Planning and Financing Energy Efficient Infrastructure in Appalachia

The cost savings that can be realized from energy-efficiency improvements can be a significant source of wealth for local communities. This study describes the benefits of capturing energy efficiency in public infrastructure such as water and wastewater treatment systems and municipal buildings. The study identifies several best practices in energy conservation that are being implemented by communities in or near the Appalachian Region, and documents costs and financial returns. Best practices were identified according to four criteria: longevity (established track record and adequate future funding); credible content evolving in response to user needs; customer assistance and partnership potential; and low- or no-cost status.
The study outlines a self-assessment system that can be used by county or municipal governments to assist them in identifying, implementing, and assessing progress towards energy-efficiency goals. Case studies are provided of Appalachian counties that promoted a culture of energy efficiency and sustainability and pursued the development of energy-efficient infrastructure. The study concludes by describing partnership and financing opportunities and providing recommendations for ways communities can plan their own steps toward greater energy efficiency.