency upgrades in residential buildings.
  • Energy Auditor Training Program, offers $40 million in grants for states to train individuals to conduct energy audits in commercial and residential buildings.
  • Career Skills Training Program, offers $10 million in grants for partnerships comprised of nonprofits, industry, and labor organizations to develop classroom instruction and on-the-job training to help individuals obtain industry-related certifications to install energy-efficient building technologies.
The deadline to respond to the RFI is January 26, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern.
White House Launches Version 1.0 of Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST)
The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) launched version 1.0 of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST), an essential step in implementing the federal Justice40 Initiative and ensuring that the benefits of federal programs are reaching communities that are overburdened by pollution and historic underinvestment.
Version 1.0 of the CEJST identifies 27,251 communities as disadvantaged or partially disadvantaged, an increase of 3,781 communities from the beta version. Communities are considered disadvantaged if they are in a census tract that meets the threshold for at least one of the tool’s categories of burden and corresponding economic indicator, or are on the lands of a Federally Recognized Tribe.
The CEJST will continue to be updated based on public feedback, which can be submitted on the CEJST website. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has also launched a committee to analyze how environmental health and geospatial data can continue to improve the screening tool. With support from the U.S. Digital Service, the CEJST uses an open-source platform that provides full transparency on the methodology and datasets used.
SBIR/STTR FY 2023 Phase I Release 2
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in high-risk, innovative research and technology development with the potential for future commercialization. U.S. DOE’s Office of Science administers the programs and awards projects in technology areas across the entire department. They are part of the larger SBIR program across the federal government, which is administered by the Small Business Administration.

In December, DOE released new funding for the SBIR/STTR program. Phase I awards are up to $200,000 for six months to one year. Details on the topics for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Phase I release are included in the funding opportunity announcement (FOA).

Prior to submitting a full application, a mandatory letter of intent is due through the Portfolio Analysis and Management System (PAMS) by January 3, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern. Click here to access a recording of the informational webinar (password: 9fZV3g3p).
Tennessee Women in Green Monthly Program
The Tennessee Women in Green (TWIG) will hold its monthly program on January 6, 2023 from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM Central at The Wond’ry in Nashville. This month’s special guest speaker is Amber Greene, the Solid Waste Director at the West Tennessee Regional Recycling Hub in Chester County and the Executive Director of Keep Chester County Beautiful. Click here to register.
Better Buildings Webinar Series
The Better Buildings Webinar Series addresses topics facing energy professionals, with experts leading the conversations on proven best practices, cost-effective strategies, and innovative ways to approach sustainability and energy performance. View all upcoming webinars here, or click on any webinar below to register.
U.S. DOE Announces Funding for Clean Energy Improvements to Lower Energy Costs for K-12 Schools
U.S. DOE recently announced first-of-its-kind investments to make clean energy improvements at K-12 public schools. Funds will position school districts to make upgrades that will lower facilities’ energy costs and foster healthier learning environments for students. Schools can now apply for the first round of the Renew America's Schools grant, up to $80 million of the $500 million program, to make energy improvements in the highest-need districts across the country. Eligible uses of funding include energy efficiency upgrades (envelope, HVAC, lighting, controls, etc.), ventilation, renewable energy, alternative fuel vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure improvements. Concept papers are due January 26, 2023, and full applications will be due April 21, 2023. Click here to begin the application process.

The Energy Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools Prize (Energy CLASS Prize) program is also accepting applications for up to 25 local education agencies to receive $100,000 to staff and train select administration and facilities personnel as energy managers. Applications are due February 28, 2023 at 4:00 PM Central.
U.S. DOE Announces $45 Million to Support Resilient and Efficient Building Energy Codes
U.S. DOE recently announced $45 million in competitive grants to help states and partnering organizations implement updated building energy codes and lower energy bills for American families and businesses. This funding is the first installment of a 5-year, $225 million program established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support building energy code adoption, training, and technical assistance at the state and local level.

Applicants may now apply for the Resilient and Efficient Codes Implementation Program's first $45 million disbursement, which was announced earlier this year in a Notice of Intent and shaped by responses to a Request for Information. Applicants must include a state agency to be eligible, and they may apply in strategic partnership with other organizations, such as state or local building departments, builders, contractors, architects, engineers, other design and construction professionals, academia, research, trade organizations, consumer advocates, regional energy efficiency organizations, and other stakeholder interests who play an important role supporting the successful implementation of building codes.

To apply for this Funding Opportunity Announcement, applicants must register with and submit application materials through EERE Exchange here. Applicants must submit a concept paper by January 31, 2023 at 5:00 PM Eastern, and full applications are due March 27, 2023.
BENEFIT 2022/2023 Funding
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is issuing, on behalf of the Building Technologies Office (BTO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) titled “Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2022/2023”.

The 2022/2023 BENEFIT FOA will invest up to $15.35M - $45.2M across 5 topic areas to allow all interested parties to research and develop high-impact, cost-effective technologies and practices that will reduce carbon emissions, improve flexibility and resilience, as well as lower energy costs.
  • Topic 1: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning and Water Heating: Technologies with improved materials, components, equipment design and engineering, lower cost manufacturing processes, and easier installation.
  • Topic 2: Thermal Energy Storage (TES): Development and validation of next generation plug-and-play TES products with improved cost and performance and ease of installation to accelerate adoption of TES in HVAC applications.
  • Topic 3: Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): Development, validation, and demonstration of product innovations that reduce the cost of BESS integration, improve the coordination between distributed BESS and the electrical grid, as well as help meet building decarbonization targets.
  • Topic 4: Plug Loads/Lighting: Integration of plug load controls with connected lighting systems in commercial buildings with minimal cost and complexity to support building electrification.
  • Topic 5: Opaque Building Envelope: Development, validation, and demonstration of high-impact, affordable, opaque building envelope retrofit and diagnostic technologies.

BTO has compiled a teaming partner list to facilitate widespread participation in this FOA. This list allows organizations with expertise in the topics to express their interest to potential applicants and to explore potential partnerships. Concept papers are due February 7, 2023 by 5:00 PM Eastern, and full applications are due April 5, 2023. Click here to access the full FOA.
White House Announces $72 Million for New Clean Energy Workforce Training Program
U.S. DOE is announcing the availability of $18.75 million to establish up to five regional Centers of Excellence from among the highest-performing existing Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC). The selected centers will serve as regional hubs for the IAC Program, advising other IACs and collaborating with government, nonprofit, labor, and industry actors to support small- and medium-sized manufacturers in their respective regions. Applications are due on February 17, 2023.

Additionally, DOE issued a notice of intent (NOI) to invest $54 million through a future funding opportunity announcement to create IACs at community colleges, trade schools and union training programs, and to establish Building Training and Assessment Centers (BTAC). These new IACs and BTACs will build upon the demonstrated success of applied learning environments and hands-on training approaches of existing IACs while drawing on the unique strengths, geographic reach, and faculty/student composition of trade schools, community colleges, and union training programs. The new IACs will focus on training workforce by providing hands-on support to small and medium manufactures. BTAC students and trainees will conduct critical energy efficiency assessments and upgrades to improve the environmental performance of commercial and institutional buildings. Consistent with the Justice40 Initiative, the programs will provide services in areas that have been historically underserved and underfunded.

Learn more about both announcements by visiting DOE’s Offices of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains and State and Community Energy Programs.
U.S. DOE Launches EAS-E Prize to Accelerate Equitable, Affordable, and Simple Solutions for Home Electrification
The American-Made Equitable and Affordable Solutions to Electrification Prize (EAS-E Prize) is offering $2.4 million in cash prizes and technical assistance vouchers to innovators who can help simplify the electrification processes for contractors and implementers. The prize aims to make the process faster and more affordable for homeowners across diverse communities and all housing types.

The two-phase EAS-E Prize was developed by U.S. DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) to further the development and deployment of “easy electrification” approaches. Home electrification is a decarbonization strategy that replaces fuel-burning home appliances with electric products such as heat pump technologies, solar photovoltaics, electric vehicle charging, and energy storage technologies. Electrification is one of several strategies BTO is pursuing to reduce the carbon footprint of the U.S. building stock while maintaining or improving affordability, comfort, and performance.

Follow the EAS-E Prize on for all prize-related updates. Phase 1 submissions are due by March 8, 2023.
2022 Energy Efficiency Impact Report
Over the decades, energy efficiency has transformed the way we use energy and has helped build a cleaner economy that is more secure, more affordable, and more productive. After several years of slowed progress, recent federal funding provides the opportunity for states, local governments, businesses, and households to further investments in energy efficiency.

Given the accelerating urgency of climate change and the race to improve U.S. productivity and competitiveness in a quickly evolving international market, we need to fully capitalize on the expansive, diverse, affordable, and innovative energy efficiency toolkit.

Using 59 indicators, the Energy Efficiency Impact Report tracks progress in a variety of sectors, including utilities, buildings, industry, and transportation and examines how policy and other tools are used to incentivize energy efficiency. 
Visit the TDEC Office of Energy Programs Website at
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