USDA Phase II Award Supports Rural Buildings

September 11, 2023

The Upshot

CEL has won a Phase II award through USDA, building on the success of its Phase I award. This award will support CEL as it adapts its technology to better serve rural communities.

USDA Phase II Award Supports Rural Buildings

Rural, distal, and tribal communities have long been a focus of CEL's work. Historically, these communities struggle to make big infrastructure upgrades. Unlike urban areas, they face a limited and declining tax base, which limits available financing for infrastructure projects. The aim of our product is to free up resources for our customers without a large capital outlay. Our rural partners—such as Hoquiam School District, Lakeview Library, and Triangle Lake Charter School—have allowed us to examine their building energy data so that they can learn whether our technology can help them reduce their expenses and their energy burden.

Our Phase I results with these partners have been promising. In our Phase I pilot, we worked with 10 schools, including seven rural schools, to test our technology. We found that our tech has the potential to:

  • reduce demand peaks from electrification by 20-35%
  • shift 16% of peak Time-of-Use energy cost to lower-priced periods of the day
  • reduce overall heating/cooling power by close to 30% while improving comfort and reliability for occupants

Our Phase II award will allow us to build on this success.

Apply to Be A Pilot Site

With this Phase II award, we will begin adapting our technology for a wider variety of buildings. Specifically, we will expand our pilot to include more smaller, older, and more diverse rural community buildings. We'll continue working with our existing partners, including Hoquiam, Lakeview, and Triangle Lake. In addition, we are looking to add at least seven more rural community sites to our pilot. Sites can include any tribal or rural community center, church, library, school, or other community building that is struggling to reduce its energy burden. If your organization fits the bill, fill out an application to be part of our Smart & Resilient Schools pilot!

Keep an eye on this space for more announcements of demonstration projects with existing partners as well as new demonstration partners in rural communities across the west!

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