ANN ARBOR — Ann Arbor city officials said Tuesday that city government has launched a comprehensive online information hub to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy to city residents and businesses.
Developed jointly by the City’s Energy Office and local nonprofit Clean Energy Coalition, www.a2energy.org will serve as the primary source of energy-related information for local homeowners, landlords and renters, as well as commercial property owners.
“Ann Arbor has a long history of pursuing sustainable energy use, most recently through my Energy Challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 8 percent below 2000 levels by 2015,” said Mayor John Hieftje. “A2energy.org helps our residents and businesses answer the question: how can we help?”
With the launch of the Web site, “a2energy” becomes the new brand for the city’s community energy-related information and programs. The city will develop and launch activities and resources associated with a2energy over the coming months. The logo, graphics and bright, engaging colors associated with the website, designed by local firm Pryor Design, will span across all program activities.
“Our goal from the start has been to provide a user-friendly, educational experience for all members of the Ann Arbor community,” said Clean Energy Coalition Executive Director Sean Reed. “Beyond education, however, we want a2energy to be a call to action — and a means to do so.”
In addition to being a source of information, research and knowledge, a2energy.org will assist citizens in understanding what actions they can take to reduce their energy usage, which partners they can rely on for advice as well as project assistance and where they can obtain financial assistance for energy efficiency as well as renewable energy upgrades to homes and businesses.
One highlight of a2energy.org is detailed information on Ann Arbor’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program — launched Oct. 3, 2011 — which makes special assessments available to commercial and industrial customers that wish to make energy-related improvements to their business properties. The “commercial owner” section of a2energy.org features eligibility information, project requirements, a complete PACE program report and an application package available for download.
While the commercial section focuses on opportunities available via the PACE program, the residential component highlights the importance of taking simple, relatively inexpensive actions, starting with sealing air leaks in homes and adding attic insulation. For residents who have already completed these basic weatherization steps, additional information is available on more advanced activities such as replacing heating/cooling systems with high-efficiency appliances or installing renewable energy equipment.
Other sections of the website include specific information for landlords and renters, guiding each user along a path toward increased energy efficiency in their homes or apartments. Links to external resources, including home energy analysis tools offered by DTE Energy, are also incorporated throughout the site.
“The site includes information for everyone: whether you’re ready to dig in and do it yourself or if you want to hire professionals to assess your home’s needs and guide you through the process,” said Andrew Brix, the city’s energy programs manager.
Visit www.a2energy.org to experience the full site, sign up for the a2energy newsletter and link to companion pages on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.