Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Solicitation

Questions and Answers.

Questions and answers listed here have been submitted in response to the solicitation for the Nebraska Energy Office’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants. Questions submitted electronically are usually answered within three working days. Questions asked in person or on the phone cannot be answered to ensure fairness to all potential applicants.

December 4, 2009

Can the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grants be used to purchase and install water meters in a Village that currently has none?
Since there would be no energy savings resulting from this activity and it is not one of the three eligible activity categories, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds could not be used for this proposed project.

The Village owns an apartment building which has four units that are rentals. The building is 35 years old, has the original furnaces, windows and doors and window air conditioners upstairs. Can this money be used for replacing the furnaces along with central air and the windows and doors? If so what do we have to do to apply for this?
Since the property is owned by the Village and is an eligible category – building retrofits – this project would be eligible. If you decide to apply for grants you will need to complete the application package and have documented bids to support your costs.

Do you require the communities LMI to be at 51 or above like the CDBG does? I am interested in this program and would like to know a little more regarding the requirements.
Requirements for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants do not have the same criteria as Community Development Block Grants, so factors such as Low-Moderate Income rankings do not apply. If your community or county did not receive a direct grant under the EECBG program, you are eligible to apply.

Your email states that counties that “did not receive direct funding under the Energy and Conservation Block Grant Program are eligible for this program.” Our county received only $99,900, which we did apply for and were awarded. Does that remove us from being eligible to participate in this program?
Since you already received direct funding under the EECBG program, your county is not eligible for these grant funds.

One of the issues that we are looking into as a local energy supplier is the ability to control energy consumption and minimize the impact on peak demands, leading to conservation in general and as a community-wide effort. The best way to control this is through a Smart Metering program. Would this type of activity be eligible?
This type of proposed project is not one of the three eligible categories: street and traffic lighting, building retrofits and renewable energy. So, it would not be eligible for funding.

I do not know a lot about street lights. Does this grant include replacing our Mercury Vapor street lights with new 250W High Pressure Sodium lights?
The Energy Office description of Traffic Signals and Street Lighting below is from page 5 of the solicitation that was issued on December 3, 2009:

  1. Traffic Signals and Street Lighting:  Entities may use grant funds to replace traffic signals and street lighting with energy efficient lighting technologies, including light emitting diodes and induction lighting; and any other technology of equal or greater energy efficiency. 

Street lights using High Pressure Sodium technology would be allowed.  It is important to note that a primary criteria for getting a grant will be energy savings.  Replacing street lights  presently using 250 watt Mercury Vapor with a like number of 250 watt High Pressure Sodium bulbs would not result in any energy savings since both use 250 watts.  However, 125 watt High Pressure Sodium, Induction Lighting, and LED Lighting, all have a comparable light output to a 250 watt Mercury Vapor light.  Changing out equal numbers of 250 watt Mercury Vapor bulbs with 125 watt High Pressure Sodium, Induction, or LED could have a 50 percent energy savings. While Induction and LED may have a higher initial price, the life of the lamps are rated as much as 4 times higher, making costs over the life of the lamps similar.  LEDs also have the ability to adjust the watts used according to light required, which can result in further savings, and many LED fixtures are available with this type of ballast.

Professionals at Nebraska Public Power District, Omaha Public Power District, NMPP Energy, rural electrics and local utility staff may be able to provide you with technical assistance on these types of projects.   


December 8, 2009

Would a nonprofit local development corporation be eligible for a grant to retrofit a building it owns or must the building be owned by the city?
A nonprofit local development corporation cannot submit a grant application for consideration since it is not an eligible entity.  However, an eligible city or county could decide to submit the project, but there is a limit of one grant application per political subdivision, except the subdivision could also be included in a group submittal.  If the town (or county) decided to submit the project, ownership of the structure would not be a factor for disqualification.  

In planning for a building retrofit project, the city will incur engineering and related costs. Can these costs be included in the grant?
No, any costs incurred prior to the issuance of an aid agreement for an EECBG project cannot be reimbursed.

Can costs incurred in advance be counted as part of the required 20 percent match for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant?
No, these costs cannot be counted as part of the applicant’s required 20 percent match since these costs were incurred prior to issuance of an aid agreement. 

Our county is renovating the courthouse. Included in that project will be a new heating and air cooling system, as well as new windows. Would this type of project be eligible?
Yes, this type of project would be eligible for a grant if the proposed equipment meets the standards listed in the solicitation on pages 4-6.  A copy of the solicitation can be found at http://www.neo.ne.gov/grants/EECBG.htm.


December 9, 2009

How do you calculate greenhouse gas emissions?
To calculate emissions data, use the Environmental Protection Agency’s, web-based emissions calculator at http://www.epa.gov/RDEE/energy-resources/calculator.html.

To use the calculator you must first determine the amount of energy saved, or generated in the case of renewable energy.  That amount of energy must reflect the type of energy saved and must be converted to either:
A. Therms of Natural Gas
B. Kilowatt-hours of electricity, or
C. Gallons of gasoline.

For instance, if your project is an improvement from electric resistance heat to a heat pump, you would convert your savings to kilowatt hours.  If your project is an improvement from an 80 percent natural gas furnace to a 95 percent natural gas furnace, you would convert to therms.  If your project is an improvement from one fuel source to another, you would calculate the total emissions used from both sources and find the difference.  If using fuel oil, diesel, or kerosene, convert on a British thermal unit basis to gallons of gasoline.  If using propane convert on a British thermal unit basis to natural gas.


December 11, 2009

Can an application have more than one project?
Yes, an application can include projects from more than one category.  However, each project will require a separate Narrative, Scope of Work and SF424-A-NE Budget. 

Funding for the proposed project will come from two parts: 80 percent grant from the state’s Recovery funds and 20 percent from the applicant. How is the match calculated?
From the Solicitation, page 7:

“COST SHARING
Cost share of at least 20 percent of the total project cost requested for the projects is required.  In-kind cost-share is not permitted.  The cost share must come from non-Federal sources.  The sum of the Nebraska Energy Office’s share and the recipient share of allowable costs equals the total cost of the project.”

Will providing more than a 20 percent match improve the prospects of an application being selected?
Yes, one of the evaluation components (Solicitation, page 12) is “amount of resources leveraged from local governments, utilities, private sector and non-profit organizations…”

Has the state established fund amounts for the three project categories?
No, the Energy Office has not allocated a certain amount for lighting, building or renewable energy projects.

How will Nebraska Public Power District’s EnergyWise program interact with the EECBG program?
The utility’s program is separate from the Recovery Act funded EECBG program.  Nebraska Public Power District intends to continue to provide incentives to its customers no matter what source of funding is used to pay for the project. 

We have two lighting projects: one in a building and the other is street lighting. Can they be combined in one application?
Yes, both projects can be listed in one application.  However, because the projects come from two different categories – street and traffic lighting and building retrofit – a separate Narrative, Scope of Work and SF424-A-NE Budget for each will be required. 

Can applicants who are eligible for NPPD’s EnergyWise incentives count those as part of the required cash match?
No.  Since the incentives would not be received from the utility until after the project was completed, the incentives cannot be counted as part of the match. 

Can NPPD’s EnergyWise incentives be listed as additional leverage above the 20 percent match?
No, the Energy Office has not allocated a certain amount for lighting, building or renewable energy projects.

Can a project be started before the May 1, 2010 date for projects being selected for funding?
No.  Any project started prior to selection cannot be funded.  Applicants may, however, conduct necessary architectural and engineering studies to determine the types of equipment and costs. 

Our community plans on retrofitting a building. We also plan to use city crews to perform part of the work. Can their salaries be counted as match?
No.  The salaries of the city employees would be classified as “in kind” match and as such not eligible.   Only cash match is allowed. 

Can a community submit a project in a public or private school?
No.  Under Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding schools are not eligible.  The Recovery Act provided considerable funding for school renovation projects.  Contact the state’s Department of Education for more information on Recovery Act funding.   The Energy Office does provide 2.5 percent loans of up to $750,000 for energy efficiency building improvements in commercial buildings which includes public and private schools. 


December 14, 2009

Where can I get a list of cities and counties that did not receive direct Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant's are eligible for this solicitation?
There are 83 counties and about 500 cities, towns and villages eligible for Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants.  It’s a lot easier to list those entities that are ineligible:

Cities
Bellevue
Fremont
Grand Island
Hastings
Kearney
Lincoln
Norfolk
North Platte
Omaha
Papillion

Counties
Cass
Dakota
Dawson
Douglas
Gage
Lancaster
Platte
Sarpy
Saunders
Scotts Bluff

 

 

 

 

 




Is it possible for one community to submit an application with retrofits in two community-owned buildings?
Yes, it is possible to submit retrofit projects for two buildings.  However, these would be deemed two projects and would require two Project Narratives, two Scopes of Work and two SF424-NE- Budgets and two Budget Justifications.   The maximum grant amount remains at $250,000 no matter how many projects are included in one application. 

Can EECBG funds be used to purchase heat pumps to reduce the city swimming pool energy costs?
No, a swimming pool is not a building and therefore would be ineligible as a building retrofit project.   Additionally, when Congress funded the EECBG program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, certain types of projects were classified as ineligible.  The Recovery Act prohibits, without exception, the use of fund for projects related to swimming pools.


December 16, 2009

What is the TIN Number listed on Form SF-424 NE? Is it our federal tax identification number?
Yes, the TIN, or Tax Identification Number is the same as a Federal Tax Identification Number.

Does our community only qualify for EECBG funds based on the income of residents? We are currently in the process of conducting an income survey with the assistance of Northeast Nebraska Economic Development Department.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants are not income based.  Communities and counties qualify for these grants only if they did not receive a direct EECBG allocation.   Only the ten largest cities and counties in the state received direct EECBG allocations.

Could these funds be used for a new project?
Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants are predicated on reducing energy use.  Projects are limited to the three categories outlined in the solicitation:  Traffic and Street Lighting, Building Retrofits and Renewable Energy Projects.  Renewable energy projects could be new, but the energy generated from those systems would have to reduce energy use in the community.  Any project that increases energy use would not be funded. 

Our school is in the midst of design and development to increase the energy efficiency of our secondary school facilities. The project would include energy efficient windows, new energy efficient lighting, improving the indoor air quality, and replace the equipment throughout the building for our 60 year old steam boiler system, or replace the old steam boiler with a more efficient hot water system. The cost of the project will range from $400,000 to $725,000. Can EECBG funds be used for this type of project?
This question was answered December 11.  The answer is repeated below:
Using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds for projects in schools is not an eligible use.  The Recovery Act provided considerable funding for school renovation projects.  Contact the state’s Department of Education for more information on Recovery Act funding.   The Energy Office does provide 2.5 percent loans of up to $750,000 for energy efficiency building improvements in commercial buildings which includes public and private schools. 


December 18, 2009

We are preparing project budgets for a county project and for a municipal project and they are asking if they can include the cost of grant administration Davis Bacon Wage Compliance paper work, reporting requirements, financial management, maintenance of files, etc. as part of the grant budget?
Yes, grant administration – the types of activities listed in the question – is part of the cost of the project and can be included in the budget.   Applicants should allow no more than 5 percent of the grant for administration. 

We are preparing project budgets for a county project and for a municipal project and they are asking if they can include the cost of grant administration Davis Bacon Wage Compliance paper work, reporting requirements, financial management, maintenance of files, etc. as part of the grant budget?
There are no requirements regarding the types of professionals a community may use to implement a project. 

Can we use city employees to implement a lighting project and count their salary as part of our required match?
This question was previously answered on December 11, 2009 and is reprinted below:

Our community plans on retrofitting a building. We also plan to use city crews to perform part of the work. Can their salaries be counted as match?
No.  The salaries of the city employees would be classified as “in kind” match and as such not eligible.   Only cash match is allowed. 

Has NPPD established a standard for LED streetlights?
No.  Lincoln Electric System and other utilities have conducted small scale tests of LED streetlights.   You might want to contact them regarding their assessment of this technology in this application.  

Each project in one application requires a set of documents (Scope of Work, Project Narrative, Budget and Budget Justification). Is it possible that one project in an application that contains several projects could be selected for funding and not all?
Yes, it is possible that one project in a multi-project application could be selected.  Until all applications are received, the Energy Office won’t know if communities and counties are seeking more funds than are available.

Our project involves adding insulation in three different buildings. Is this one project or three?
This would be three projects.  Each building or facility is considered a project.  Within one project there can be several types of energy efficiency measures or improvements, such as heating, lighting and insulation. 

Can improvements in a hospital be submitted in an application?
Yes, a hospital (either community, county or non-profit owned) could be submitted as one project by an eligible applicant (nondirect city or county).  

Can efficiency projects in non-profits or schools be submitted for funding?
These questions were previously answered.  See below:

December 8, 2009
Would a nonprofit local development corporation be eligible for a grant to retrofit a building it owns or must the building be owned by the city?

A nonprofit local development corporation cannot submit a grant application for consideration since it is not an eligible entity.  However, an eligible city or county could decide to submit the project, but there is a limit of one grant application per political subdivision, except the subdivision could also be included in a group submittal.  If the town (or county) decided to submit the project, ownership of the structure would not be a factor for disqualification.  

December 11, 2009
Can a community submit a project in a public or private school?

No.  Under Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding schools are not eligible.  The Recovery Act provided considerable funding for school renovation projects.  Contact the state’s Department of Education for more information on Recovery Act funding.   The Energy Office does provide 2.5 percent loans of up to $750,000 for energy efficiency building improvements in commercial buildings which includes public and private schools. 

On renewable projects such as a wind turbine, the limit is 20 KW. Can more than one turbine be in a project?
No, the limit is one turbine 20 KW or smaller.   Any turbine larger than 20 KW would automatically trigger a National Environmental Policy Act review which could take several months or more than a year which would eliminate the project from being funded. 

When will successful applicants be announced?
The Energy Office expects to announce grant recipients around May 1, 2010.

We are proposing different types of projects in a maintenance shed and a county courthouse. Would these be two projects?
Yes, these would be different projects since they are different buildings.  Each would require separate Scopes of Work, Project Narratives, Budgets and Budget Justifications.

Will successful applicants have to pay for costs up front and be reimbursed later by the state?
Cash advances for successful project applicants may be possible. This issue is typically handled during the negotiations regarding specifics in an aid agreement. For example, a successful applicant could begin the project with their cash match, then drawdown EECBG funds based upon satisfactory progress of a project.

Our village would like to apply on behalf of a local manufacturer to install more energy efficient lighting in the manufacturer’s building. Is this allowable, or does the manufacturer apply for a grant?
A manufacturer is not an eligible applicant, only nondirect cities and counties.  The project would not be eligible since the manufacturer is not a non-profit enterprise or a city or county government.  However, the manufacturer could apply for a 2.5 percent Dollar and Energy Saving Loan for up to $750,000 for a lighting project. 

Does the applicant have to have a long-range Energy Conservation Plan in order to submit?
No, the applicant does not have to have such a plan to be eligible to apply.

Is the applicant required to hold a public hearing on the application prior to submitting it?
The Energy Office does not require a hearing to submit an application.  However, you may want to check with your legal counsel to see if there are local statutes requiring such action. 

Our proposed project would fall under #3 – Renewable Energy Technologies on Government Buildings: ground source heat pumps. The solicitation requires that the heat pump must be 5.5 tons or less. Is the project restricted to one unit or are multiple 5.5 ton units allowed, if the building size requires more tonnage?
The project would be limited to one ground source heat pump of 5.5 tons or less.   Exceeding those limits would trigger a National Environmental Policy Act review of the project which could take months to a year or longer, making the project ineligible for funding since these funds must be obligated by October 2010. 

Would the installation of solar panels on the Village-owned fire hall be an eligible project?
Yes, this would be an eligible project subject to the limitations found on page 6 of the solicitation.

If we are applying for a grant for solar heating, but for four separate buildings the city owns, can all four be submitted on one application, or is only one building eligible?
These would be four separate projects which could be included in one application.  However, since the projects are planned for different buildings, each project would require a separate Project Narrative, Scope of Work, Budget and Budget Justification.

If an applicant has multiple government buildings, can a single application include one or more renewable energy technologies at multiple sites? For example can an applicant with three buildings apply for a project with a wind turbine at each building?
Yes, each building could be a project and one application could include several projects.  Be aware of the renewable energy technology limitations cited in earlier questions. 

Are applications funded on a “first come, first served” basis or will all be reviewed after the deadline?
All applications will be reviewed after the deadline, and not on a “first come, first served” basis. 

The eligible renewable energy technologies indicate a wind turbine must be 20 KW or less. Can an application include more than one wind generator for the multiple sites?
No.  One application, one turbine.

Are other energy saving activities eligible such as a pump/motor with improved efficiency?
If the project is not one of the three eligible activities – traffic and street lighting, building retrofits or renewable energy – it is not eligible for funding.

Our community has not received direct funding. However, we may be receiving funds indirectly through our county for energy efficiency projects. Are we still eligible for this program?
Yes, the community would be eligible, but the county would not.

What counties are eligible and how do we apply for a grant? If eligible, please direct us to the correct forms to apply?
Nondirect cities and counties are eligible under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.  The ten ineligible counties are Cass, Dakota, Dawson, Douglas, Gage, Lancaster, Platte, Sarpy, Saunders, and Scotts Bluff.   The Solicitation and applications forms are at http://www.neo.ne.gov/grants/EECBG.htm .

According to Part III, Eligibility Information A., only local units of government and counties are eligible applicants. Is there a way that non-profit organizations or schools can take advantage of this grant opportunity?
A city or county could include a building retrofit project within its application, but schools are not eligible.  See earlier posted answers on this subject. 

We would like to replace the original windows in the Courthouse. The windows are 70 years old and are not energy efficient. Would this qualify for the grant?
Yes, this type of project would qualify for a grant. 

Our county is an eligible entity to apply for EECBG funds. The public school system would like to partner with the county for the EECBG grant. This partnership would have the county and school district having separate projects in public facilities that are owned by either the county or school district. Can this type of county/school district partnership with the county serving as the fiscal and administrative agent be allowed to apply for EECBG funds?
No.  School owned facilities are not eligible for these funds.  Earlier answers address this subject in greater detail.

The guidance identifies that the range of applications is expected to be between $5,000 and $250,000. Is there a ceiling on the amount of funding that can be requested?
The maximum grant amount is $250,000.

How can I run off the solicitation forms if I do not have a product key #? Or how do I get a product key #?
It appears you may have a "trial" version of Microsoft Office 07.  If you have difficulty accessing the forms, the Energy Office can supply them to you, or you may access them through another computer that has a regular version of the software such as the local library. 


December 21, 2009

Our county is working on a plan to improve the energy efficiency in the courthouse. A new heating and cooling system is the #1 priority. Also under consideration is new lighting, windows, doors and insulation. Can all these projects be included in one application and if they are will that hurt the chances of the heating and cooling project?
Yes, these would be separate energy efficiency improvements, or measures, all in one project.  Applicants when putting together a project should consider the evaluation criteria on page 12 of the solicitation as well as the grant maximum of $250,000.  Certain types of improvements will generate more energy (and dollar) savings than others.  If some of the improvements in the project such as a heating and cooling system are more important, or a priority, that should be noted on the application.  Competition for funding may limit the Energy Office from providing grant funds for all of the improvements listed on a project.

I am a new Village Clerk. A recent email stated that Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants are available for cities and counties that did not receive direct funding and I do not know if our town received a grant. Is there any way you can check for me to see if we are eligible?
This question has been answered several times.  The complete list of INELIGIBLE cities and counties appears in the December 14, 2009 posting. If your town or county is not on this list, then it is eligible for a grant. 

This fall our county replaced the original exteriors doors on its almost 90 year old courthouse. We are confident that we are more energy efficient with the new doors in place. The County Board was wondering if this project would qualify for a grant to cover this expense, or if you are only taking applications for projects to-be-completed.
Any project started or completed prior to being selected for funding by the Energy Office, is not eligible for a grant.

Would a non-government owned county museum be an eligible applicant if an eligible City or County were to submit an application that includes energy efficiency retrofits to the museum?
Yes, a county could include in its application, a project in a non-profit building owned by a non-government entity.  This would be considered a separate project and would require the completion of separate narrative, scope of work, budget and budget justification.  

If a municipality desires to convert street lighting to more energy efficient technologies and performs the task using their workforce and equipment is the cost of labor and equipment allowable for reimbursement?
The cost of labor and equipment for installation is an eligible expense and the applicant could be reimbursed.  However, the city could not use these expenses as part of its required match. 


December 22, 2009

Can the cost incurred from using a recycler to dispose of street light bulbs be included in the grant?
Some projects that include hazardous waste will be required to have a waste management plan.  A part of the plan could be to recycle items instead of sending them to a landfill.  The costs associated with recycling can be included in the grant application. 

The local nursing and assisted living home is a nonprofit, political subdivision of the city. Part of the building needs a new heating and cooling system. At the present time, we have individual units in the dining room and laundry area which do not heat and cool evenly. Would that be an eligible project?
Yes, this would be an eligible EECBG building retrofit project.  The city would have to include this project on their application since only city and governments are eligible applicants. 


December 23, 2009

Our city is contemplating submitting an application to replace a number of street lights with LED lights. On the Budget Justification form, the first section deals with personnel. Can the labor costs of our utility workers who will be installing the lights be submitted in this section as an eligible reimbursement cost?
Yes, the cost of using city personnel is an eligible expense in a grant. 


December 28, 2009

Form SF-424, question #7 asks for the project areas. If we are using several buildings, do we need to list each of the building addresses?
Yes, you should list the name and address of each building if you are including more than one project in your application. 

Question #8 on from SF-424 asks for the descriptive title of the applicant's project. Is this one name for the entire application submission or since we have to fill out documentation for each building should there be a separate name for each building project?
Because you are submitting multiple projects, it is recommended that you give each project a different title such as the name of the building:  For example, “Lighting retrofit in County Courthouse.” 


December 29, 2009

Can a portion of the energy efficiency improvement project be funded by a 2.5% Dollar and Energy Saving Loan, given at least a 20% cash match is provided? For example, would a project which is funded by 50% EECBG, 20% cash match, and 30% Dollar and Energy Saving Loan be eligible?
The answer to this question is not as easy as it may seem.  On page 7 of the Solicitation appears the following:

"COST SHARING
Cost share of at least 20 percent of the total project cost requested for the projects is required.  In-kind cost-share is not permitted.  The cost share must come from non-Federal sources.  The sum of the Nebraska Energy Office’s share and the recipient share of allowable costs equals the total cost of the project."

The maximum grant amount in the solicitation is $250,000.  The required match is based on 20 percent of the TOTAL PROJECT COST.  If the project costs $1,000,000, the minimum required match would be $200,000.  If the community received a $250,000 EEC Block Grant, then the community could finance the balance of the project – $550,000 – with an Energy Office loan.

December 30, 2009

What are the minimum standards for an air-cooled chiller? The minimum standards listed under Energy Efficiency Retrofits do not appear to address chillers.
Air cooled chiller packages must have the following efficiency ratings, based on size of the unit:

  • Less than 65,000 btuh – 14.0 SEER or 12.5 EER
  • 65,000 btuh and above, but less than 135,000 btuh – 11.2 EER
  • 135,000 btuh and above, but less than 240,000 btuh – 11.0 EER
  • 240,000 btuh and above – 10.0 EER.

Can a city apply for a grant for improvements to a county hospital, or does the hospital apply itself, or does the county have to make the application?
In this case, presuming the county hospital is a non-profit entity, any eligible applicant – either a nondirect EECBG city or county – can apply on behalf of the hospital.  The hospital would not be an eligible applicant. 

In the Project Narrative Section of the Application Guidelines, it requests an estimate of the number of jobs created as a result of the Project. Is there a formula that the Nebraska Energy Office supports to calculate this number?
If an applicant is uncertain about the number of jobs retained or created by a proposed project, the applicant may use the total project cost divided by $92,000. 

A County has already received bids and awarded contracts for completion of a new jail addition, along with renovation of the existing Courthouse building. The existing Courthouse building is served by an antiquated steam-fed heating system. As part of the renovation effort, the steam boiler and associated components serving the existing building are scheduled to be replaced with water source heat pumps when the heating season ends in the spring. Since work in the existing Courthouse has not yet started, or been paid for, can the County pursue a grant to help pay for the more energy efficient system?
No, the project would not be eligible for an EEC Block Grant since contracts have been awarded.  Secondly, the new heat pump system may (or may not) meet the efficiency standard necessary for a grant.  Lastly, grant selection is not expected until May 1, 2010.  Thereafter, the state must negotiate the scope of work for each of the grant recipients.  Work cannot start on a project until an aid agreement with the recipient is signed. 


December 31, 2009

Our project will involve replacing existing street lights with LED street lights in about 1/2 of the city. If selected, we will need to bid the fixtures and should receive a better price than currently quoted. This would allow us to change more fixtures and increase the kWh savings. Is there a way I can allow for this potential increase in benefit? Also, should the bids come back too high, may we cancel our application (prior to May 1, 2010)?
Any grant application can be withdrawn prior to the selection announcement on or about May 1, 2010.  There are several approaches to handling an expected price decline in costs which would result in achieving greater energy savings.  The optimal approach is the most transparent:  List the current equipment costs and benefits and note that if the equipment cost is X% less as expected in mid-2010, X more street lights could be installed and the energy savings would increase to ___  kWh/yr, etc.  

Are there any requirements regarding continued use of building with this grant? For example, if a community uses grant funding to retrofit the fire hall, and the fire hall is converted to the city shop/community center several years later, is that acceptable?
There are no continued use requirements under this solicitation. So the example provided would be eligible for grant funding.

City officials are reviewing the grant solicitation and asked if the purchase of new appliances qualify? We recently completed a Community Center where weddings are catered. At present, we do not have any appliances in the Center, but need to purchase a commercial dishwasher, stove and fryers.
A way of looking at this question is “How would you quantify energy savings?” which is a solicitation requirement.  There is also a requirement (page 7) that the existing equipment being replaced must be described including brand, age and efficiency ratings.  Since there is no existing equipment, any new equipment would increase energy use and there would be no energy savings. 


January 4, 2010

Is there a budget form to use for a construction project? The form SF424A-NE Excel is for non-construction programs.
Under EECBG guidelines, only three types of projects are eligible for funding:  street and traffic lighting, energy efficiency building retrofits and renewable technologies on governmental buildings.  On Form SF424A-NE Excel, Section B, lines 6 d Equipment or 6f Contractual would be used for equipment purchases or work being performed by a contractor.  If these class categories do not accurately describe project costs, line 6h Other could be used.  However, if using line 6h Other, a description of the costs would be necessary in the Budget Justification form.  Generally, new construction is not envisioned as necessary for EECBG eligible projects.  You might want to ask a follow-up question that clearly details the type of construction needed for your proposed project. 

Regarding bidding, in a Dec. 4 answer you mentioned the need to have bids to support our costs at the time we submit the application, and clarified in a later answer that we cannot award bids until after scope-of-work negotiations. Does this mean we obtain quotes/estimates at this time to justify our cost calculations, but not go through a full formal bidding process three weeks advertising, etc. to obtain firm bids until after funds are awarded? Or do we need to go through the formal bidding process prior to application?
For the grant application, use of either bids or quotes/cost estimates is acceptable for estimating project costs. 

The application asks for a start date. Are grant funds awarded and start date begins when the project is selected, or are grant funds distributed after project is completed?
The start date occurs after a project is selected (on or before May 1, 2010) and an aid agreement negotiated for the project. Applicants should use the date October 1, 2010 as a likely start date. Grant fund payments are negotiated in the aid agreement.


January 5, 2010

Our village would like to know if variable frequency drive motors for our two wells would qualify for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant?
This question was previously answered.  See below:

December 18, 2009
Are other energy saving activities eligible such as a pump/motor with improved efficiency?

If the project is not one of the three eligible activities – traffic and street lighting, building retrofits or renewable energy – it is not eligible for funding.

Could energy improvements to an existing municipal swimming pool be eligible such as heating systems and pool heaters?
This question was previously answered.  See below:

December 14, 2009
Can EECBG funds be used to purchase heat pumps to reduce the city swimming pool energy costs?

No, a swimming pool is not a building and therefore would be ineligible as a building retrofit project.   Additionally, when Congress funded the EECBG program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, certain types of projects were classified as ineligible.  The Recovery Act prohibits, without exception, the use of fund for projects related to swimming pools.

We are replacing the boiler, chiller and other items in our courthouse. Contracts have been signed for this work. Would we still be eligible for consideration of funding for this project?
This question was previously answered.  See below:

December 30, 2009
A County has already received bids and awarded contracts for completion of a new jail addition, along with renovation of the existing Courthouse building. The existing Courthouse building is served by an antiquated steam-fed heating system. As part of the renovation effort, the steam boiler and associated components serving the existing building are scheduled to be replaced with water source heat pumps when the heating season ends in the spring. Since work in the existing Courthouse has not yet started, or been paid for, can the County pursue a grant to help pay for the more energy efficient system?

No, the project would not be eligible for an EEC Block Grant since contracts have been awarded.  Secondly, the new heat pump system may (or may not) meet the efficiency standard necessary for a grant.  Lastly, grant selection is not expected until May 1, 2010.  Thereafter, the state must negotiate the scope of work for each of the grant recipients.  Work cannot start on a project until an aid agreement with the recipient is signed. 


January 8, 2010

This question is a follow-up from one on December 21:
A project a county wants has three parts, A, B and C, and they are listed to show the amount of energy savings for each. If the total of A,B C goes over the $250,000 and the project is awarded the full amount or less, but the grant amount will only cover A and B, will the county still be responsible for carrying out project C because it was listed in the application? Or if the grant award will only pay for A and B, will it be acceptable to delete item C after the award is announced? Will the grant award pinpoint exactly which portions of the project the money is to be used for?
The maximum grant award for any city or county is $250,000, plus a minimum of 20% required match by the applicant.  A successful applicant would likely include only the strongest projects in its application based on the criteria listed in the solicitation on page 12.  At this time, the Energy Office cannot estimate the amount of grant funds that will be requested by eligible applicants.  If applications exceed available funds, the agency may select some projects in an application and not others so that funds can be more widely dispersed across the state.  The aid agreement issued to the successful applicants will clearly state which projects in an application are being funded. 


January 11, 2010

Our city is planning to submit an application for an EECBG project in our Fire Hall. The Fire Hall’s garage door does not fit the space correctly and has gapping all the sides almost the length of the door. It currently allows a lot of heat to escape. Also, it allows moisture inside the building through the gaps. Would replacing this door be an eligible project for this grant?
Yes, this project would be eligible if the garage door has insulation value that is equal to or greater than the requirements listed in the solicitation under Replacement of Windows and Doors.  Weather sealing the door would also be required.

Are NRDs eligible for funding under the EECBG as a project sponsor or must they have a city sponsor for a retrofit project?
No, NRDs are not eligible applicants.  A project for an NRD would have to be submitted by an eligible city, town or county.

Our project was originally designed to replace the gas furnaces and air conditioners in the courthouse with 20-tons of geothermal heat pumps. Now that we understand only 5.5-tons of geothermal qualifies under this program could we redesign the project with 5-tons of geothermal and the rest with gas furnaces and air source heat pumps? And would this all be under one project?
The 5.5 ton limitation on ground source heat pumps is because of the likelihood a project would not receive a National Environmental Policy Act determination by the U.S. Department of Energy prior to an October deadline the state has for committing the funds.  Yes, any combination of HVAC systems would qualify so long as the relevant efficiency standards are met.  Yes, this would/could be considered one project. 

Do we include bids for equipment/labor in the scope of work?
Attaching copies of bids would be appropriate documentation on the Budget Justification form, but it is not required at this stage. 

We are considering installing new high efficiency heating and air conditioning system in a 1930s era City Auditorium that has several window air conditioners and small central air conditioner for previously used office spaces. However, the main Auditorium has never had air conditioning. Would installing high efficiency air conditioning in the entire building, as part of the total heating and air package an eligible project?

This Auditorium is currently mostly vacant and used for storage or periodic work space. The lower level office space (for about 20 people) has been vacant for about five years. Do we use those five-year old utility bills a point of comparison for the energy and cost savings calculations? Or do we build a comparison as if the space was fully occupied being used year round?
This is a difficult project given the guidelines and funding selection criteria under EECBG.  You could submit a project that would likely show energy savings for the area of the building that housed offices (using the previous five year old data and current energy/unit costs).  However, providing air conditioning to a space that was previously unconditioned would not provide any energy savings.  In fact, energy use would increase.  Because of that fact, the project to extend air conditioning to the entire building, if submitted, would likely not be funded.   

Our County Board of Commissioners will be submitting an application for a grant for installing new replacement windows for the courthouse (on the National Register of Historic Places), adding more insulation in the attic, and installing two split-system air conditioners. The original windows were replaced in 1972 with metal framed single-pane inserts that are a heating/cooling nightmare. They also are not very historical. We have several questions:

  1. I have sought estimates from 3 manufacturers and have received one estimate back to my office. The plan was to apply for the grant based on estimates, and then, if approved for the grant, have engineering/architect specifications and hold a bid letting. That would take a considerable amount of time. Can I apply for the grant based only on estimates?
    Yes, using estimates, in lieu of bids, 3. If the grant application included the three projects and the bids are more than expected, could the county then eliminate one or two projects or maybe reduce the number of windows on the lower floor?is acceptable.

  2. Do I have to get approval from the State Historical Director before applying for the grant?
    If your project is selected for funding, you will be required to submit documentation that the State Historical Preservation Office has approved your plans.  That approval will have to be submitted to the Energy Office prior to the issuance of a signed aid agreement.

  3. If the grant application included the three projects and the bids are more than expected, could the county then eliminate one or two projects or maybe reduce the number of windows on the lower floor?
    Yes, after a project is selected and more definitive costs are determined, the scope of the project could be modified within certain parameters.  For example, if a project was selected based on a certain level of energy savings potential, and the most energy efficient project was eliminated for cost or other reasons, that could affect grant funding.    

  4. One window estimate I have received is $142,000 and that does not include contractor installation, engineering, bid costs or grant administration. I estimate the entire cost for the three projects will be about $300,000. Does that mean our application budget is $240,000 ( 80% from EECBG funds) and the County share is $60,000 (20% required match)?
    Yes, your calculations are correct.  The project cost is $300,000 and the percentages apply to the total project cost. 

We have several questions:

  1. On page 8 of Registration Requirements and Application Resources, C. "Scope of Work" states this section is limited to TWO (2) pages, 8.5" x 11" with 1" margins. There is no mention of font point size. Can any font size be used in this section? I am having a problem getting my information on two pages using a font point size of 11.
    No, you must use an 11 point font size.  We encourage all applicants to write concise project descriptions.          

  2. Our county plans to replace the 85 year old windows in their courthouse. How does one compute the differential energy used between the two different types of windows? What is the U-Factor for a single pane of glass?
    Two acceptable sources for this type of information are the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)(See Chapter 1), and the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook.  You may use either of these references.  You should contact one or more of your potential contractors to help you with the calculations.  You might also consult your local utility to see if help is available for doing the calculations. 

  3. The existing windows in our courthouse have a high rate of air infiltration. How does one calculate the energy loss due to air infiltration?
    Again, one of your contractors can help you with energy loss calculations.  You might also consult your local utility to see if help is available for doing the calculations.    

  4. Our county plans to advertise for a construction contract to replace the windows in our courthouse. Can the county solicit formal bids before May 1st with a formal bid opening after May 1st? This plan is to establish the cost of replacing the windows.
    Yes, you may advertise for bids prior to the EECBG selection announcement.  You may not, however, sign any contract which obligates potential EECBG funding prior to a signed aid agreement from the Energy Office.  

I have done several roof replacements to existing buildings which included membrane roof replacement or added new metal slope roofs. Most roofs have little insulation, so R-40 rigid or blown-in insulation has been added on existing buildings which have flat roofs. Would this type of project be eligible for funding?
So long as the minimum necessary R-value for roof insulation is met, any type of roof can be installed to protect the insulation.  This would be an eligible project under those conditions.


January 14, 2010

Will there be some review prior to selection, in case we unknowingly left something out? And I tried to use the emissions calculator for the KWH conversion and all I get is NaN.
The agency may request additional or clarifying information (Page 11, C.  Submissions from Applicants.  The Nebraska Energy Office reserves the right to request additional or clarifying information for any reason deemed necessary…)
Regarding the problem using the emissions calculator, you might have used the letter “O” instead of zero, or a comma was inserted or the space bar was used.  If you encounter problems in this area you may need to use local resources, such as a local architect or engineer, utility personnel, or perhaps the local science teacher.

Could replacing ball field lights fall under the “Traffic Signals and Street Lighting” category?
Yes, sports field lighting projects can be funded. 

I am working with a community who has been given a building. The community wants to make it into the Village Office and Community Building. The building has been vacant for 3-4 years, therefore there are not utility bills for that time and no way to access the old bills since the Village didn't have the utilities in their name. They want to replace single pane windows, add insulation, upgrade the furnace and air conditioning and replace the water heater. Could they still apply even though they do not have old utility bills and base everything on energy efficiency ratings on the items they are replacing?
Yes, this project would be eligible for funding under the building retrofit category.  To ascertain estimated energy use with current equipment, you might want to check with NPPD personnel, or if you belong to NMPP Energy, they may be able to assist you in establishing a baseline for energy use.   

How may bids/estimates are we required to submit?
Only one bid or estimate is needed.  You may want to include it as documentation with your Budget Justification. 

If we were to replace windows, can we just apply for a grant amount? If we were awarded funds, could we just do what the money would allow, or do we need to try and have an actual price to submit with the application?
To complete the Budget Justification, you should have a sound basis for estimating project costs such as a bid or estimate.  If the project is selected for funding, and the actual estimate for windows is higher than expected, the project could be reduced in scope and fewer windows installed.

Can we apply for windows and lighting retrofits on the same application? Or is it one or the other?
Communities or counties can submit multiple types of projects under one application.

A city owns a 65,000 square foot building in which 20,000 square foot has previously been retrofitted with a geo-thermal ground loop mechanical system for heating/cooling for a different purpose. The City now intends to renovate the remaining portion (45,000 SF) of the building to house a regional job training/job support/social service support facility. The existing mechanical system in the 45,000 SF portion of the building is made up of natural gas heating and electric air conditioner units. This 45,000 square foot space is planned to be served by a geo-thermal ground loop mechanical system for heating and cooling, the anticipated tonnage needed for the space is estimated +/- 60 tons. Is this an eligible project under the “Building Retrofit” category?
The U.S. Department of Energy classifies a Ground Source Heat Pump as being a Renewable Energy Project under Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program rules.  Because EECBG must also comply with the National Environmental Policy Act provisions, Ground Source Heat Pumps are limited to 5.5-ton capacity or smaller. 


January 19, 2010

We understand that no in-kind match is allowed. The line between cash and in-kind match is sometimes hard to determine, so we're asking for a clarification.

1. The City is going to request funds to make the city auditorium more energy efficient. We have requested bids from companies in the area who do such work. If bid for the work is $100,000, does that means the grant will pay $80,000 and the city is responsible for paying out $20,000?
Yes, the total project cost is what the match requirement is based upon, and in this illustration, your calculation is correct.

2. Would the following illustration be an eligible use of match funds? The contractor who gets the bid sub-contracts some of the work to city crews -- which would be a cost savings to the project cost since the labor is located in the community as opposed to transporting workers to community to do the work. The City would pay the salaries of the city crew working as a sub-contractor -- using city tax funds to pay those salaries. The City, in effect, is paying cash to employees just as it would when paying for any other costs associated with the project (i.e. it would be the same as the city writing a check to a vendor providing materials or services as part of the contract). We just want to make sure that any work sub-contracted to City crews can count as acceptable cash match. The work being done by city crews on a sub-contracting basis would not be within the scope of normal duties associated with city employee positions.
We understand that some applicants who plan to use city employees to perform some of the project tasks are having difficulty in this area.  One simple solution would be that equipment costs are paid for with matching funds and labor costs are paid for with federal grant funds.  The city would have the option of using a subcontractor as in the illustration above.  This approach may be helpful to some smaller governmental units who have limited Davis-Bacon compliance experience. 

We plan to replace a heating/air conditioning unit in the Village Community Building since the existing unit is 22 years old. If we submit more than one bid for the project, do we need to submit Scope of Work/Timeline/Summary/Budget information/budget justification for each bid? Do we request estimates/bids on a comparable unit from 3 different companies and submit the 3 different estimates with the application?
Communities can solicit as many bids as their governing rules require, but only one bid or estimate should be submitted as documentation for Budget Justification. 


January 20, 2010

Can we add attachments to the application such as photos to better illustrate existing conditions? If so, are we limited to the number of attachments we can add?
Applicants should be very judicious in the use of attachments.  A cost estimate is an example of an appropriate attachment.  Photos documenting existing equipment or conditions are not appropriate.  Please describe as concisely and accurately as possible the existing equipment or conditions and expected energy savings.

In a previous question about the size of type to use in the grant application, it was stated to use 11 point font size. However, when I fill in the answers on the grant application, Arial size 7 is what is used automatically. Do I need to reset my type size? And does it matter what type style I use. The Times New Roman is enough different from the application type that I feel it makes it easier to read the responses. Or should it all be in Arial, just in size 11?
Applicants can select a font that is different, if they so choose.  If a default point size is 7, please resize to 11 point.

Are we allowed to include attachments with our proposal such as a hard copy of e-mail from Rheem saying that our unit is so old they don't have ratings for it?
Applicants should try their best to measure efficiency of existing equipment.  If the manufacturer is unable to provide that information, HVAC contractors or utility staff may be able to assist you in that area.  Efficiency is merely output divided by input.  For air to air products, efficiency can be calculated by measuring the incoming and outgoing air temperature, humidity ratio, air flow and the energy used. 

We have a project that costs $400,000. The maximum grant amount is $250,000. Then we would be responsible for providing a $150,000 match. Is this correct?
Yes, the maximum grant amount is $250,000.  If your project costs $400,000, you would be responsible for providing $150,000 in matching funds.

We are planning to make insulation improvements to a local government building. Part of the project is placing additional insulation value in the ceiling/roof. The building has a sloped metal deck, with no insulation on the interior ceiling with a minimal roofing system in place on the exterior. The roofing system is older, has several leaks, and is generally in need of repair. Would a roofing project that eliminates leaks and adds R-30 to the existing system be eligible, rather than adding insulation to the interior ceiling/attic spaces?
As described, this would be an eligible project.  However, to simply bring the existing insulation “up to” R-30 would not qualify.  You would have to add at least R-30 to the existing insulation level.

What is the first day we can begin construction on projects? And, by when must projects be completed?
The projects selected for funding will be announced on or before May 1, 2010. Contract negotiations and signed agreements must be completed by September 30, 2010. Construction can begin after that date. Work must be completed by March 30, 2012.

Are window unit air conditioners eligible, if they are energy star rated?
Yes, Energy Star rated window air conditioners would be eligible if they are replacing existing ones.    

Budget Form Section B. 6.f. Contractual: Do you want a single figure for all contractual? Or, do you want us to break out different types such as: Architectural Contractual, General Admin Contractual, Construction: Lighting Contractual, and Construction: Windows Contractual?
On budgets, more details are better.  On projects where multiple contracts are planned, ideally each contract (as identified in the question above) would be listed.  This detail could be listed on a single page attachment to the form. 

Our county road department is in need of an emergency standby generator to run our facility. At such times when we have experienced power outages such the ice storm of 2006, we were the only facility that could get fuel to power generators for the community such as the hospital generator and the fire departments police cruisers. We had a military surplus generator that is no longer operational. Would a new generator be eligible for a grant?
The solicitation is limited to three project categories:  building retrofits, street and traffic lighting and renewable energy.  A standby generator would not be eligible for funding since it doesn’t fit into any of these project categories.


January 21, 2010

We are proposing to replace some equipment: hanging heater and an old furnace. We are not aware of the model number, age, or efficiency rating. Will the manufacturer name, size and a brief description be satisfactory?
Here, as much detail about the equipment is best.  A contractor or utility staff person can probably help fill the gaps on the missing information, especially in the area of efficiency.  Without a base line of energy use and efficiency, you cannot estimate and document energy savings, which is a critical component on which each application will be evaluated. 

Our potential project involves several buildings, hence multiple forms. Do we fill out one project summary/abstract form which covers all of the multiple projects? Essentially providing an overview of the entire application?
With the abstract/summary, you may summarize all of your individual projects on one form.

Is a separate SF-424 NE needed for each project, or will one cover all projects?
Each project would require a separate Scope of Work, Project Narrative, Budget and Budget Justification.

This question was previously answered.  See below:

December 11, 2009
Can an application have more than one project?

Yes, an application can include projects from more than one category.  However, each project will require a separate Narrative, Scope of Work and SF424-A-NE Budget. 

December 18, 2009
If we are applying for a grant for solar heating, but for four separate buildings the city owns, can all four be submitted on one application, or is only one building eligible?

These would be four separate projects which could be included in one application.  However, since the projects are planned for different buildings, each project would require a separate Project Narrative, Scope of Work, Budget and Budget Justification.

In Section G Budget Justification, could you clarify what Object Class Category/Cost Classification Category means?
Object Class Category/Cost Classification Category means every line item in the budget. 


January 25, 2010

While filling out the Budget Justification Spreadsheet, I noticed that the Supplies Subtotal doesn't tabulate all consumable and non-consumable supplies. Also, the Budget Grand Total excludes supplies, contractual, construction, and other expenses. Are these expenses to be excluded from our calculation in spreadsheet SF 424a?
Thank you for finding a coding error in the Budget Justification form.  A corrected form has been placed on the solicitation page at http://www.neo.ne.gov/grants/EECBG.htm .  All expenses in subtotals or totals should include all expenditures in all categories.

Are Native American tribes eligible to submit for this grant? Or does the village or community have to submit the application?
Tribal organizations are not eligible applicants.  Only non-direct cities and counties are eligible to apply for grants.

Regarding submission of EECBG grant applications and the February 3, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. CT deadline: Is that the postmark deadline or the deadline for arrival of our package at your office?
The deadline is when the application package must be received in the Energy Office.  We accept electronic, traditional mail or personal delivery of applications. 

Do you want a Project Summary/Abstract for each project within a proposal or one for all the Projects in an application? We are submitting one application from our County that includes two projects.
A description of all the projects in your application should be listed and concisely described on the ONE Abstract/Summary page. 


January 27, 2010

On the Budget Form, Section C- Non-Federal Resources references Applicant, State, and Other Sources. Is this section referring to matching funds only? Or would the requested grant amount be entered in the State column?
[The answer to this question is being clarified and expanded from January 25’s posting.]

The budget form, SF424A-NE.xls, has several sections.  Section C, Non-Federal Resources, is reserved for detailing the source of the matching funds applicants are providing.  Column (a) Grant Program, should list the source of the funding such as “general tax funds.”  Columns (b), (c) and (d) identify from where those funds come:  Applicant, State or Other Sources.  If an applicant is providing matching funds from several sources such as a “local foundation or civic group” (list the source in column (a)), that amount would be entered in column (d).  Some communities may have revolving funds that were capitalized with a state grant for a previously completed project.  If using funds of that type, the amount would be entered in column (c).

January 28, 2010

I am working on one grant for retrofitting a courthouse to be more energy efficient. There are four parts to the proposal: a new HVAC system, new lights, windows and doors. We have bids on each part separately. I have written one Project Narrative and one Scope of Work listing each part separately and will put each part on separate budget and budget justification forms. Is this the proper way to handle one project in one building with 4 different parts? The questions that have addressed situations similar to this were for separate buildings or different categories.
In previous questions, we’ve stated that a project could be an entire building.  Within that project could be several components, but it would still be considered one project.  Since you’ve already completed separate narratives and scopes of work, you could submit a combined single budget and budget justification.    


January 29, 2010

The minimum tested efficiency of PTACs and PTHPs is stated as 12.5 EER. However, IECC 2003 lists two categories for both PTACs and PTHPs - replacement and new construction, along with formulas for calculating the minimum EERs for each. For example, for new construction PTHPs the formula is 12.3 - .213 x capacity/1000. For a 1 ton unit this yields a minimum EER of 9.74. Is the 12.5 minimum EER correct, and if so, do you know of any equipment available that can meet the minimum EER?
PTAC and PTHP units must have an AHRI rating of 12.5 EER or above.

The attached file lists all the 12.5 EER Heat pumps and A/C units.  Most of these are ½ ton

We have plans to insulate a concrete block building, this requires framing and sheeting the walls to accept 3 1/2 fiberglass insulation is the framing and sheeting an acceptable expense?
This is an acceptable expense because the drywall sheeting would protect the insulation. 

We are submitting an application for the replacement of boilers. So far it has been mentioned that announcements will be made in May 2010 and to use October 2010 as a start date for planning/design/etc. Replacement of boilers is something that can't be done in the winter. Does this mean that in writing a timeline, we will need to push all of those dates into 2011? Or will it be acceptable to start the design process and list it that way on the timeline after the May announcement in order to have them in place before winter beginning in 2010?
The best advice remains to use a start date of October 2010 since projects cannot begin before a signed agreement on the project is completed.  Given that, 2011 is when a boiler replacement project should be scheduled. 

If insulation needs to be removed on side walls of a metal building, what is the minimum R value of the replacement insulation?
The R-value of the replacement insulation would need to be, the estimated R-value of the old insulation, if any, plus an additional R-10. If the old insulation must be replaced, that would indicate it has been damaged, and it most likely has minimal insulation value. 

On the Application for Federal Assistance Form SF-424NE, Section 11 Estimated Funding lists categories a through g: Is e. ARRA the same as the a. Federal?
No, the grant funds you are requesting should be listed in e. ARRA.  If you are using any other type of federal funds on the project those would be listed in a. Federal. 


February 1, 2010

Can the information for Project Narrative, Scope of Work, Project Summary/Abstract be submitted on pages which that are 8.5 x 11 with 1" margins without the margin box on page? Headings at top of each page would be same, but the margin box would be eliminated.
If you are having difficulty with the electronic forms, the alternative you plan would be acceptable.

Our community is considering replacement of street lights. Are pole replacement costs permitted and includable in the application? If so, is the disposal cost of the old poles and lights a permitted cost to include in the application?
If light poles are integral to the project, such as solar LED lights where special poles are required, then they can be included in the project.  A project that consisted of pole replacement only would likely not be funded since there would be no energy savings. Any projects that include both replacement light fixtures and poles would be less competitive than one that replaced fixtures only. Disposal plans are required for the lights being replaced, so those disposal costs could be included in the grant. 

If we were awarded the grant, but we choose not to do the project can we reject the grant? Or do we have to commit to the project once it is awarded?
An applicant can withdraw a project at any time before an agreement is signed. 

The contractor along with his bid has included three Certificates of Product Performance. Is it okay to submit these documents with the bid or should they be left out?
There is no need to submit Certificates of Product Performance with your application.

In the description of Project Narrative it states that we should list: Current energy use from past years energy bills. Do you want the documentation showing the past energy billings?
At this stage, we do not require the documentation from past energy bills.  However, if your project is funded, it would be prudent to keep it in the project file. 


February 2, 2010

Our city administrators have advised that the rain water the Courthouse roof receives during a heavy shower drains directly into the sanitary sewer system. When this occurs, it makes the sewer system run harder and less efficient. The County must now have a new drainage system installed to prevent this. The energy savings would be for the city - would this problem qualify for this grant?
There are only three eligible categories for EECBG funds:  building retrofits, street and traffic lighting and renewable energy projects.  The type of project being proposed is not within the eligible categories and cannot be funded under this solicitation.

 

 

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