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Press Release
Village of Croton-on-Hudson E-Notice
Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium
For Immediate Release November 2, 2010

Press Release
Consortium team awards joint municipal sustainability services contract for $279,000.   

[Croton-on-Hudson, November 2, 2010]  Led by Croton-on-Hudson, the Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium’s project team for joint municipal sustainability services has awarded the contract for $279,800 to the vendor team of Ecology and Environment, Inc./Blue Springs Energy, LLC. (EEI/BSE).  The seven municipalities who will receive assistance with greenhouse gas inventories and climate action plans under a federally funded NYSERDA/ARRA grant include Bedford, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, North Salem, Peekskill, Pound Ridge, and Somers.
The funding for this work derives from a grant awarded to the Consortium under the competitive federal Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant program administered by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority, under its RFP10 program for Energy Management Personnel. Several individual Westchester municipalities landed grant assistance under this program. But this Croton-led grant is the largest joint effort in which diverse communities share the costs and benefits of pooling resources to identify and work with a vendor team to provide a similar scope of work. The seven municipalities have a combined population of 121, 000, representing over half of the entire consortium’s residents.
This work will establish baselines for current energy-related consumption patterns in each community and use those facts to tailor specific recommendations for each community on ways to reduce future energy-related expenses. The work will be completed by December 2011.
The team identified several key factors that rose in importance throughout the four-month selection process. In brief, the considerations of the project team in developing the criterion for the final selection process were the following: (1) Climate Action Plans are the most important deliverable of this grant with readability and accessibility of the resulting document as a major need. (2) The unusual complexity in the scope of work, given that each of the seven municipal partners are at different stages of existing work and experience with inventories and actions, required a vendor particularly attuned to tailoring work product while streamlining commonalities. (3) On top of the more general data collection and presentation expertise, some scopes of work required specific technical expertise, e.g. an investment grade analysis of a water utility and ASHRAE II level analysis of an office building. (4) Outreach to the community at large will be very significant to the success to the resulting climate action plans. (The selection criteria are described in more detail in the appendix to this press release below.)
The NWEAC team conducted its process in an open competition model, in which as much information has been shared across all vendors as possible. The project team, comprised of representatives from each of the seven partner municipalities, held a dozen meetings, either in person or via conference call, to conduct this process. For example, the project team revealed all vendor identities to each other at each stage in selection cycle.  The fact that the winning bidder team of EEI and BSE decided to join forces midway through the process, after the request for qualifications round narrowed the pool from 11 to 5 potential vendors, is direct evidence of the open competition approach working.  More details of the teamwork process are available at www.nweac.org/welcome/home/climate-action-grant-team-croton-lead.
Statements:
Herb Oringel, Chair, Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium: “We have really been impressed with the high quality proposals we got from so many good vendors. The quality helped us create a robust selection process. We shared our work process openly to help build vendor capacity in this emerging service area of guiding municipalities in saving money and resources. This award is particularly important for the Consortium as it helps build a fact-based foundation for the actions we will undertake collaboratively.”
Leo Wiegman, Mayor, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, and municipal sustainability services project team leader: “In order for an action plan to move us forward it needs to become a traction plan. We need real data explained in plain English that is accessible to the citizens in our communities. People want to know what makes the most sense for my particular situation. We think this combination of EEI and Blue Springs will give our seven municipalities the best climate traction plans within 12 months to save money and share services.”
Amy Rosmarin, Councilwoman, Town of North Salem: “Doing a~greenhouse gas inventory and climate action plan will result not only in saving our community money and aligning us with national goals, but the data this work produces will become great documentation for pursing other funding.”
Julie Chang, Project Manager, Ecology and Environment, Inc.: “Ecology and Environment, Inc. is excited to collaborate with the NWEAC and Blue Springs Energy to complete greenhouse gas inventories and Climate Action Plans for the NWEAC’s seven regional partners.~We especially look forward to working on this project, as we recognize how much the NWEAC communities have already accomplished in building awareness and momentum for their climate action planning efforts. It is a rare privilege to work with such forward-thinking communities, and especially with the experienced stewards who are leading the climate action efforts.”
Nina Orville, Senior Consultant, Blue Springs Energy, LLC.: “Blue Springs Energy is pleased to collaborate with Ecology and Environment to support NWEAC’s groundbreaking efforts to~achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and energy costs in participating communities. We look forward to engaging the public in the greenhouse gas inventory and climate action planning process and to maximizing municipal government and community-wide access to available renewable energy and energy efficiency funding through provision of "Renew My Community"~resources.”
About the organizations:
Ecology and Environment, Inc. is a global environmental firm based in New York State with a 40-year history of developing solutions to environmental challenges around the world and throughout New York. ene.com     
Blue Springs Energy, LLC. is a New York State based firm that helps local governments, organizations and individuals access clean and renewable energy grants, incentives and assistance. www.bluespringsenergy.com      
The Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium (NWEAC) consists of 14 municipalities in Westchester County, New York. Consortium members collaborate to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, save money for our residents and businesses, increase energy efficiency in our communities, enable renewable energy generation, increase economic activity, and align our local efforts with county, state, and federal initiatives. www.nweac.org    
Appendix: Details about the timeline and selection criterion

Timetable for the Joint Municipal Sustainability Services work for 7 NWEAC Municipalities.
28 March 2010
Awards announced by NYSERDA for RFP 10 Energy Management Personnel: The Croton led joint proposal is funded at 100% for $279,800 shared among 7 municipal partners.
22 April 2010
The Village/Consortium project team holds its kick-off meeting to discuss process and dates for vendor selection.
May-June 2010
The project team compiles a scope of work and project description in preparation for issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ).
1 July 2010
The RFQ is announced via the Village website and submitted to the potential list of vendors compiled by the project team. As word gets out, the Village receives about two dozen inquiries about the RFQ.
2 August 2010
The responses to the RFQ are due, with the Village receiving 11 submissions of statements of qualifications.
August- September 2010
The project team begins examining the qualifications submissions.
1 Oct 2010 or sooner
Project team sends Final RFP to the 5 finalist potential contractors
15 Oct 2010
Proposal from contractors due back to  the NWEAC project team.
1 Nov 2010
NWEAC project teams announces the contract award.
1 December 2010
Awardee vendor begins work.
30 November 2011
Project concludes: 7 northern Westchester municipalities will have new Greenhouse Gas (Energy) Inventories and Climate Action Plans (with built-in $ costs per recommended action) just in time for municipal budget season!

Final selection criteria included the following considerations. First, the project teams determined that the Climate Action Plans are the most important deliverable of this grant with readability and accessibility of the resulting document as a major need. ~The team placed high value on robustness of the action plan information, and on the likely reliability of the recommendations in producing results.  All the vendors scored well on these two points. The team also placed a high value on the accessibility of the resulting Climate Action Plans to the residents, business owners, and staff within each of the 7 communities at the top of the list.  A clearly articulated Climate Action Plan should be easily understood by a broad spectrum of the community and offer concrete and realistic suggestions and recommendation for both individual and collective action in reducing costs and energy consumption. On this item, the project team judged that the sample Climate Action Plans from EEI were the most straightforward and readable.
Second, the project team was quite aware of the unusual complexity of the scope of work, given that each of the 7 municipal partners are at different stages of existing work and experience with inventories and actions.  For example, Bedford only needs an update of its prior Greenhouse Gas (GHG) inventory, published in 2007.  Croton only needs a Climate Action Plan for municipal operations. Somers needs a Climate Action Plan for both municipal operations and the business and residential sectors. The others need both GHG inventories as well as the resulting Climate Action Plans. But the 4 municipal partners that need both services represent a very diverse group, from the more compact, urban and populous Peekskill (population density 5,600/sq. mi.) to the more rural, less populous Towns of Pound Ridge and North Salem (population density 220/sq. mi.). The team devoted considerable effort to identifying the specific scope of work that each of the 7 municipalities needed within the general inventory/action plan range of services. Therefore, the team assessed which of the vendors most readily demonstrated an ability to grasp these differences with scopes of work closely tailored to each of the 7 municipalities. On this item, the project team judged that EEI/BSE’s team and their resulting proposal caught on this need for local work differentiation among communities quickly and clearly.  
Third, the project team identified the need for specific technical expertise called for within the scope of work, e.g. an investment grade analysis of a water utility in Croton, on top of the more general data collection and presentation expertise. In addition, the project team felt that a local county-based presence by the winning bidder would be advantageous, given the large geography represented by the 7 municipalities and the need to ramp up local within-community buy in rapidly.  Therefore, the project team looked for a vendor that offered both specific technical expertise as well as local presence. On these twin items, the project team judged that EEI/BSE offered the best combination with its two local Westchester-based team members and its technical/engineering capacity back in the home office.
Fourth, the project team deemed outreach to the community at large as very significant for the success of the resulting climate action plans. In order for “action plans” to become “traction plans,” residents and business owners will need to learn about the resulting recommendations and, just as important, be able to identify what particular measures, e.g. air-sealing a building, improving heating/ventilation/air-conditioning equipment, acquiring flex-fuel vehicles, etc, would best fit their situation and what financial or technical assistance is available from county, state, federal or nonprofit sources to help implement the measure. On this item, the project team judged that EEI/BSE’s proposal to create customizable “Renew My Town” web portals for each of the 7 municipalities as the best offering.  The Renew My Town portals “will alert and educate NWEAC and participating local governments and their residents and businesses regarding all financial incentives available to support clean energy initiatives and improvements. ... Blue Springs Energy will also offer webinars regarding specific incentive or grant programs as well as “Ask the Expert” Q&A by phone and e-mail to answer questions from residents and businesses.” (EEI/BSE proposal, 15 Oct 2010)
For details, visit www.crotononhudson-ny.gov     
Contact: Janine King, Assistant Village Manager, jking@crotononhudson-ny.gov, 914-271-4781