Commitments for Better Communities

Local governments across America are implementing energy-saving projects to strengthen local economies, create new jobs, and improve the quality of life for their residents, yet they often lack key resources to achieve their goals.

Through the Better Communities Alliance (BCA), the U.S. Department of Energy is introducing Commitments for Better Communities, an initiative to help match resources from public and private sector organizations to local government needs. The outcome of this initiative is an expansion of resources for communities that support their achievement of local energy and economic goals, while enabling participating public and private sector organizations to demonstrate innovative solutions.

Download the Commitments for Better Communities Program Overview

Download the Commitments for Better Communities Presentation to Partners (July 12, 2017)


Through this initiative, six BCA Affiliate Partners have identified resources that can be made available to BCA Local Government Partners to help them advance their energy priorities and achieve their energy and economic goals. Resources may include but are not limited to:

  • Energy efficiency technical assistance or educational efforts;
  • Energy efficiency research or best practices guidance;
  • Data analysis support;
  • Energy-saving product demonstration or pilot programs; and
  • Energy-related training programs for local government staff.

All resources identified by participating BCA Affiliate Partners for the Commitments for Better Communities initiative will be provided on an in-kind basis to the selected Local Government Partner(s).

Commitments and Application Forms

Advanced Energy Intelligence (AEI) will build online, dynamic energy maps displaying key energy metrics for either public facilities or specific districts (such as a 2030 district) within a community in up to five communities.

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) will provide technical assistance on energy efficiency program and policy development and implementation for up to five communities.

DNV GL will travel to one community to conduct a one-day workshop with government officials on either 1) development of “smart city” goals, milestones, and actions relevant to energy efficiency; or 2) strategies to accelerate the alignment of renewable energy approaches with community energy strategies.

Hatch will conduct high-level scoping assessments of a port’s use of energy and identify potential opportunities to reduce energy costs in up to 10 communities.

Phillips Lighting will conduct lighting and controls pilots focused on street lighting in up to 10 communities.


The U.S. Green Building Council will provide free training on PEER, a new third-party certification program and road map for sustainable power system performance, for up to 10 communities.


Application Process

DOE will facilitate a simple application process for Local Government Partners to apply for resources identified by Affiliate Partners. Each Affiliate Partner, not DOE, will make the final determination on which Local Government Partners receive their respective resource(s).

To apply, Local Government Partners will complete a short application form for each resource opportunity in which they are interested, which includes the following information:

  • Specific interest in the resource and how it supports the achievement of local energy and economic goals
  • Timeframe for implementation
  • Identification of a local government staff person to coordinate with the Affiliate Partner
  • Other information as requested by the Affiliate Partner

To maximize the number of Local Government Partners that receive resources through the initiative, Local Government Partners may apply to no more than two resource opportunities in any given round of the initiative.

Activity Date (2017)
Application process opens for Local Government Partners July 12
Application process closes Aug. 4
Local Government Partner recipients announced Aug. 18
Initiative begins Aug. 21
Initiative concludes Dec. 18
DOE publishes summary of outcomes and impacts Jan. 29, 2018