ECLIPSE: Aligning Data to Track Local Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Health Improvement

Alan M. Delmerico; Eric Walker

Center for Health and Social Research; Director of Energy Development and Management
Dept of Public Works, Erie County

Erie County was recently awarded a grant through NYSERDA’s Cleaner Greener Communities Program to develop the Erie County Low Income Program for Sustainable Energy (ECLIPSE). The project will focus its efforts on developing a model for Community Choice Aggregation that leverages its existing bulk purchasing program and social service delivery infrastructure to address energy insecurity, affordability and associated tradeoffs often made by Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) recipients.
This project will encourage market transformation in two clear ways. First, by aggregating demand from over 60,000 HEAP recipients across the County, an Erie County Energy Services Company (ESCO) will be established that will have the purchasing power to drive significant energy cost savings for low and middle income residents, thereby increasing the energy security of this vulnerable population. Second, by leveraging cost savings into other programmatic activities like community solar or community choice aggregation, the Erie County ESCO will be able to recruit HEAP recipients (a historically underrepresented segment of participants in the clean energy economy) into New York State’s emerging distributed energy vision.
Data collection, analysis and sharing are foundational to this effort. To that end, Erie County is partnering with the SUNY Buffalo State Institute for Community Health Promotion and the graduate program in Applied Mathematics and Data Analytics to develop an integrated, multi-level data collection and evaluation framework that can serve as a bridge between business, government and scientific communities. This will includes quantifying GHG emissions from LMI energy consumption and assessing health indicators and energy insecurity from consenting households in the program. This plan will be used to quantify program effectiveness by benchmarking program delivery, emissions reductions, health indicator improvements and other outcomes related to reduced energy insecurity for program participants.
The design and development of this evaluative framework for understanding the program’s impact will require an intense effort to integrate multiple data sets from across various governmental agencies at both the state and local level. The team will develop an externally facing data dashboard which will integrate all quantitative data measures, including existing baseline data and GHG emission data, in order to facilitate transparent communication with stakeholders and the public around this important effort. This dashboard will be framed around quality improvement and data driven decision-making to share evidence of the programs contributions to desirable outcomes.
Presenters will explore the preliminary approaches and strategies developed to quantify energy insecurity among HEAP recipient households, tradeoffs associated with energy insecurity, and contributive health impacts associated with program participation.