Defining and Establishing the Role of a Sustainability Manager (Text Version)
Moderator: Thanks so much for attending the webinar today from the Department of Energy's Technical Assistance Program. We have with us today Harrison Rue from ICF International and Katharine Gajewski, the Philadelphia Director of Sustainability, and they will be presenting on "Defining and Establishing the Role of a Sustainability Manager." Before we jump into the webinar, I just want to talk a little bit about Department of Energy's Technical Assistance Program - TAP - which provides state, local and tribal officials the tools and resources needed to implement successful and sustainable clean energy programs.
This effort is aimed at a few main goals, including accelerating implementation of Recovery Act projects and programs, improving their performance, increasing the return on and sustainability of Recovery Act investments, and building protected clean energy capacity at the state, local, and tribal level. From one-on-one assistance and extensive online resource library to facilitation of peer exchange of best practices lessons learned, TAP offers a wide range of resources to serve the needs of state, local, and tribal officials and their staff. So how can TAP help you?
TAP offers the technical assistance providers that can provide short-term, unbiased expertise in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, program design and implementation, financing, performance contracting, and state and local capacity building. In addition to providing one-on-one assistance, we are also available to work with grantees at no cost to facilitate peer-to-peer matching, workshops, and training. We also encourage all grantees and attendees to utilize the TAP blog, a platform that allows states, cities, counties, and tribes to connect with technical and program experts and share best practices.
The blog can be accessed at the link on this page, and it is frequently updated with energy efficiency or renewable energy related posts. We encourage you to utilize the blog to ask questions of our topical experts, share your success stories, best practices, or lessons learned, and interact with your peers. Requests for direct technical assistance can be submitted online via the Technical Assistance Center, which is on the right there, or by calling the number on this slide. And once a request has been submitted, it can be evaluated to determine the level and type of assistance that technical assistance will be provided.
And now, we'll get to start the webinar, and first speaking today will be Harrison Rue, and he will begin the webinar now.
[Silence from 0:03:01 to 0:04:31]
Moderator: Harrison, we can't hear you.
Harrison Rue: I am so sorry. I was instructed to stay on "mute" and boy, you should've heard what I said - it was really good. I'm gonna go back to the prior slide on agenda. I'm so sorry; I was muted. So to repeat myself, we're gonna cover on today's agenda, the first half will be me talking about primarily what we'll be seeing from looking at a scan across programs in about six cities - we'll go into a little detail on them. Options for establishing the program, where to house it, what to call it, reporting structures, relationship to other programs and department, leveraging energy funding with community partnerships, and ensuring long-term sustainability.
And Katherine Gajewski, Philadelphia's sustainability director, will talk about her office and role, how it evolved, how energy issues are incorporated, how Phil uses energy funding sources, and then some specific roles and programs relating to energy. We'll have questions at the end. If you type in your questions as we go, that'll allow us to prepare a little bit. So what's in a name? Naming your program and manager's position really has to fit with community values, your own organizational structure. We've seen a lot of different names for these kind of programs over the decades.
Sustainability - you know, it usually focuses on environment, economy, equity, and all this incorporates energy issues. We've seen more funding lately for energy efficiency, whether it's for city-owned facilities or residential and commercial housing, office, and industry. Some cities are focusing on renewable energy from a production scale. Climate protection has incorporated in a lot of these issues, linked to energy and air quality. Some words - I've seen climate plans lately that are coming out that we're bidding on that are focused on energy independence, on carbon reduction, cost-effectiveness, performance management.
And typically the programs also include elements of green building, livability, smart growth, even historic preservation. My own _____ career in this has been a few decades in the making, going from hands-on as an early adopter in the â€˜70s of solar, and then super-insulated historic restoration retrofits in the â€˜80s. In the mid-â€˜90s, the MacArthur Foundation, a great nonprofit, had a Sustainable Everglades Initiative that was actually working with the Florida Department of Community Affairs at the state planning office, and they used energy funding to support a sustainability "circuit rider" that would go around and work with communities around the state.
In Honolulu, Mayor Harris, about a decade ago, had tremendous initiatives in sustainable transport, energy, environment, and that was staffed by a project consultant - that was me, at the time - sitting in transportation department but also sort of dual-reporting to the cabinet for policy. In Texas, we'll go a little more in depth about the current position, but I remember when the position announcement came out about a decade ago. The sustainability officer first sat in the planning department, but also reported on the dotted line to city manager, and the position moved in 2004 over to the Austin Energy Protection Program.
There's now a new chief sustainability officer in place - we'll look at that in a little more detail. In Virginia, looking at a regional strategy, they adopted in '98 some regional sustainability accords, and a lot of initiatives flowed out of that regional initiatives, and coordinated by the planning district but implemented via localities' and partner's plans, program, and funding, including green building, energy, and transportation. So we'll look, again, at about six localities, you know, and in Austin, they actually own the energy production - it's a public entity. And that has a climate focus for that position.
In Charlottesville, Virginia, the sustainability administrator sits in the environmental office in the public works department, and works a lot with other departments. In Raleigh, North Carolina, the sustainability staff actually are in the budget and administration office, reporting to assistant city manager. Seattle has a separate office within the admin reporting structure that coordinates terrifically with all the other departments. Katherine will talk to you about her office in Philadelphia, but that is a cabinet-level department in the mayor's office, but also, you know, sitting in another department as well.
And then, interestingly, Kansas City, Missouri, they actually have a regional entity - the NPO the Mid-America Regional Council, that is staffing City Green Impact Zone. So really, how you structure your program, including where the manager is and who they report to, influences your long-term effectiveness and success, but every one of these example programs include a significant focus on green building and energy conservation. So for you to think about - I'm assuming that most of the people listening here are already in place, and some of these things are somewhat in flux.
Some of you are rethinking your position, just like Austin just did, and pumping up its effectiveness. You need to think about how your locality is organized; who has not only the decision-making power, but who actually appoints the other department heads? Is it the mayor, a strong mayor type, or is it the city manager, or a strong council? Is there executive leadership or strong community partners? One negative of having a, you know, it up at the mayoral level is if somebody loses an election, and they're the only one who's really focused on this, you've sort of lost your champion. So you need to look at number two, you know, what departments are currently working on the energy issues?
In some cases, the money flows through housing, planning, community development, public works, facilities, environment, utilities - so looking at where's your funding from, where's it managed. And you know, all this is sponsored by DOE, and we're primarily looking at ECPP funding and SEP funding. You want - for program longevity you want to look at all potential sources, not just current federal initiatives. Which departments administer the funds? Which partners have related funding and initiatives, and which program home has the best chance of long-term success? There's really not a single one-size-fits-all.
So let's just look quickly at a few of the quick examples. The chief sustainability officer, which is one of the newest offices that I've seen - Lucia Athens was just hired in the middle of this year. It's housed in the city manager's office. It's intended to coordinate interdepartmental efforts across green purchasing; energy, water and resource conservation; solid waste recycling; green building; renewable resources; funding and metrics. And we'll talk about that a little at the end, but having really good metrics is the way that you show that your program works and is worth continuing to spend money on.
The prior position - which did terrific work - was really housed in the energy department. If you look at Austin's org chart, there's actually a dotted line from city management over to that; it had no direct authority to require compliance with departmental climate action plans. The prior sustainability officer, they sort of tried it in a couple places, again, doing terrific work. They were first, for four years, housed in the transportation, planning department, then moved over to energy, and the city recently decided to elevate it and have a higher-level person who has significant - a little bit more influence and works in the city manager's office.
Again, even with just the position in Austin Energy, terrific work when you look at the metrics that they're using. It actually offsets 600 megawatts of peak demand. That allowed them to pretty much not build another power plant, and the goal is upcoming to offset another 800 megawatts. They've also, using some pretty innovative work from the DOE Better Buildings grants and the Clean Energy Accelerator, to try a number of new - they're basically gonna try a number of market initiatives over the next three years and figure out what really works, and track the metrics of that.
The current one is the "Best Offer Ever;" some of the details are there. They also have a very cool online carbon footprint calculator so that households can actually calculate their energy consumption GHG emissions online. In Seattle, that's, again, a separate office. If you look at the little org chart on the right, you can't read it, but the office of sustainability is over there kinda near the bottom right under "admin." And you know, they have an overall mission to accelerate environmentally sustainable practices, but they work really primarily collaborating with other city department, business departments, and community-based organizations.
Excuse me one second. They actually have a district energy RFP out; they're really looking at, you know, energy production out in the different districts. They have Community Power Works building retrofit program, a "Retrofit Ramp Up" program, and IMCOOL climate action that's similar, actually, to Austin's as well. Moving over to Raleigh, North Carolina, I'll confess I recently did some work for them. But they actually have the sustainability office housed in administrative services, again focused on energy, environmental impact, and improving quality of life, and I bolded the part about being financial stewards of taxpayer dollars.
The sustainability staff have a budgeting and administration backgrounds, so even though they don't have the authority to tell other departments what to do, they're the ones who help departments put together their budgets. And again, very creative initiatives: LEED standards, fossil fuel reduction goal, GHG inventory, LED lighting, greening the fleet, renewable energy, sustainable purchasing policies. The picture there is actually a _____ or solar energy production plant that they did in partnership with a private company.
We just did a GHG inventory for them, but I included the list of the team from the report because they actually had this team of people across a bunch of different departments select and hire the consultant to develop the scope of work and oversee their work for the entire time. So they really built a really great cross-department team. In Charlottesville, Virginia, interesting home for the energy work: it's in the department of public works, because that has the - DPW is responsible for operations with a lot of sustainability roles: buildings and facilities, transit, and utilities, so their environmental sustainability division, working, again, with county and the university, does the local climate action plan and other environmental programs.
But the most interesting thing, I think, about Charlottesville: they don't have a housing department. There's a separate housing authority. So they set up, the city and the county and local activists, set up the Local Energy Alliance Program together, so it's a new nonprofit working with county, utilities, contractors, and lenders to deliver on some aggressive goals. They actually direct all of the city's and part of the county's EECBG funding to LEAP to support their efforts. I also noted the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission; they were the ones who developed the Sustainability Accords in '98.
And they received a HUD Sustainable Communities planning grant recently for the implementation plan to build on those accords. And one of the things in that work plan is also to work with LEAP to expand their program. Durham, North Carolina - I have to confess, this is my home town, so I'm a little conflicted out on this one, too. But they have, interestingly, a combined city and county sustainability office; it's actually kind of housed jointly, similar, I think, actually to how the Austin one started out. It's in the county engineering department, but also a direct report to city manager's office. Their main goal is implementing the GHG reduction plan.
They manage the city EECBG funding, but again, since their office is small - Tobin Freid doesn't have a lot of staff support there - they get admin support on administering the grants from the community development department. Half of their funding goes for capital projects in city-owned structures. Again, a lot of it is focused on, you know, building LED retrofits or hot water, monitoring system, things like that, and they do performance contracting as well, which can help multiply the grant dollars. And half of it is for neighborhood-based residential energy efficiency program.
They've partnered with a community organization to actually have the neighborhood volunteers doing door-to-door outreach, and then the city works with private contractors to do contracted improvements. One of the more interesting things about Durham is they decided they're not gonna focus on requiring everybody to have audits. They know that, I guess, number one, there's a tremendous number of fairly simple, cost-effective improvements that will work in every house, so they're focusing on doing those first and then monitoring them over time. For first year, looking at how much energy was used beforehand, and for two years afterwards.
To close up on the examples, Kansas City, Missouri, Green Impact Zone - it's staffed by the Mid-America Regional Council, which is actually the regional planning agency and NPO for two states, both Kansas City, Missouri. And they decided to focus in on one area of Kansas City, and focus on what the administration is calling a place-based effort, and show how they can actually work in a 150-square-block area that really has severe abandonment, economic in some cases, in some groups of blocks, up to 50 percent unemployment. 25 percent of properties are vacant.
And the regional planning staff is helping to coordinate the initiatives and funding from both public and private partners, including, of course, the EECBG and other energy funding, a TIGER grant in transportation, public and private workforce, a significant utility company investments, and bank-owned properties. And what they've found is that the energy initiatives are significant. They have grants that weatherize homes. They came up with EnergyWorks KC for those who don't qualify for low-income homes, to give them the information and resources.
Kansas City Power and Light is pumping tens of millions of dollars into deploying "smart grid" technology as a demonstration project in the area. And then they're working on home performance with ENERGY STAR programs with both electric and gas utilities. I should mention one last thing: for those of you who are mostly in localities, the advantage of working with your regional partner - like they are doing in Kansas City or in Charlottesville - is that your work in the city can help influence those cities around you. And as you can see, if all of the localities are working together, working with the power industry you have a tendency to have more impact and interest on their part.
I wanted to mention also a tool that's available to help you develop and manage metrics, so you know, you can't manage what you don't measure. ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager tool is available to all of you grantees. The website is there. There's also trainings available on a link at the bottom there. It's a whole-building approach to energy tracking. It uses basic building data that's available in most localities, and then provides both weather-normalized baseline and post-installation building and energy performance. And you can go online and get the training and get the tool and work on it yourself.
A couple examples of how some of the cities that I mentioned are measuring and tracking energy savings: Austin Energy's Residential Power Saver program has served over 44,000 customers. They've had peak demand savings of 25 megawatts, average energy savings of 10 percent, and a 25-30 percent cooling bill savings per participant. In the Durham energy efficiency program, they're collecting electric and gas use for one year prior and two years after retrofits, and they're also, interestingly, doing a pre-survey and a post-survey to find out how people's behaviors have changed and why.
And they're also tracking if there have been changes in the household that would account for energy savings, so for instance, a kid went to college, or somebody else moved in, or things like that, so that they can really normalize the data. In the Kansas City Green Impact Zone, they first established a data committee to figure out what was most important to monitor, and to also help them evaluate progress. They partnered with the university to provide data and mapping support, and the goals that they are going to - or the measures they're going to track include number of homes weatherized, energy use, housing infrastructure condition, employment placements for local residents.
They do have a tremendous green job initiative paralleling the energy investments - number of new housing units, and then probably most importantly, community satisfaction. So just three more slides about thinking ahead a little bit about long-term program sustainability, then we hand it over to Katherine. There's really three things that we think are required looking at these really good, successful examples. Most successful energy and sustainability initiatives are not dependent on a single funding source. You really need strong commitment and participation from the bottom, top, middle, and outside of the organization.
Again, CEO-level support: either the mayor or manager. You know, they can help enlist and excite internal departments, the public, and external partners. Your department managers and program managers, line staff are the ones who are actually gonna be implementing it and required to track data over time, and probably again most importantly, the public who are gonna use, benefit from, pay for, and vote to support and continue your program. The other, second one that's really required is broad-based community partnerships.
Most of the examples that we showed had significant community partnerships, both in terms of work-labor support and funding and investments, across housing, environmental, neighborhood, and business groups. That can help you extend the reach and effectiveness of your staff and budgets. And then, you know, they can really help institutionalize and continue the effort when both either elected or agency leadership changes, or your funding changes. Katherine's has a sustainability advisory board; Greensboro has a sustainability council; in Charlottesville, a really terrific nonprofit, again working to extend the city's reach; in Kansas City, tremendous investment from the utility partners and nonprofits as well.
And then, again, multiple sources of long-term funding; while we do have a current infusion of federal funding across the industry, you need to look just beyond, or beyond just the energy funds to transportation, housing, water/sewer infrastructure. I think we were all shocked when we realized there'd been a lot of cities that the electricity for pumping water and sewer is about sometimes up to half of what's being used in the city. You can look at commercial and industrial finance, performance-based contracting. In Greensboro, North Carolina, sustainability council identified long-term potential funding - this hasn't passed yet.
This is their recommendation, but they recommended that if you look at all the energy savings that the city was conducting, that half of that money be dedicated to investing in new sustainability initiatives. HUD's brand new in the last couple of months PowerSaver loans will - again, this is coming from HUD, not DOE - but it'll offer homeowners funding to make energy-efficient improvements. And then, as I mentioned, the KC Green Impact Zone includes a tremendous amount of utility SmartGrid investments. So with that in mind, I'm going to hand it over to Katherine Gajewski, Director of Sustainability for the City of Philadelphia.
Katherine Gajewski: Great. Thanks so much, Harrison. My name is Katherine Gajewski. I'm the director of sustainability for Philadelphia, and I was asked to speak a little bit about our experience here, and how we have organized our sustainability and energy functions within our government structure. And I'll start out by giving a little bit of history about kind of why Philadelphia is interested in sustainability in the first place, and what the starting point for us was.
And our mayor, Mayor Nutter, was elected just about three years ago, and so during the time of our mayor's race, sustainability became a really high visibility issue that a lot of citizens were organized on during our election cycle. So we felt a lot of citizen pressure and advocacy pressure around sustainability, and it was good for then-candidate Nutter because this was an area where he was very supportive and tended to make some policy commitments. And so having that citizen push from the very beginning was really helpful to kind of elevating the stature of sustainability within our organization, so the mayor made a pledge as a candidate to establish an office of sustainability and a director of sustainability position, which would be cabinet-level within his administration.
I also kind of note this history here because it meant that sustainability came in at the very beginning of the administration. Once the country had kind of gone through some culture change where sustainability was becoming kind of more broadly recognized as an issue area that needed attention. It wasn't so much a fringe issue as maybe even two or three years in advance it would've been from there. So at the point of organizing the administration, sustainability was in the mix, and this becomes really important for me and some issues I'm gonna talk about later on, because it means that the top officials that the mayor brought on all came in understanding that this was a priority of the mayor, and something that they were gonna have to take into account and make commitments on in the work that they did.
And again, you know, sustainability, really, to be effective and to work at scale, it can't be, you know, one sustainability director or manager or energy person, you know, toiling away by themself. You really have to get the buy-in and have champions across government and across the community at large. So having a network of administration officials from that starting point who wee behind this has really been helpful to us. So we established the office of sustainability, and this director of sustainability function, and I'm actually the second director. Our first director, Mark Alan Hughes, came in, and it was, you know, like many of you on the call - I'm sure you can understand this - but, you know, it was called an office.
But for a few months, it was just him kind of trying to figure out, with very little budget at that point, how he was gonna get this going. And we established the office with some small amount of city funding and then some foundation funding from a local foundation called the William Penn Foundation, which was really instrumental in helping us to be able to go through a planning process for Greenworks. And we decided very early on that in order to be successful and to work effectively, we needed a plan. If we didn't have a plan, we were gonna get pulled in a million different directions; we weren't gonna be focused; we weren't going to be working towards certain goals.
And we also wanted to be able to tell the public - who is very interested in this issue area - what exactly we were thinking; what we were planning to do, and what we are working on. So Mark Alan Hughes spent about nine months with a number of folks, drafting our Greenworks Philadelphia sustainability plan, and you can find the plan in full and as an executive summary version online at phila.gov/green. And it's built around these 5 core Es of energy, environment, economy, engagement, and equity, and then from there we established these 14 targets that you can see here summarized.
And we tied specific metrics and then a number of initiatives to each one of these targets to kind of give a road map to the city about how we were going to reach these goals. So, you know, target one, for example; we made these goals ambitious, but attainable. We didn't wanna be setting goals that we were constantly failing to meet, but we wanted to also not let ourselves off easy, and kind of just put a lot of softballs out there. so for example, target one, municipal government energy use: we are striving to reduce our city government energy use by 30 percent from 2008 levels by the year 2015.
We're looking to reduce city-wide energy use by 10 percent, weatherize 15,000 homes or 15 percent of the housing stock here. so these are pretty big goals for us, and we chose 2015 as our timeline because we understood that Greenworks was very much an initiative of Mayor Nutter, and that the subsequent mayor - we have a term-limited context here in Philadelphia. So if Mayor Nutter is lucky to have a second term, his mayorship will go through 2015, and we recognize that Greenworks as a plan was very much tied to him. Now, we're gonna hustle and do our best in the next five years to make sure that that sustainability really gets integrated into city government so whoever is next inherits a great system and structure and decides to take this on, but can kind of also put their own stamp on it.
So this is a quick overview of what Greenworks seeks to do, and you'll see that it's very broad-based. We have these first four targets that are clustered around energy issues, but we also address trees, open space, storm water management, waste diversion and recycling, local food issues, infrastructure, transition to electric vehicles, public transportation, jobs and economic development, community outreach and engagement. So it's a very broad-based plan, and that was intentional; we decided to go beyond just climate issues and energy issues, and take a comprehensive look at sustainability.
So on to the next slide here. I think another thing in terms of really integrating sustainability into city government the sustainability plan can't exist on its own. It needs to interact with other planning efforts that are underway. And not really intentionally, we got very lucky in that Greenworks came out and was published before a few of our other planning efforts, including our zoning code and our comprehensive plan. So this just kind of shows you a few plans that are underway right now that each inform each other and cross-sect with each other. So for example, Green City Clean Waters is our storm water management plan, and we took a lot of the goals and initiatives there and put them into Greenworks.
And then the Greenworks goals are being reflected in the update to our zoning code, which is underway right now, in the final stages, and then again in our comprehensive plan, which is underway right now. So Greenworks is extending itself beyond a sustainability plan, and we're starting to look at other ways in which the city has a role in issues related to energy and sustainability, and doing what we can do as a city government to make commitments and changes and policy decisions and regulations there. For example, zoning is a great way that local municipalities have jurisdiction and influence over building and development.
So there's been a really nice confluence, and again, this is partly because, you know, the team of us here working are, you know, jointly committed and concerned about these issues. And so there's been a really nice working relationship that we've been able to develop where we have a nice flow of conversation between the offices so that planning will call sustainability, and the water department will call sustainability. And sustainability will call the zoning code folks to just say, "Hey, we're thinking about this - are you thinking about this," and there's a nice flow of information in that way.
This is the organization of our office, and it's a little bit of a work in progress - I'll say that much. I know that everyone is approaching this differently in how to set up the office and how to organize it, and we see this very much as a living arrangement here. But we - I report directly to the mayor, so the director of sustainability position is a high-level, cabinet-level position in our government, which has worked very well for me personally in that there's no question that this is the commitment of the mayor, and that this is something that he takes very, very seriously. And that, you know, when I speak, that I have the weight of the mayor behind me.
But the mayor also created a new structure of government that didn't exist in the prior administration. The prior administration had mayor, chief of staff, deputy mayor, and commissioners. Mayor Nutter, our current mayor, put in a layer - a deputy mayor structure - which I know many cities and municipalities have. And so we created this new deputy mayor structure that included the deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, who oversees management of our city-owned gas works, but also relations - the water department as well, which is our water utility - but also oversees relations with our other utilities: electricity, steam, oil, et cetera
So we were trying to - you know, we established the office of sustainability, and in the first year or so, the core functions were really around the development of the Greenworks plan. But then as we started to get a little bit more mature, we started to focus more on the energy management function, and we were also able to because of the EECBG funding that came out. So we all of a sudden had some flexibility to do some additional hiring with, and at that point we sat down and started to think through how we were going to integrate these energy management functions into our structure.
And because energy fell between these two offices, we decided at this point we couldn't stack it in just one place, because of this somewhat bifurcated deputy mayor office of sustainability issue that we had. So what we decided to do - and I don't think this would maybe work if we didn't have such a good working relationship and, you know, daily calls and e-mails and everything else to make sure that we're all in close communication. But you'll see here, in my office we have an energy conservation coordinator, a policy and program manager, someone who's overseeing our Solar American Cities program, an outreach and policy coordinator.
And then I share a few folks - John Edelstein and Fredda Lippes - who work between my office and then another department. So John Edelstein is with our commerce department, and Fredda Lippes is with our department of public property, who oversees facilities. And then we also have - I think it's important to note that, again, we don't work in a silo. We work very, very closely, and are very, very dependent with a number of agencies and departments across city government. And we have liaisons from each of those departments who make up our sustainability working group, which is about 60 people.
And we meet quarterly and then do in-depth sessions and tours and talk all the time on a regular basis outside of those quarterly meetings. So you'll see here also, we have in our EnergyWorks program, which is our Better Buildings-funded program, that also falls between my office and the office of the deputy mayor for economic development. So as all of these new initiatives come up, we are trying to figure out how can we kinda create a central organization, but also recognize that the office of sustainability is working really collaboratively with these other offices. And so this has been something that we've struggled with a little bit, but today this works for us, so far, so start to have leaders in positions across multiple offices that work very closely.
And it kind of extends our tentacles in a really nice way into other operations in government that we don't see as deeply because we're in a different building in a different office, et cetera. And then you'll see under the deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, her chief of staff is the person that I coordinate with, really on a daily basis. And we work very nicely together, which has made all of this feel a little bit less complicated. But there we have an energy manager and an energy analyst who are working on the procurement side of things, so looking at our electricity procurement, managing that; managing some consultants that we have in place there.
So we've, in our heads, divided it between supply and demand, so my office focuses on the demand side of things and does a lot of the energy conservation programming, and Deputy Mayor Cutler's office works on the supply and procurement side of things. And of course, there's a lot of gray room, and the way that we've resolved that is through just a lot of communication. So we have regular, standing meetings with the core energy team, and then about every six or eight weeks, we bring together representatives from all the other departments who touch energy as kind of an energy working group.
And that's actually something that we just started maybe six months ago or so, and has been a really helpful addition to our communications flow. So you'll see here, we're a big city - we're 1.5 million residents. We're about the fifth largest city in the country, and so our city government is also quite large. We have about 25,000 city employees, and a number of departments, agencies, and quasi-city agencies. So here, just to give a sense of kind of all the different departments we work with - you know, everyone plays a really important role, and, you know, everyone uses energy, has, you know, touches sustainability in a number of different ways.
So we really see ourselves as playing a central coordinating role, and we wanna add value to departments and be a resource for them, so that's something that we're always mindful of: how can we be champions and be leaders? Also, help to develop champions and leaders in these other agencies, but what can we do to be a value-add to these departments, so that when we're asking folks to start tracking a new set of metrics, or, you know, to add workload to what they are doing, that that makes sense to them, and that's something they're willing to do because they've also seen value come from their working relationship with our office.
Again, to make all of this work, it's just a lot of communication, a lot of check-ins, just always trying to keep up with what folks are doing so that we can stay on top of it and understand early on where we can make helpful interventions. And I'll say again that we are going to be, I think, constantly reassessing this structure to see. You know, every six months we kind of sit down and say to ourselves, "Okay, what's working? What's not working?" And especially on the energy side of things and how we have staff divided; I think we're gonna continuously just be saying, "Does it make sense to merge these?"
You know, is now the time? Do we wanna make that move? And actually, in the past, about ten years ago when energy prices were, you know, were somehow lower, but there was more of a commitment to energy management in the city of Philadelphia, we did have an office of energy management that was well-staffed and all sat together under our managing director's office. And then over the course of nine years, that office got reduced from about six or seven staff members down to one. So when we came in, what was existing was just one person, who was essentially in charge of, you know, managing the utility bill payment, who was sitting in the managing director's office, but not really well-integrated, and there wasn't this bigger program.
So we often look back to the way it was organized ten years ago and think whether or not that might be a structure that we want to get back to with kind of the consolidation of functions in one place. So I think really reassessing, and as Harrison made the point, being honest with yourself about what's working and what's not working, is very key, and being open to change is very important. So I just wanted to talk briefly - we have so much going on around energy-related issues and initiatives, and I won't be able to go through all of them today. But if anyone's interested in following up in more detail, I'm definitely here to talk, and you can see our website.
We put a progress report up last spring that outlines what we're doing initiative by initiative and everything that's outlined in Greenworks. And you can find that online at our website as well. But this is a general kind of overview of a snapshot of things that we're doing around energy efficiency. We have these four goals here, as you'll see - these four core goals that we have to stay focused on which is lowering city government energy consumption by 30 percent. That's really important to us. I know many people here feel the same way; that leading by example is critical.
If we're looking to put legislation out that affects commercial and residential homeowners and building owners, you know, there's gonna be backlash if they're saying, "Well, you're not even doing this at city buildings." So we're really looking at our 450 buildings and 1,500 utility accounts and understanding where we can start to make some movement on our own. And then working with the residential and commercial building sector to start to offer energy efficiency programs - I'm gonna go into that in a minute. Looking at housing retrofits and how we can scale up that marketplace.
We are one of 25 communities to be awarded the Better Buildings funding, so we've launched our EnergyWorks program to help offer a financing tool to help more residents in our regions to do that. And then we're looking to purchase and generate 20 percent of electricity used in Philadelphia from alternative energy sources. So this is, you know, we just broke ground on our first city solar project this week, and we're looking to scale up quite quickly here. So you'll see there's a range of issues, and we're trying to simultaneously advance initiatives under each one of these, so we're not taking it one by one.
We're trying to prioritize a number of initiatives under each one to make pretty aggressive forward movement simultaneously. And this is just kind of a scan here of some of the initiatives that we're spending time on right now. So I mentioned our EnergyWorks loan program, and I thought I would add in the lead city department to give you a sense of how it's not just our office touching it. We have a lot of people coming in and playing a role in advancing these programs. And this is just a snapshot of things that are currently underway, and for the sake of not having the longest PowerPoint presentation ever, I didn't add them all in, but just kind of gave a snapshot here.
So our EnergyWorks program, which is offering energy efficiency, financing at very low interest rates for both commercial and residential projects. We are gonna be transitioning our departments to energy conservation targets. Right now we pay all of our departments' energy bills centrally out of one account, so there's really no tie between the operations of departments and their energy bills. So we're trying to create a system where we're putting each department on a conservation budget of sorts. And I'll talk about one issue there that I'll note a little bit later on, but as, you know, I think as governments and municipalities are becoming more savvy around energy programming, and starting to do things like demand response and peak load sell-backs.
And we here have our utility conservation mandated program that has rebates available, and so we get money back. We're trying to understand, you know, departments save money. We have these new revenue streams that are tied to energy efficiency and energy, and we're trying to understand how we build a bigger program that, you know, builds the carrot and the stick. So at the same time as we're putting a department on an energy budget, we're also showing them some sort of incentive or some sort of money back or something that helps to have them take it one step further.
So that's something we're actually struggling with, and if any municipality has developed a good system that finance is happy with and energy is happy with and the mayor is happy with, we would really love to hear from you, because we've been struggling with what the perfect solution is there. We're starting to look in-house, as I mentioned, to understand where we can make interventions in our current processes. So we're looking at our capital investments as well as our smaller procurement investments, and we've established an energy efficiency fund. So my office made a pool of funding available to departments who are able to identify really high-payback, interesting, and innovative energy efficiency projects within their operations.
We're developing protocols for the capital budget process. We are creating a system for the Act 129 rebates. We passed legislation that puts a LEED Silver requirement on all new major renovations and new construction of city buildings. We launched a Philly Buying Power small business electricity pool purchasing program. We have a demand response program up and running. We're doing a guaranteed energy savings project or an ESCO project at four of our largest buildings - the first one that we've undertaken. We're moving forward on a number of large-scale solar projects and looking at the permitting process to understand how we can make solar even easier, both small-scale and large-scale, in Philadelphia.
We're taking a new measure on our procurement process and integrating more green energy as part of that, and looking at, you know, IT plans and procurement plans. So again, you know, this is just a small smattering of things we're doing, but we're doing these all at once, so all of a sudden there was all of these energy programs, you know, taking place and going on. Which is great, but it also is sometimes a little confusing, because we're moving very quickly, and the systems are very new. So starting to really, again - the way that we've just been managing it early on is just really through a lot of communication.
So all of a sudden there's these new rules of engagement, so really make sure you're talking to public property, you're talking to your managing director, you're in constant communication with finance. So we're gonna be continuing to move really quickly, and then be reassessing how these programs advance as the program matures. And the question that we get a lot is how do we pay for all of this, and I will try to - I'm having a hard time with this slide - ah. So we get funding right now from a number of sources, but as you'll see here, like many of the folks on the phone, we're very dependent on Department of Energy money right now, and that's all one-time Department of Energy money.
So we get some small amount of funding each year through - well, I shouldn't say small. It's generous, and in this budget context, you know, we're happy to get what we get. But we have a small allocation from the general fund, a small allocation from our capital fund; you'll see $25 million for our Better Buildings EnergyWorks program. We receive $14.1 million in the EECBG Formula program, and then we are also one of the DOE Solar America Cities cities, so we received about $722,000.00 in multiple sources for that program. and then also a state grant that's helping us get our EV electric vehicle program up and running.
So I just wanted to show here that, you know, the majority of our funding is one-time, so even as the economy improves and governments' general funds improve, as revenue goes back up, we're certainly, you know, not at any point going to see our city budget jump from $900,000.00 to $40 million to make up for that one-time funding. So we need - you know we're constantly thinking about what next year looks like, the year after that, and how we carry this momentum forward, and how we do the work that we do without a heavy constraint on the general fund. You know, the ESCO is a way for us to look beyond a capital-constrained budget.
Power purchase agreements are a way to look beyond capital-constrained budgets. So we're trying to think very creatively about how we can move forward, advance our work, without a huge burden on the general fund, just because that's not a tremendous option for us right now. But at the same time, I think that each of these projects - especially when you're able to show the payback - that you build up more goodwill with your budget and finance office, so that they're starting to see proof that energy efficiency pays back, and it's worth the investment. So we're also right now, you know, while were in this situation to be well-staffed and well-funded, we're really trying to advance a lot of projects where we can be tracking that payback for our budget and finance offices, so that we can go back to them in a year and make the case for why we need potentially a jump in our city funding.
And that it's gonna pay back and be a good - I like the term that Harrison brought up, that, you know, it's helping us to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. And - one second here - I'm trying to get to the next slide. And I wanted to highlight in particular how we've used the strategy around our EECBG funding, and I'm trying to go back to this slide here; sorry, everyone. Oh - this is a layout of our EECBG program, and I wanted to go through this just because I know a lot of the people on the call were lucky to also receive this funding from the Department of Energy.
And as I mentioned, we got $14.1 million, and we sat back and we really looked at how we would not become dependent on this funding, so that we would use it to launch programs that we knew we were gonna be able to leverage or continue funding for after the EECBG dollars ran out, or projects that would help us to start making the case for continued funding, and then also to do one-time investments. So we really sat and looked at how can we advance our Greenworks program? What are the initiatives that we have in Greenworks that we think this funding would be well-suited toward?
How can we - again, how can we leverage this funding and get it to kind of get programs launched that can then galvanize some energy to get to the next level? But we were very strategic up front about not getting ourselves in a place where we were gonna be funding things that were then just gonna drop off a precipitive cliff when that funding ran out in three years. So we decided to do 12 different programs with that funding, and we wanted, again, to both be investing in our in-house capabilities, but also showing community benefit to some of our projects. So we swapped out all of our traffic signals with LEDs.
We were able to leverage $3 million from our utilities to do that. We established a revolving loan fund, which again we were able to take out about $4 million of private capital on that to start with. An original pool of about $8 million, and those funds will revolve, so we'll see what the next iteration of that's gonna be. We also created two innovative programs to start experimenting with what we think we might want to do at a greater scale going forward, which is a rebate program for small businesses who aren't able to take on debt. How can we help these small businesses, which are such an important part of our economic development scheme here?
How can we help them to become more energy-efficient? And then pilot tech program - we gave grants out to firms that have interesting clean tech innovations, and helped to provide them with seed capital to advance those products and services. We've set aside about $1 million for city retrofits, so on and so forth, but I'll note a few of the projects that we wanted to show citizens that we're doing things. We purchased RFID readers to support our incentive-based recycling program; so these are scanners that allowed us to set up a recycling rewards program with Recycle Bank, so that was a program that was gonna bring value to every citizen across the city.
We put bike parking racks across the city. We transitioned more of our traditional litter baskets to the solar-powered BigBelly units across major commercial corridors. That's something we were hearing citizens liked a lot, so we put 260 more on the street along with 150 more recycling units, and we were able to get some funds to leverage our water department funds to get our big solar project up, â€˜cause we wanted to start making movement in that regard. So this is - I mention this only because, you know, I think it's important to be planning forward and to be thinking big, but also to be recognizing the constraints of your funding sources and working creatively within that.
And again, to be balancing the projects you're working on; to be doing the things that are advancing the work in-house that you know you need to be able to do to be effective and successful, but also to be showing your community at large - your city council, citizens, the rest of your administration - what the value is of these programs, and why energy efficiency matters and is something that needs to be recognized as a part of your functions. These are just a few photos here of what we've been doing, and again, how we're showing the city what we're doing. These are the trucks that are swapping out the LEDs across the city, and we decided that was an opportunity to let folks know what we were doing and why we were doing it.
And this is one of our recycling trucks. We've worked with our mural arts program to do community design programs to make them look really nifty, so that when they cruise through the community it makes people smile, and they get more energized about our recycling program. This is just a quick image of the utility bill management database that we were able to purchase with some of our energy efficiency dollars. And I'll make a final point here that data management is something that has become a huge issue for us. You know, we put out this fancy sustainability plan - we have these 14 targets, 169 initiatives, a number of different metrics that we're measuring against.
And you know, for the first year we were just dying being surrounded by Word documents and Excel spreadsheets of data that was coming in from all different angles. And, you know, a community group would e-mail you and tell you they were gonna be planting 78 trees that weekend, and, you know, we have all these utilities. We just had so much information that we wanted to have a good system to be able to track. And so we established - we were able to purchase two databases with EECBG money, and I would make the point to anyone who's at the early stages, think about data as you're thinking about your plan.
Do those two things hand in hand. You know, as you're developing your sustainability or energy management plan, think about the implementation process and how you're gonna be reporting on it at the same time. That's one thing, if we could go back, I wouldn't done that a little bit earlier. But this is just a quick snapshot of the utility bill management database that we're working on with a company called Hara. Again, wanted to make it really user-friendly, very visual, because, for the first time, we're gonna be letting departments across the city interact with their energy data.
So how could we do this in a way that would be interesting for them to kind of bring them in and get them more interested in energy management and energy conservation at the department level. These are our bike racks that went in across the city. We reused existing infrastructure - these meter poles - and converted them into bike racks; and then a picture of one of our many, many BigBellies that have been really well received by the public. So that's just a quick overview - oh, and this is gonna be our solar project, which is gonna be completed at one of our water department facilities in the spring, and will hopefully be the beginning of many, many, many renewable energy projects for us.
So with that being said, I think that's a really quick snapshot of what we're doing here in Philadelphia, and I know that we're gonna have some time for Q&A, so I would be happy to speak in more detail on any area folks are interested in hearing about.
Harrison Rue: Thank you so much, Katherine. Boy, I learned a lot on that - that was great. So one final sort of wrap-up slide before we summarize pretty much both what I said, and Katherine did. Before we kick off the questions - and I should remind folks to go ahead and put your question in writing; we've got a bunch of them in the queue. Courtney may go ahead and open up the phone line as well after we go through the written questions. So what seems to work in terms of planning for long-term success? Knowing your local culture, politics, organizational structure; get your agency name and home right to maximize success.
And, you know, I should note that as we saw in a couple of my examples and what Katherine mentioned, don't be afraid to look at it and reorganize if it's not quite working. It'll help you ensure that a small staff will have influence beyond their own ability. I did notice we have one question already, can you do this with a part-timer, and yeah, you can have a significant influence with a half-time person in a small locality if you work with partners. It's critical to involve partnership from both across and outside your own agency, all the related departments - Katherine has good examples of that.
But also the outside agencies: community housing and environmental groups, and especially business and industry. Promoting your success stories: you know, you do have to start with the data, but you have to turn that into stories that make sense to people, and again, both your own and your partners' successes. Measure and track that performance over time. Katherine mentioned that. We also saw that Mark in Kansas City actually set up a committee right at the beginning of the project to talk with folks about what data was possible, and what data is worth collecting.
And then use all of that to generate ongoing funding and interest from industry and partners, and from your own measurable results. So there's no one-size-fits-all approach that works everywhere. With that in mind, Carrie, shall we go ahead and I'm gonna ask you to sort of be the moderator of questions, and pull out some of the ones that you think are pretty good and quick to answer.
Moderator: Yeah, sure. And for all the attendees, you can type a question into the question box, and it will come up in the queue. Or if you want, we can also open up the lines afterwards by raising your hand, and once we go through some of the typed questions, I will go through and look at the raised hands in case you prefer that way. So to start off -
Harrison Rue: You can ignore all the ones at the beginning about me being on mute.
Moderator: We do apologize for the confusion with the sound at first, but as a general question has been asked, the slides and the PowerPoint will be posted online at the Dept of Energy Solution Center within a few days, so you can have a copy of the slides. You had that question a few times. So to start off, for our presenters, there have been a few questions about suggestions for funding other than current federal initiatives, or different ways to find funding sources.
Harrison Rue: Sure. Katherine, why don't you answer that first from your own experience?
Katherine Gajewski: Sure, and this is certainly - we're in the same place right now, trying to understand this. I think that looking at revenue opportunities, so demand response, for example. We had our first real large-scale city demand response program this past summer, and we made enough out of that to - we're talking right now with our budget and finance office about earmarking those funds each year to cover the salary of the energy management position, which would give a nice built-in funding source to be able to support those positions.
And I saw a question come up earlier about how we're paying for them right now, and right now, I think three of the five positions in my office are - except for my position and one other - are on the EECBG budget. So we have to figure out how to take them off and transition. So the revenue sources, I think, is really critical, and for some savvy cities, if they're able to do, you know, peak load buy-backs, that kind of thing, that can provide enough funding to support your staff, and perhaps a database and some other core ongoing costs.
Harrison Rue: I would add a couple things to that, just from the examples we looked at. You know, number one - and again, we all have the recognition that local and state budgets are slammed right now, so the idea of adding new positions - people are somewhat constrained. Something that has worked in the past is sort of combining funding from different departments or from ongoing contracts. When I was in Honolulu ten years ago, they actually funded me as a consultant working like staff in the city, paying me out of a variety of different transportation and other planning contracts, not using energy funding.
In terms of other currently available things, you know, we mentioned, in terms of staffing, the concept of working with partners and having some of your actual work done by volunteers. You know, in Durham, they're actually doing the neighborhood outreach with volunteers in the neighborhoods to extend the reach of staff. Or probably more importantly, so that their folks are more welcome in the neighborhood, as they were residents. In the case of a couple other localities, the idea of performance contracting, so that you can actually get the actual construction work.
This tends to be a little bit more easily done in a commercial industrial building, but you can actually get the construction work paid for out of bonds that are paid back over time from the actual savings. In the case of really looking across everything that's happening, and not just be the DOE dollars, when you're actually looking at the different funding sources, ensuring that energy conservation is incorporated in your ongoing HUD and affordable housing grants; ensuring that your transportation dollars are also focused on energy. You can use a variety of existing, ongoing funding sources, even when they're limited, to focus on sustainability and energy retrofits.
And then I would say last, looking at industry's potential. In the case of Kansas City, you know, industry's putting tens of millions of dollars in; are multiplying the local dollars.
Moderator: Thanks, guys. On that same line, we have another question that says for Katherine that there seems to be a lot of one-time grant funding. Applying for these alone can be a full-time position. How do you allocate the fundraising aspect of the office of sustainability?
Katherine Gajewski: Yeah, that's a good question. I try to limit the amount of grant-writing that we do to really - you know, I don't go ask - I try to be very strategic about what our needs are, and what the right potential funding step might be. So if we're not really committed and really in need of a funding opportunity, we don't pursue it, because grant-writing does take up so much time, so these were opportunities. You know, the Formula EECBG grant - you know, that was going through the paperwork process, but wasn't an application.
The Better Buildings grant, Harrison's point, was a real partnership effort, so we brought in external partners as part of our team, as well as internal folks, so that that - well, it still became a lot of work for us inside here, but that was clearly worth going after. For some of the state grants, like you'll see we got $140,000.00 grant from the state - you know, that's expensive money. You put in a lot of work writing the grant, and then administering the funds. So we just had to really talk with ourselves; did we think there was another way we were gonna be able to get this funding? How critical was it for us to be able to launch this program?
And with each funding source to sit down with, you know, either your staff, who you would have delegating part of the grant-writing work to, and to really do that review and assessment up front, rather than just willy-nilly going after the grant. That's how we've been doing that. And again, I don't go after a lot of grants, and maybe that's not the smartest thing. But just because it does take up so much time, and time is a valuable asset over here that we don't have a whole lot of.
Moderator: And then one more along that line: we have a question about using local utility providers in cooperative - have they been cooperative in terms of supporting and enabling your energy procurement and efficiency and city-owned energy generation initiatives? Can you talk about how that has worked and what has been the dialogue with them?
Katherine Gajewski: Sure. So we own our gas utility, which is Philadelphia Gas Works, as well as the water department, and both of them have just been great partners. There's a lot of communication, and there's a lot of alignment of programs so that, you know, we're talking to Philadelphia Gas Works about what conservation programs they're rolling out; how they're talking to citizens. You know, we've been using the water department as a key player for us in advancing some of our solar programs. Our electricity provider is PECO, which is an Exelon company.
And just at the time we were putting our Greenworks program in place and putting these energy conservation plans in place, Pennsylvania passed their mandate, their utility mandate, a conservation plan called Act 129 here in Pennsylvania. So we happened to get very lucky in that we were starting to think about energy conservation in-depth at the same time PECO, our electricity provider, was, through this Act 129 mandated program. So they're in the process of really starting to think through the next generation of what they're gonna be as an electricity provider, and are integrating conservation into their programs.
So they have something called the Smart Ideas program, which is their rebate and incentive program for homeowners and business owners. So we've had a great dialogue with them about aligning our messages to help make it less confusing and more clear for residents to understand how they access some of these incentives and rebates, and what kind of language we're using to talk to Philadelphians. They've also been a great partner for us starting to talk forward about more long-term issues like transitioning to smart meters, electric vehicle infrastructure - but I think that Act 129 conservation program got them in the mindset of starting to really think about conservation in a deep and meaningful way. So they've been great partners for us.
Harrison Rue: I'll add on just a little bit, sort of overview nationally. Several of the examples that we talked about do have their own utility; both Austin and Seattle have their own utility, and Charlottesville, they own the water and gas. So, you know, when there's a direct relationship, it generally tends to work well. In terms of working with and having an impact and even getting funding from non-locally-owned utilities, it varies nationally. There's more creative partnerships, it seems, in the Northeast and along the Pacific Coast.
I did serve on a, you know, governor's climate change commission in a state I'm not gonna mention, and, you know, we had the utilities on there, and they were generally the private utilities, and they were generally much less interested in this stuff just a year and a half ago, a couple years ago. So you need to look at your local climate. To tag onto that another question: how do we get the industry involved - both industry and utilities involved? And it goes back to the beginning when you're setting up the project. Usually, if a sustainability staffer calls up a utility exec, you're not gonna be developing an immediate partnership.
But if you have a sort of powerful outside committee of business and industry leaders that are committed to this, and they're the ones that invite the utility executive in, you can often have a much better conversation up front.
Moderator: Thanks so much. We have another question here that says, "Who initiates sustainability positions? Do you approach the mayor or government officials?"
Katherine Gajewski: To bring on a new employee, or to create a new position? That's something that - is that the question?
Moderator: Yeah, that's what - you know, I think that'd be a good question to answer.
Katherine Gajewski: That's something that is a decision that I make. We have to - so we have a distinction in our government between exempt employees - which can sometimes be capped, depending on the department or the context - and then civil service employees. So we go through a process where you have to have a new position approved, but that's a decision that happens at my level or at the deputy mayor level.
Harrison Rue: I read that question as more from someone who doesn't have such a position. I think in that case â€"
Katherine Gajewski: How do you create it?
Harrison Rue: Yeah, how do you sort of create it to begin with? And there's so many different ways to slice that, but I think getting the - what I've done in similar cases is make sure, sometimes, there's an outside business leader makes the call to help make it happen, if your current staff position doesn't really have that power.
Katherine Gajewski: Huh. Yeah, and I think, you know, it varies from place to place, but as much as you can get, you know, your top city manager official supportive and tied to it, I think it's important. I've talked to folks from a lot of different cities and towns where they didn't have - where they felt that they didn't have the support from their city official, and so they felt like they were always just struggling to get people to respond to, you know, the work they were trying to do. So I think as much as possible, having the conversation with your mayor or city manager or equivalent position, if that's a possibility, I think that's really important.
Moderator: Thanks. Katherine, we have another - a few questions about the Hara - the name of the data company you're using - and some questions about was that specifically designed for your needs, or is it a pre-formed program, and is it used for just measuring greenhouse gasses, or just building energy use?
Katherine Gajewski: Great, good question. And I saw a few other ones there, and someone else was wondering why we went with two databases, so I'll speak to the thinking here broadly. So we have the utility bill database and energy management database, which we went through a competitive RFP process and had a number of companies respond. I think we maybe got ten qualified responses, and narrowed it down to four or five finalists. So there's certainly a lot of products out there, and so you need to go into that RFP process really understanding what kind of data you have, how it's currently organized, and what you're looking to do.
So we wanted a product, again, that was very visual and user-friendly - that was important to us - and we saw a lot of products that kind of got the number-crunching done, and you could input data and run reports. But the user experience wasn't as, you know, pretty along the way, and so that was a core criteria that led us to choose Hara. We also wanted something that could be - that was affordable and existed as a template, but then could also - so it wasn't being built to spec, per se, but could be customized, and I think there's a distinction there.
So Hara was willing to work with us to really tailor it to, you know, our set of utility accounts, and help us create the hierarchy of how we were entering that data into the system. But it also kinda helped us give our look and feel to it, so that if the manager of a rec center is going in here, that they understand the language that we've used to organize the information. So it's by department and by facility, so that this'll be something that they'll go in - it will make sense to them. So we like the flexibility of that database. We also liked that there was a greenhouse gas module in there as part of the basic package, so that we can be doing automatic greenhouse gas calculations.
That was really important to us since that was one of the metrics that we were using. And we also liked it because there were additional modules that we could grow into if we decided to bring in other functions here, so, you know, asset management, so tracking some of your building inventory information. I think there's a waste function in there if you wanna trace some of your waste and recycling functions. So we liked the flexibility of Hara. We did two databases because what we wanted our other database to do was to track - again, in Greenworks we have these five Es, 14 targets, 169 different initiatives.
And we wanted to be able to track not only metrics, but we wanted just to store historical information. We wanted to note anecdotal information, contact information, so on and so forth. So we had a different set of specifications for that database, which is why we decided to develop two. But we developed them at the same time, so that they can talk to each other, so that we can export our energy information from Hara into our Greenworks database to populate the information fields for our target one. So ideally, you would have one super database, but we didn't find that product solution on the market.
And just one last point here - this is another one where we went into it knowing that our needs were probably gonna change, and that we were gonna learn a lot as we started to take on this database in the next year or two. So, you know, we don't know what our needs are gonna be two or three years from now, but we did go into it knowing that this was gonna be a somewhat fluid process for us.
Harrison Rue: Katherine, I noticed that - Carrie, just one second. I wanted to get several of the questions coming in; I wanted to get Katherine's take on several of the latest ones here related to what kind of skills and backgrounds do your staff have - any suggestions on professional prep to get an inside track on the vocation? What skill sets have you found to be most important in your most successful employees? That range of - and then somebody else is asking how do you find good quality folks at the city, you know, beyond just an RFP or job posting? Where do we find some talented person who could serve as sustainability manager? Could you cover some of those, Katherine?
Katherine Gajewski: Yes. So I got lucky, and I have a great staff, and I think that our energy functions - so Kristin Sullivan, who runs our solar program, and Adam Agalloco, our conservation manager - these were folks that we really needed to have technical expertise and experience with. And they needed to be able to talk the talk of, you know, engineers and people who can talk about the insides of an HVAC unit. So having technical expertise and backgrounds for those energy management functions was really important to us. You know, rather than an energy policy person, per se, we needed someone who could go in and who could sit down with a range of users and have those conversations with them.
In all of my staff, just because sustainability is so interdisciplinary, and brings us into contact both with the public, with the advocacy community, internally in city government with so many department heads - really strong communication skills, and really flexible personalities were probably the strongest trait that I was looking for in my staff. I needed people who would really put a good face on the name of sustainability, and be good ambassadors as they went and met with people across the city government. So, you know, people who just were able to speak really well on the subject; be able to take the complex information that they were working on, and drill down and talk to multiple audiences.
Those communication skills, I think, were a top consideration for me. For our program management staff, outreach staff, I found some really good generalists, so people when I ask them to become an expert on electric vehicles one week and urban agriculture the next week, don't balk at that. Are really able to - you know, really smart, really quick, and able to kind of go with the flow. And for us - I don't know about many of you - we kind of burn the candle at both ends. We have - you know, this is not a nine to five office here. It's much like a start-up organization; we work long hours, things are constantly changing.
So I was looking for people who would be encouraged by that kind of environment, rather than someone who is looking for more of the structure of like a traditional nine to five job. So we're also a group of - I'll say it loud and proud - we're a pretty young group, so we're mostly in our 30s, and you know, I think that at first I was a little self-conscious about that. But now I think people see us as, you know, that energetic new wave of city employees. So rather than feeling like we weren't being taken seriously by some of the other folks who have been in city government a little bit longer, who are older, I think that we've - you know, we're a nice, energetic office.
And I think that's been fun for other offices who interact with us. So I think that's another thing. You know, a lot of people who are starting out in this field are younger, because it's a new issue area for some, and you probably see a lot of applicants who are younger. And I would say, you know, don't necessarily shy away from some of the younger applicants you're coming across.
Harrison Rue: Then the second half of that one: other than trying to steal your folks, which I don't recommend, where would you recommend folks look for someone for this position, beyond just an RFP or job posting?
Katherine Gajewski: Sure. We keep in touch - you know, I'm sure a lot of folks hear from people along the way who note an interest in this issue area. We keep all of that on file, and do a good job of keeping track of the people who we've met along the way who have expressed interest. You know, I met someone at a city council hearing who stood out, and followed up with him when I was looking to create a position. I also spent a lot of time calling around to people who I worked with in the nonprofit community and the for-profit community.
So people who were, you know, meeting people through their work - I just started to do a lot of networking with the folks I knew to ask who they knew, who was out there. And I'm always keeping my eyes open; if I see someone who I think's doing great work, I always keep people in mind along the way so that it doesn't just become, you know, if you're going into a job posting with no ideas whatsoever, sometimes that can be a frustrating process, so. But a lot of networking - that actually helped a lot.
Moderator: Thanks, Katherine, and Harrison, and I think on that, I would like to thank all the attendees that were here - the 200-plus or so. I'm sorry we couldn't answer everyone's question, but the webinar, as I said, will be posted online in the next few days, and there is an e-mail address for questions. You can e-mail or call the Solution Center if you cannot find the information, the answers to your questions online. So I just wanted to, before we end, show we have some links to some more resources. Once the website is posted, some of the information that was in this PowerPoint can be found at these links.
And I would like you, all attendees, to be aware that there are more upcoming webinars, and to please join us again. The three upcoming ones will be "Building Actionable Climate Action Plans," "Overcoming Barriers to Solar PV and Solar Water Heating Implementation," and "ESPC Pricing and Financing." Again, I'd like to thank Katherine and Harrison for their time, and for all the attendees that called in today. Thanks so much for your questions.