The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) created the Climate and Energy Leadership Award to recognize organizations in the region for their pursuit of environmental opportunities and stewardship in line with greater regional greenhouse gas reduction goals. To meet these goals, COG realizes extraordinary effort is needed by visionary leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors. To bring public recognition to these successes, this climate award highlights and encourages leading practices.
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2.1 Regional Goal
COG and its member governments are pioneering efforts to address and prepare for climate change and are recognized national leaders in that regard. In 2008, the COG Board of Directors adopted the National Capital Region Climate Change Report. The report includes a baseline regional GHG inventory, examines potential climate change impacts, evaluates mitigation and adaptation strategies and establishes regional GHG emission reduction goals of 10% below business as usual by 2012 (to spur early action), and 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, as compared to a 2005 baseline. These goals are also reaffirmed in COG’s overarching vision and mission, Region Forward.
The COG Board established the Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC) in 2009 to provide leadership and support area governments as they work together to meet the Climate Change Report goals. To help move the region toward these goals, CEEPC developed a regional Climate and Energy Action Plan,, which contains six goals and 59 implementation actions addressing energy use and GHG inventories, buildings and infrastructure efficiency, renewable energy expansion, transportation and land use integration, sustainability and resiliency, and outreach.
2.2 Regional Progress
COG annually tracks and reports progress toward Action Plan goals. The 2014 Climate and Energy Progress Report notes that the region out-performs every other region of similar size in the nation in total number of LEED certified projects (>1500), ENERGY STAR-rated square footage (>203 million ft2) and features the highest number of EPA Green Power Partnerships in the country (>100). The report also highlights the tremendous 10-fold growth in net-metered renewable energy systems since 2009 - from 460 to over 4,600 systems. Local success stories and best practices are available in the Climate and Energy Progress Reports.
In recognition of the region’s far reaching goals and actions, the White House recognized COG and its members as Climate Action Champions. Hundreds applied from across the country and 16 winners were selected in December 2014. As a result, the region is now eligible for new grants and technical assistance. The Climate Action Champions designation is one example of how COG helps the region share best practices and promotes regional leadership on climate and energy issues.
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3.1 Awards Task Force
The Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC) and Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) members expressed interest in COG developing an awards program to promote action toward the regional climate and energy goals (described in section 2.1 of this document). A joint CEEPC/ACPAC Awards Task Force was appointed to develop a Climate and Energy Leadership Awards Pilot Program for FY 2014.
The 2014 pilot program proved to be a tremendous success and ACPAC and CEEPC unanimously decided to continue the program in 2015. The 2015 Task Force members have been working together to strengthen and expand the program for 2015.
3.2 Awards Selection Committee
Members of COG’s Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) will serve as the judges for the awards. ACPAC is the citizen advisory committee that advises the Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee (CEEPC) on climate and energy issues. ACPAC has equal representation from across the region. ACPAC members also have a diverse set of backgrounds including business/industry, education/scientific, environmental/health and civic organizations.
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4.1 Who Should Apply
Four applicants will be recognized with a Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the fall of 2015. One award will be provided to each of the following categories:
Each applicant must be located in the National Capital Region. The region is defined by COG membership area (see map). All local governments and school systems in the region are eligible to apply for the community award . Applications are free to bundle their projects but are advised to highlight a specific achievement or accomplishment as a signature of their work.
- LOCAL COMMUNITY (municipalities and counties of all sizes)
- EDUCATION INSTITUTION (K-12, public, private, higher education etc.)
- NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
- PRIVATE BUSINESS
4.2 What Programs/Projects are Eligible
Eligible applicants should submit an application for one program or project implemented in the last five years. The program can fall in a wide variety of themes from greenhouse gas reduction, built environment and infrastructure, renewable energy, transportation, sustainability to resilience. Entrepreneurs of resource conservation, cutting edge technology and environmental justice initiatives are encouraged to apply. Last year’s applicants who did not receive an award may apply again this year. Specific examples of eligible programs and projects can be found on the Awardees webpage.
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5.1 How to Apply
Applications can be submitted online or emailed to Maia Davis no later than June 22nd, 2016. One application will be accepted and reviewed per applicant.
Each application will be judged on four criteria - Results, Creativity, Model and Engagement. It is recommended that prospective applicants fully review section 6.0 Judging Process prior to submitting an application.
A project summary file is required to be submitted. The project summary file can be a maximum of three pages long, formatted to fit on 8.5 x 11 inch paper with margins not less than one inch on every side, and with a font size of 11 point or larger. The project summary file must include the following headers and descriptions:
- Organization: organization name and type (community, educational institution non-profit, or for-profit)
- Project: project name and lead contact name, email and phone number
- Overview: clear description of the program/project
- Results: estimated impacts from the program/project in terms of intended results, achievements and measurable outcomes including cost-effectiveness.
- Creativity: describe any innovative, resourceful, and/or unique aspects
- Model: expected replicability to other communities/organizations
- Engagement: clear description of addressing and engaging diverse population specifically underserved communities or more a general reactions, acceptance and partnership.
5.2 Applications Deadline
COG is accepting applications from April 22, 2015 to June 22, 2015.
Any application received after June 22, 2015 will not be reviewed or considered for an award. Applicants are encouraged to prepare the application well in advance of the deadline in order to allow plenty of time to discuss any questions you have with COG staff and for the application to get the appropriate internal review and approval prior to submittal. Please contact Maia Davis with any questions regarding the Awards Program.
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6. Judging Process
The Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) will judge the awards at its July meeting. Applications will be reviewed, and judged on four criteria - Results, Creativity, Model, and Engagement. Engagement will be weighed more heavily and account for 40% of the total score. Results Creativity and Model will each account for 20% of the score.
- Results (40%) + Creativity (20%) + Model (20%) + Engagement (20%) = 100%
Each judge will give a score of 1 to 5 for each of the four criteria (1 = poor; 2 = fair; 3 = adequate; 4 = good; and 5 = excellent). Judges will use a Judging Rubric to help guide their reviews. Scores will be totaled and weighted by COG staff.
The highest weighted score for each type of applicant will be recognized with a Climate and Energy Leadership Award. Only winners will be announced; scores will not be disclosed.
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7.1 Award Notification
Applicants will be notified by email by September 2015. Winners are asked to not make public announcements until after the awards ceremony.
7.2 Awards Ceremony
The awards ceremony will take place at the COG Board of Directors meeting in the fall of 2016. The Board consists of 34 elected officials from 22 local jurisdictions across the National Capital Region and the Maryland and Virginia General Assemblies. The Board, awardees, sponsors, and other regional and national climate change leaders will be invited to the awards ceremony.
7.3 Promotion of Awardees
Climate and Energy Leadership Award winners will be recognized in front of the COG Board as well as other invited regional and national climate change leaders.
COG will further showcase Climate and Energy Leadership Award winners through a press release, blog and social media announcements. Awardees’ winning programs/projects will be featured on the COG homepage and in COG’s e-newsletter. A brief video will be developed to highlight awardees on COG’s website and will be available for use on awardees’ websites, local cable channels, at community events, etc. Awardees will also be highlighted in COG’s next edition of its annual Climate and Energy Progress Report.
Winners will be recognized with a unique, environmentally-friendly award hand-crafted by local artist Janet Whittenberg. To see pictures from the awards, please go to the Awardees webpage. To learn more about the artist and the creative process for the awards please see the Creation of the 2014 Climate and Energy Leadership Awards.
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