PCEF RFP Definitions

Defines and clarifies terms used in the PCEF grant application guide and materials.

Apprentice: Individual enrolled in an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) certified apprenticeship program.

Apprenticeable trade: Job classifications that have a designated registered apprenticeship program. Registered apprenticeships are structured, well-defined, meet industry standards, and are approved by the State of Oregon.

BOLI (Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries): Oregon State agency that oversees apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programming in the state and has enforcement responsibility for state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, and vocational, professional and trade schools.

Beneficiaries: In the context of PCEF, beneficiaries are the people, communities or entities that are intended to receive the positive impacts of a PCEF project or program, but who are not directly employed by the grant project (e.g., residents whose homes are weatherized).

Bioswales: Gardens with perennial (or long-lasting) plants that are planted in a way that guides stormwater in. The bioswale or garden will have plants with deep roots that allow stormwater to infiltrate into the ground, which reduces the amount that flows across the ground and helps urban flooding and treats stormwater. They are also known as infiltration swales, biofilters, grassed swales, or in-line bioretention.

Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e): A unit of measure that provides a standardized way tocompare different types of greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants based on their potential to contribute to climate change. The calculation is made by converting other types of gases into the amount of carbon dioxide that would have the same potential to trap heat and contribute to global warming.

Carbon sequestration: Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through capture or long-term storage.

Career discovery: A process of learning about career opportunities and considering their fit with personal characteristics, preferences, interests, skills, and talents.

Clean energy: Clean energy projects reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency, energy conservation or renewable energy generation:

  • Energy efficiency: Using, implementing, or installing measures and equipment that require less energy to perform the same task. For example, a heating or cooling system which provides the same level of comfort but with less energy would be considered energy efficient. PCEF encourages applicants to propose the use of the most energy efficient measures and equipment currently available and appropriate for each site. Energy conservation are behaviors and actions that reduce energy consumption, e.g. turning off the lights or lowering a thermostat. Programs that create energy conservation are also eligible activities in PCEF projects.
  • Renewable energy: A renewable energy measure generates energy that is collected from sources which are naturally replenished including sunlight, wind, water, and geothermal heat. Common measures include solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar thermal, including solar hot water (domestic water heating and space heating), and solar ventilation air preheating, geothermal heat pump or wind turbines.

Climate action: Activity which: 1) mitigates climate change by reducing or sequestering greenhouse gas emissions; 2) diversifies and expands the pool of contractors and workers that produce goods or services that reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate investment: Climate investment refers to any resource dedicated to climate action, e.g., PCEF grant funds, Energy Trust of Oregon incentives, market lending, etc.

Climate resiliency: The ability to withstand stresses and continue to function in the face of hazards created by climate change. For example, the cooling effect of shade from overhead trees can improve a community or household’s resiliency to extreme heat events.

Co-benefits: Multiple or secondary benefits associated with a project. For example, planting trees and maintaining their health so they to suck up carbon dioxide from the air and store it may have co-benefits of cooling through shade, etc. The type of co-benefit may be economic, social and/or environmental.

COBID certification: Businesses can receive COBID certification through The State of Oregon’s Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity for being an Emerging Small Business (ESB), Minority/ Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE), and Service-Disabled Veteran Enterprise (SDV).

Community benefit agreement: A contract detailing the distribution of benefits associated with a project. Agreements may focus specifically on labor and contracting or may include a broader set of social and environmental impacts.

DBA or “Doing Business As”: A business or non-profit organization operating under a name that is different than the legal name with which the entity is registered.

Demographics: Information about the characteristics of a population or group.

Person with a disability: Individuals with a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain task(s).

Displacement: When an individual or business moves from their existing location. Displacement can result from rent or tax increases, a reduction in the amount of affordable housing available in a neighborhood, or changes in the neighborhood that remove the economic and social support that residents and business rely on.

Direct GHG emissions reductions: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings that result from reduced fossil fuel energy use (e.g., energy efficiency) or sequestration of carbon (e.g. planting trees).

Diverse contractor: For PCEF grant applications, diverse contractors are either:

  • Certified by the State of Oregon’s Certification Office for Business and Inclusion (COBID) as a Minority-Owned Business Enterprise, Women-Owned Business Enterprise, Emerging Small Business, or Service-Disabled Veteran Business (M/W/DBE/ESB/SDV) (provide certification #); OR
  • A non-profit or non-COBID certified business that is able to demonstrate majority ownership and leadership by women, people of color, people with disabilities, the chronically underemployed, or other historically disadvantaged populations. Defined as follows:
    • Registered with the Oregon Secretary of State
    • Gross annual receipts (3-year average) do not exceed $23.98 million
    • Control and management of day-to-day operations is led by persons from the defined population
    • For non-profit organizations, demographics of the Board of Directors and executive staff are 51% or greater of the defined populations.
    • For Businesses – ownership of 51% or greater is held by persons from the defined populations, and owner is not an owner or partial owner of other construction/ construction-related firms.

Diversity: The range of human differences that make people unique including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, socio-economic status, and physical and mental ability.

Economically disadvantaged: People who belong to a group that have limited capital and credit opportunities because of social disadvantages resulting from oppressive or discriminatory systems.

Energy efficiency: Energy efficiency is doing the same task or delivering the same service (e.g., light, heat, cooling, refrigeration, etc.) with less energy. Examples including using efficient technologies in space conditioning (heating and cooling), water heating and lighting, or improvements to the building envelope, which is defined as the structural barrier between the interior and exterior of a building – it plays a large role in controlling the climate within the interior of a building

Energy storage: The capture of energy produced at one time for use later such as a battery.

Equity: Equity is when everyone has access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential.

Estimated annual generation: The amount of energy that will be produced over the course of a year.

Family wage standards: Is “no less protective of workers than those contained in the State of Oregon’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Technology Act, ORS 470.560(2)(g)” which establishes a rate of 180% of minimum wage.

Fiscal sponsor: A qualified non-profit organization that is providing organizational infrastructure and administrative support for managing a grant to an organization or informal group/individual that is the primary party implementing the grant. Fiscal sponsors typically provide financial management, access to insurance, and/or technical assistance.

FTE or “Full Time Equivalent”: FTE is the number of hours compensated or worked divided by the number of hours a full-time worker would work during the project time period (see equation below). FTE is not a count of the number of people, if two staff are each working 20 hours per week they would count as one FTE.

Number of hours compensated or worked / 40 × project duration in number of weeks

Fringe: Benefits or value received by a worker that are outside of their pay. For example, health benefits, use of company car, retirement account contributions, etc.

General contractor: Also called a prime contractor, this is the person or business responsible providing materials, labor, equipment, and oversite of a construction (including renovation) or improvement project under contract.

Greenhouse gasses (GHG emissions): Gasses in the earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. Greenhouse gasses (GHGs) contribute to global climate change.

Greenhouse gas sequestration: The capture and long-term storage of carbon, a primary greenhouse gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Examples of sequestration projects include planting trees and agricultural practices that increase the capacity of the soil to store carbon.

Green infrastructure: Use of vegetation, soils, and other elements and practices to restore some of the natural processes required to reduce greenhouse gasses; a network of ecological solutions for urban climactic and social challenges, such as “heat island effect”, flooding, habitat fragmentation, air quality, etc. Common approaches include stormwater management, increasing biodiversity, tree planting, improving air quality, and anything that increases urban carbon sequestration.

Historically disadvantaged: Groups of people who have faced systemic and institutional discrimination and barriers.

Innovation/other: A PCEF funding category for projects that describes those that do not directly fall under one of the other categories but provide an opportunity to meet climate goals and promote economic, social, and environmental benefits. Transportation projects are included in this funding area.

Installed capacity: The maximum output of electricity that a generator can produce under ideal conditions (sometimes called the nameplate generating capacity).

Job hours: The number of hours spent on a particular job. The PCEF application asks for estimated job hours for certain activities; this should be the total number of hours that will be spent (worked) by all workers on those specific activities.

Journey level: Individuals who have successfully completed an apprenticeship program and can demonstrate a high level of competency in an occupation. They receive a journey card and nationally recognized certificate.

kWh or kilowatt-hours: A measure of electric energy.

Leverage: Additional resources, cash or in-kind, that help pay for total project costs. Leverage in grants is also commonly known as match.

Local or locally based business: A business located within 30 miles of Portland City Hall.

Low income: Defined for PCEF as individuals, or households with a gross household income at or below 80 percent of Area Median Income.

Major redevelopment: For the purposes of PCEF programs that invest in regulated multi-family affordable housing, major redevelopment means that the work being done to the housing in question is significant enough to require refinancing.

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): A formal agreement between a grant applicant and a relevant partner proposing to work together on a project.

Neighborhood: Neighborhoods may be defined using official or functional boundaries. The City has 94 neighborhood associations and seven district coalitions, though residents may have their own sense of neighborhood based on patterns of interaction and identity.

Overhead: Refers to general costs of operations such as rent, utilities, administrative staff, insurance, legal, website and telecommunications.

People of color: Refers to people that do not identify as White.

Physical improvement: Project or project activity which includes construction activities and/or physical installation. Weatherization, solar panel installation, tree planting and regenerative agriculture planting are all examples of physical improvements.

Prevailing wages: Industry-specific wage and fringe benefit standards required by law for public works projects. For privately-owned construction projects receiving greater than $750,000 of total public funds, prevailing wage standards generally apply as defined in Oregon Statute (ORS 279C.800(6)(a) and OAR 839-025-0004(20)(a)). Residential affordable housing is generally exempt from the prevailing wage law. Oregon’s prevailing wage rate (PWR) law is administered by the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI).

Prime Contractor: Also called a General Contractor, is the person or business that has the main responsibility for managing and overseeing a construction, renovation, or improvement project under contract and who often has portions of the work completed by subcontractors.

Priority population:

People who have been historically under-resourced by sustainability, climate action, and clean energy programs. These groups include, but are not limited to:

  • People with low incomes
  • People of color
  • People living with disabilities

Women, transgender people, and others facing gender or sex-based discrimination in the workplace are considered priority populations for workforce development projects.

Qualified non-profit organization: Organizations that are eligible to apply for and receive PCEF grant funds, by meeting all of the following requirements:

Racial justice: Systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes. It is the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive measures, and to redress harms, particularly to Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

Regulated affordable housing: Single or multi-family rental housing with requirements to maintain affordability to low-income occupants for no less than 30 years. Affordable means that occupants pay no more than 30 percent of their gross income for rent and utilities.

Regenerative agriculture: An ecological and sustainable approach to local food production and farming systems. Focused on sequestering carbon, increasing biodiversity, pollinator habitat, improving water cycle, increasing resilience to climate change, strengthening the health of urban soils, and improving access to locally sourced produce. Common methods: First foods cultivation, traditional ecological knowledge practices, permaculture, community gardening that results in reduction of reliance on commercial food production systems.

Registered training agent: An employer who is registered to provide apprentice training opportunities and has committed to provide on-the-job training and supervision according to approved industry standards. Evaluates progress and makes recommendations to the apprenticeship committee regarding an individual’s advancement in the program. Also called a training agent.

Renewable energy: Energy that is not produced from fossil fuels or nuclear power and which is produced from sun, wind, water, or other renewable sources identified by the City. In-river hydro projects that harm or have the potential to harm salmonids or other aquatic species, or Native American or other communities that rely on such species are not considered renewable energy.

Self-perform: When a grantee (applicant) conducts work on a project rather than contracting it out- particularly in the context of construction or other physical improvements or installations.

Social benefits: Benefits that go to people, individually or as a group. Examples include savings from reduced utility bills and improved health outcomes from cleaner air.

Social justice: Addressing the root causes of racial, economic, and environmental inequities in our culture and communities, social justice strives to include the people who are most impacted by systemic inequities as leaders and decision-makers.

Underrepresented populations: Groups of people that comprise a smaller percentage of a total than would be expected given the size of the group relative to the total population. For example, if women comprise 50% of workers in an industry but hold only 5% of leadership positions they are considered underrepresented.

Underserved: Refers to people and places that historically and currently have not had equitable resources or access to infrastructure, healthy environments, housing choice, etc. Disparities may be recognized in both services and in outcomes.

U.S. made: PCEF renewable energy technology is required to be U.S. made unless unavailable or cost prohibitive. Manufactured in the U.S. Components of subcomponents may be produced anywhere as long as the manufacturing occurs in the United States. A product is considered unavailable if the relevant manufactured goods are not produced in the US in sufficient and reasonably available quantities and of a satisfactory quality. A product is considered cost prohibitive if the use of domestically produced manufactured goods would increase the overall project cost by more than 25 percent.

Useful life: An estimate of the time period that an item will be functioning or operational (e.g., a solar panel, a building). For example, a solar panel might have a 30-year useful life, meaning that benefits (environmental and financial) should be considered for that time period.

Utilization: Percent of work hours that is projected to go to a particular population group for workers or apprentices on a project (e.g., 15% utilization of women for trades on a project) or percent of contract value that is projected to go to diverse contractors (e.g., 30% of total contract value will go to minority owned contractors and subcontractors).

Weatherization: Measures that protect a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, cold, heat and wind, and modify a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency. Typical weatherization measures include insulation, air sealing, high efficiency appliances and duct sealing for existing homes.

Workforce and Contractor Equity Agreement: Required of all grant recipients, these agreements define specific actions and standards to promote workforce and contractor equity on PCEF projects.

Workforce development

  • Workforce development: Workforce development improves worker skills to enable long-term success creating, sustaining, and retaining viable employment. It focuses not only on what the employee needs to know now, but how they can grow, develop and advance in their career over time. The objective of workforce development is to create economic prosperity for individuals, businesses, and communities. PCEF workforce development programs should prepare workers to participate in the green economy.
  • Contractor support: Contractor support includes but is not limited to access to trainings/seminars, technical assistance, capital & equipment and mentorship that will help new and existing entrepreneurs to be successful.