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. CEEPC develops regional Climate and Energy Action Plans to move the region towards achieving the regional GHG emission reduction goals.
2.2 Regional Progress
COG annually tracks progress towards reducing regional greenhouse gas emissions through several indicators such as:
- Grid-connected renewables (i.e. solar and wind systems) have increased from approximately 1,000 in 2010 to more than 13,000 in 2016.
- High performance buildings (i.e. verified by LEED, ENERGY STAR, EarthCraft, and Passive House) increased from under 1,000 in 2010 to more than 3,500 in 2016.
- Publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations tripled between 2012 and 2016 from 122 to 390.
Additional local success stories and best practices are available in the Climate and Energy Progress Reports.
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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.
3.2 Awards Selection Committee
Members of COG’s Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee (ACPAC) 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
Three applicants will be recognized with a Climate and Energy Leadership Award in the fall of 2017. One award will be provided to each of the following categories:
Each applicant must be located in metropolitan Washington. The region is defined by COG membership area (see map).
- GOVERNMENT AGENCY (local, state, regional, quasi-govt, utilities or authorities)
- NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (not for profit, citizen or community-based groups)
- EDUCATION INSTITUTION (K-12, public, private or higher education)
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. Previous years' 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 23, 2017. 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 (government agency, non-governmental organization, educational institution)
- Project Name and Contact: project name and lead contact name, email and phone number
- Project Overview: clearly describe the program/project
- Results: estimate the 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: describe the project's 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, 2017 to June 23, 2017.
Any application received after June 23, 2017 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 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 2017. Winners are asked to not make public announcements until after the awards ceremony.
7.2 Awards Ceremony
The awards ceremony will take place at a COG Board of Directors meeting in the fall of 2016. The Board includes elected officials from local jurisdictions across metropolitan Washington 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.
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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