Monday, May 25, 2009

Planning Green Improvements with Stimulus Funding

Recent trends in stimulus funding show special emphasis on applying green technologies in communities.
Block grants for larger municipalities have been made with expectations for green infrastructure investments. It would be a smart move for such communities to start the planning process with involvement from various departments in government, education and private sector participation. Planning will help identify community needs and prioritize what can bring most benefit to the community. The best use of the stimulus funds would be to reduce costs of operations. Ask the question - how much money this step will save forever? Investing the savings in other measures will seed start a continuous improvement process. Stimulus should preferably help the communities for long term. This is what Green thinking can do when applied with some forethought.
Smaller communities have not received the funds under block grant but expect to get it after applying sometimes in July 2009. The money may be limited and given to those communities first who have completed an energy master plan. Therefore it makes all the sense for communities under 35000 population to form the Green Team and evaluate their needs with wide community feedback. A list of projects with energy and conservation benefits should be prepared with budget cost and benefit summary. This document can be submitted with grant application to support their request. Hopefully this approach will give them an edge in this competitive world.
Good luck to those forward thinking Municipal officials that plan first and then implement solutions to their local problems.