The CNCA Innovation Fund was created in 2015 to invest in high-potential, city-led projects that develop, test, implement and amplify deep decarbonization strategies and practices. To date, the Alliance has invested $2.4 million in 27 early-stage innovation projects targeting transportation, energy-supply, buildings, and waste systems. These projects endeavor to accelerate deep decarbonization around the world by showing the "art of the possible" in urban climate change.
Vancouver Zero Emissions Building Exchange (ZEBx)
City Lead: Vancouver
This project co-funded the development of three case studies documenting GHG reduction successes and the lessons learned in improving the cost-effectiveness of implementing these projects.
Thermal Decarbonization Initiative for Cities – Phase 2
City Lead: New York City
This project implemented the second phase of the Thermal Decarbonization Initiative for Cities. The project team designed and tested pilot programs to scale up demand for heat pumps and strengthen local supply chains – specifically in the small residential sector. An air source heat pump tool was created to provide a high-level estimate of GHG savings for installing air source heat pumps in 4 U.S. cities: Boulder, Burlington, New York City and Washington, D.C.
- Summary of Boulder Building Electrification Workshop
- Options for EnergySmart Rebate Requirements
- Summary of Best Practices for Energy Campaign Marketing
- Heat Pump Adoption Marketing Campaign – Digital Metrics
- Summary of Burlington Building Electrification Workshop
- Burlington Electric Department Rebate Postcard
New York City:
Consumption and Urban Decarbonization – New Tools and Approaches
City Lead: Portland, OR
This project produced a downloadable consumption-based emissions inventory (CBEI) toolkit to support urban greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.
Human Centered Design Project
City Lead: Seattle, WA
This project funded an in-depth workshop to explore human centered design techniques to help center racial equity and social justice in climate action planning.
Total System Performance Ratio Project
City Lead: Seattle, WA
This project defined a minimum performance standard for HVAC systems in a single metric, with: (1) baseline systems for various building types; (2) calculation software; and (3) code language for incorporation at the city and state level. This standard has been proposed for incorporation into the Washington state energy code.
Capitalizing Carbon to Accelerate EV Charging Investments
City Lead: Portland, OR
This project developed an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Methodology which has been accredited and published by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS). This methodology provides monitoring parameters to quantify emission reductions of EV charging infrastructure.
Net Zero Program Excellence – A Community of Practice in Australia
City Lead: Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney
This project engaged a cohort of Australian cities to align around the application of a values-based approach to communication and engagement. This approach is designed to catalyze action for net-zero carbon outcomes. Three successful workshops facilitated a learning environment that resulted in tools to enable city campaign planning.
- Integrated Communications Planner
- Landscape Analysis Guide
- Research: A National View on Climate Change
- Net Zero Research Summary Insights
- Shared Values Based Approach for Cities
- Planning to Measure Impact
- Communicating Aggregate Decarbonization Efforts
- Compare and Contrast Campaign Results
- CNCA Workshop Report 1
- CNCA Workshop Report 2
- CNCA Workshop Report 3
- Summary of Key Learnings and Progress
- Shared Project Management Plan Template
Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) in the Pacific Northwest
City Lead: Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver
This project was designed so that the Cities of Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC could better understand the challenges and opportunities with the deployment of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in relation to their climate goals. The cities shared their research, approaches, and knowledge about AVs, and learned about AV policy efforts around North America. An AVs in the Pacific Northwest Baseline Report was developed and two workshops were held.
Renewable Heating & Cooling: Thermal Decarbonization of Residential Buildings
City Lead: Boulder
This guide provides options and actionable steps for other cities interested in completing similar analyses to guide the development of approaches to transitioning away from fossil fuel-based heating. In particular, this guide discusses key steps and best practices to: (1) Establish goals and parameters for a thermal decarbonization initiative within the local context; (2) Identify and collect data from publicly-available data sources; (3) Conduct a market analysis of the local building stock; and (4) Leverage market analysis to engage key stakeholders and develop policies and programs for scaling the local RH&C market.
- Renewable Heating and Cooling Best Practice Action Guide
- Boulder: Report Summary
- New York City: Report Summary
- Washington DC: Report Summary
The London Energiesprong Trial Project
City Lead: London
The Energy Leap project is seeking to adapt the Energiesprong model for the UK, testing innovative ways to deliver net zero energy refurbishments for up to ten demonstrator properties, and helping overcome some of the barriers to delivering zero carbon retrofit at scale. The report below summarizes progress and shares the lessons learned to date from London’s effort to understand whether the Energiesprong model can be successfully transferred to London.
Scaling Corporate Renewable Energy PPAs
City Lead: Melbourne
This project enabled knowledge sharing and replication efforts stemming from the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP). The project was designed to be shared to encourage further PPAs. Activities include: undertaking market research and stakeholder mapping, developing a replication strategy, developing a procurement manual and replication guide, raising awareness about the opportunity for corporate power purchase agreements, and hosting a customer engagement and knowledge sharing program.
Food and Energy in a Circular Economy
City Lead: Stockholm
Stockholm Royal Seaport is appointed the next generation sustainable city districts with ambitious environmental goals including resource efficiency and becoming climate positive (according to the Climate Positive Development Program framework). One of the areas subject to investigations has been wastewater management. This project, led by Stockholm, delivers a feasibility study describing the potential and scenarios of source separating wastewater systems for dense urban areas.
RealIZE: Bringing the clean industrial revolution to existing residential buildings
City Lead: San Francisco
This project examined market barriers to a business model that brings the “Energiesprong” program from the Netherlands to San Francisco. Varying market conditions in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area will determine REALIZE’s approach to successfully facilitate the development of a mass scale energy retrofit market. Categorizing properties by market conditions will allow REALIZE to target Low Income Housing Tax Credit affordable properties that present minimal barriers to entry, while continuing to improve market conditions for future market segments. Products contain work completed to gain insight into market conditions, barriers, and solutions in an effort to advance REALIZE technical solutions at a rapid rate through a robust to-go-market strategy.
Bringing Renewable Thermal Solutions to Scale in New England
City Lead: Boston
This project developed and implemented pilot programs designed to expand the early adoption of renewable thermal in the existing residential building stock in New England. It created market analysis and campaign design methodologies, and summarized campaign findings so other cities can use lessons learned as they follow suit.
The Thermal Break Shear Wall: Simultaneous energy efficiency and seismic resiliency improvements in standard housing stock
City Lead: Portland OR
This project implemented dual energy efficiency and seismic resiliency improvements in standard housing stock project, testing a method to improve the energy efficiency and seismic resiliency in older housing stock by trying the use of an emerging approach to wall assemblies. A report detailing the project from start to finish is posted here.
Carbon Neutral Buildings – Accelerating Market Transformation to High Performing Building Envelopes in North American Cities
City Lead: Vancouver
A project that leveraged demonstrated European success in significantly reducing energy use through improved building envelope performance and collaboration between cities in order to accelerate the market transformation towards carbon neutral buildings in North America.
Deep Carbon Reductions in the Transport Sector – Impacts on Affordability and Displacement
City Lead: Portland OR
A project that addressed issues of displacement and gentrification through research and policy development, using Portland, OR as a test case.
Integrated Whole Energy System Decarbonization Strategy
City Leads: Boulder, Seattle, and Minneapolis
A project to develop a strategy for transitioning to district-scale low-carbon energy systems in three communities in Boulder, Seattle and Minneapolis.
Energy Systems Transformation Framework
City Leads: Boulder, Boston, Minneapolis, Portland OR, San Francisco, and Seattle
A framework to develop a shared vocabulary, understanding and vision for how municipalities can develop a community-wide energy planning and management system that supports a transformation of their energy systems from a fossil fuel base to 100% renewable energy.
Natural Gas, Fuel Oil & Related Thermal Energy De-Carbonization Strategies
City Leads: Boulder and San Francisco
A project to develop strategies for decarbonizing thermal energy systems in different building types in two cities: residential and commercial/light industrial buildings in Boulder and municipal buildings in San Francisco.
New Financial and Delivery Models for Retrofitting Buildings
City Lead: London
This project provides a detailed assessment of the extent to which the energiesprong retrofitting model is transferable to London, through the development of a robust business case and barriers report. The report assesses the level of ‘transferability’ of each of the key energiesprong pillars and, on the basis of this, identifies the practical steps needed to deliver the model in London.
- London Energiesprong Transferability Assessment
- Energiesprong UK Finance Model Introduction
- The Finance Model
- The Post Workshop Report
Upscaling Green Vehicles
City lead: Copenhagen
This synthesis report focuses on the potential for promoting “green vehicles” in Northern Europe benefitting climate, health and well-being as well as the quality of our air. It highlights the main observations, exchanges and recommendations identified over the two days of the workshop called: “Upscaling Green Vehicles in Northern Europe” arranged in Copenhagen as part of the CNCA meeting. The workshop initiative presents an opportunity for new collaborative projects between CNCA cities, car industry companies, energy companies, interest groups, and mobility operators with a clear interest in promoting green vehicles.
Accelerating Net-Zero High-Rise Residential Buildings
City leader: Sydney
A report to examine the technical and economic feasibility of moving towards net-zero high-rise residential buildings in Australia and identifies pathways to accelerate their commercialization. It is designed to inspire Federal and State Government policy makers and the development industry to move rapidly toward buildings that go well beyond current requirements of BASIX (NSW) and the National Construction Code. Accompanying documents include an article describing the importance of the work, and a presentation providing an overview of the work.
Accelerating the Transition to 4th Generation District Heating Systems
Lead City: Sydney
Funded in 2016
This project examined two fundamental aspects of the transition to 4th Generation District Heating Networks designed to enable a more cost effective transition away from fossil fuels to a future heat supply that is from local renewable, environmental and waste heat sources.
- Connecting Existing Buildings to District Heating Networks Summary Report
- Connecting Existing Buildings to District Heating Networks Technical Report
A Blueprint for Development Approval of Hydrogen Re-fueling Stations
City Lead: Sydney
The Blueprint, presented in the main body of this report, is organized as a standalone document describing (1) the key activities involved in the process of developing hydrogen refueling stations, (2) the roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders involved, and (3) a detailed stage-gate process describing all the key activities to be undertaken at each stage of the licensing and permitting process – from pre-application to issue of a final occupancy permit and operational license, and opening of the facility for public use – with detailed activity checklists for both HRS Developers, and Planning Authorities. Technical Appendices are provided to complement the Blueprint and provide project developers with a comprehensive knowledge base on technologies, standards and regulations, which includes case studies of hydrogen refueling stations in Europe, Japan and the United States.