Frequently asked questions

Information
This page contains frequently asked questions about RFP 3.

Is there a cap per home for energy efficiency upgrades?

There is a score related to the reasonableness of the budget, but there is no stated minimum or maximum.

Since our project will be starting in 2025 and we are working on two-year projects, and the minimum wage will increase but we don't know how much, how do we calculate it accordingly?

The increase is tied to a state statute and is based on the average of the prior three year consumer price index, so we don't have a way of knowing. Historically a 3-5% increase per year is pretty safe; however, we have recently experienced an unusual inflationary year and cannot say what will happen in the future. If you include a 5% increase, that is likely within the range. If the rate increase is higher, we have the option of adding up to 10% on top of the grant award.

If we have expenses related to software licenses for the office, should that be in the materials line or overhead?

If it is a general organization expense, then it would be overhead. If the expense is for a program participant's needs, that would be a direct project expense.

What equipment can be included in workforce development?

If there are equipment and materials needs directly related to the training you are proposing to provide, and that training is directly related to climate work, then that is an eligible expense. If there is a really expensive piece of equipment and it is a short-term project, we would want to see the cost amortized and appropriate portion charged to PCEF. If an applicant has equipment and materials expenses that are not clearly tied directly to climate related training for workers, an explanation of why the item(s) are needed will be considered.

When you use the term vehicle, does that always include e-bikes?

Not always. For example, the prohibition on EV purchase for personal use and the EV match requirement for a for-profit businesses is referring to electric cars/trucks/vans/etc., not e-bikes.

For worker training projects, if we don't have a certified program or a program endorsed by a certification systems, are we immediately disqualified?

No, the only requirement for worker training programs is that they have an established curriculum before applying.

How should we estimate energy savings for a currently vacant building?

If you are already working with architects or engineers, ask them to make some estimates. The first estimate should be for the building use without the improvements (low cost and code compliant), and the second should be for the building with all of the proposed energy efficiency improvements. Please include a description of how the building will be used. If you are not yet working with any professionals who might be able to assist with estimating two energy usage scenarios, make sure to include as much information about the building and the proposed improvements as you can.

Is leverage both projected and secured?

Include both secured and planned leverage. Also please note that the leverage needs to be directly related to the proposed PCEF project. For example, if you are applying for energy improvements on a construction project, the leverage must be to pay for part of the energy improvement, not other portions of the construction project.

We have estimated costs for materials and equipment but not all the specifics. How detailed do we need to be?

You do not need to list all the items included in your materials and equipment budget. The most important part is to feel confident you have estimated a budget that will be adequate to complete the project.

What is PCEF looking for in program curriculum for workforce training projects?

The scoring panel needs enough information to be able to tell what kind of training, and how much, is being provided. Applicants should at least provide hours required for classroom instruction, hours of on-the-job training, qualification requirements of instructors, etc.

If we are using an existing curriculum but modifying it to make it more locally relevant, would we need to wait to apply for an implementation grant until after the modifications are made?

If this is curriculum that already exists and you are simply adjusting to local circumstances, then you can apply for an implementation grant. Some planning is allowed within implementation grants.

Can you provide guidance about which partners or team members we should provide references for?

If a project partner, contractor, or subcontractor is 1) receiving a large share of grant funds if awarded or, 2) is bringing a skill or experience that is critical to the success of the project.

We are unsure about whether we would contract for certain services or have staff provide them. If we put the expense into the personnel line item in the budget but then we end up deciding to contract for those services, can we change that later?

Grantees can make 10% shifts between line items with PCEF project manager approval. Larger shifts are allowed but require justification and a grant amendment.

For a construction project, how many quotes do we need to have?

There is no requirement related to the number of quotes grantees receive for project work. The primary benefit of quotes in the application process is to ensure that the budget you request makes sense and is adequate to complete the project.

For a green infrastructure project, is bringing water to the site an eligible expense?

Yes.

When will we know if we are approved?

We anticipate making recommendations to Council in May or June 2024, and anticipate that Council will act on the recommendation within one month.

Do you want letters of support? If so, where should we include them in our application?

PCEF does not request or require letters of support. If applicants choose to submit letters of support, we ask that you include them as part of the Project Description attachment that is uploaded as part of your application.

We are also submitting a small implementation grant in a separate area. Is that OK, assuming the two don't overlap?

Yes.

What is the difference between the inclusive workforce and contracting goals for projects with a single site construction budget $350K or more and projects that are multiple sites?

Apprentice utilization goals only apply to projects that include a single site construction budget $350K or more. Projects with multiple sites do not have to agree to apprenticeship utilization goals.

If an applicant has a fiscal sponsor, should they include financials for the fiscal sponsor?

Yes.

Are energy assessments considered a direct energy related expense?

Yes.

How do you approach a project that spans multiple funding areas?

Make sure that you fill out all of the appropriate forms. There are general questions in the application that apply to all projects and then there are funding area specific forms.

What is considered internal team versus external? What about board?

Staff and board of the applicant organization are internal. Everyone else is external.

Can some engineering work be included in a planning grant?

Engineering and design for projects can often be considered an eligible cost for both planning grants and implementation grants.

What happens if contractors bring this in under budget and we need to return funds?

You can just write a check back to the City and funds will be returned to PCEF.

Is there a percentage limit for personnel?

There is no limit per budget line item, only for overhead. We calculate that for you.

Will PCEF be reaching out to our board chair?

Potentially, but usually not.

Does travel under budget only pertain to Portland area? Are there geographic restrictions?

There are no specific geographic restrictions as long as the travel has a project purpose. For local travel, we would generally expect that to be covered in overhead unless the project requires going to lots of different sites and travel is significant. Use federal rate for mileage.

How is leveraged funds weighted in the application? Are we required to show it?

There is no requirement for leverage, or match, funds. However, match is part of the budget score which is 10% of possible points.

The rule about project costs being split 70% to direct funding area specific activities and 30% to life health safety measures only applies to clean energy construction budgets, correct?

Yes.

Should we talk about the energy efficiency we've already done on the building? Can we use that previous work as leverage?

You should talk about work already completed in the application since it will demonstrate that your organization is familiar and capable of doing these projects. You cannot, however, count the cost of these improvements as leverage for the PCEF application. Leverage needs to be directly tied to your current proposal, not the previous work you have done.

Can we use PCEF staff as a reference since they have been our biggest funder to date?

We ask that the references you provide are outside of PCEF. For anyone who has received PCEF funds, there is an internal reference step that will happen automatically.

Is there any kind of low bidder requirement?

No.

Does external legal review of contracts qualify as a project expense?

It depends. If it is critical to the project, it may be an eligible expense.

If we have pending grants but we aren't sure if we will be awarded them, can we list them as leveraged funds?

Yes. Within the leverage table, you can indicate if its secured or pending. Funds would not be dispersed until the total funding package is secured.

10% of the fiscal sponsor fee can be claimed, but that is different from the overhead. Is that correct?

Yes.

I applied for a PCEF grant in previous RFPs. Can I use the previous login information and view my previous applications?

The credentials used for this RFP will be different from the ones used for previous RFPs because we are using a different system. Follow these steps to create a new account.

You can find applications for the previous RFPs online.

How can stipends to volunteers be administered?

There are a variety of ways to pay stipends, such as gift cards, online payment, or checks. If you get a PCEF grant and want grant funds to pay for stipends, you will need to choose a payment method with documentation that includes the amount paid, the date payment was made, and the vendor used to make the payment.

Can we build upon an active grant that is through Cooling Portland to scale up that work?

No, Cooling Portland is a relief program that focuses on portable units, whereas Community Responsive Grants is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions with more durable infrastructure, such as ducted/ductless heat pumps.

We are considering buying an electric bus that would transport workforce participants within Portland but would be parked when not in use at a Gresham location. Is this eligible?

Electric vehicles purchased using PCEF funds must be registered at an address within the city of Portland.

Curious to learn more about the "other" category. What are the goals for that category?

There are no specific goals for the "other" category, but it is aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance social justice for projects that may not fit within the other categories.

My project focuses on reducing waste and repairing appliances (among other things) for free. We also host free events to engage community and teach them how to repair things. Would this be an eligible project?

This sounds like a project that would fit within the "other" category. You will need to describe the project's greenhouse gas emissions reductions and social benefits, such as cost savings, in your proposal.

We are applying for a planning grant that involves other project partners. Is it ok for our project partners to submit their own application that are for different projects?

Yes.

We are hoping to hire someone for our project, but we have not done this yet. How can I communicate about this in my application?

Make it clear the role this person will be fulfilling and share a plan on how you'll be recruiting and onboarding them.

On the budget section, should this be completed just for the PCEF-funded components or for other dollars secured for the project?

The information included in the budget form is just for the PCEF-requested dollars. If the other secured funds contribute to the renewable energy, energy efficiency, or green infrastructure components, you can include them in the leverage section of the form.

For a transportation decarbonization project that will last for many years, over what time period should we count beneficiaries?

Please provide either an average annual count of beneficiaries, or describe your methodology for establishing the useful life and total beneficiaries of the PCEF-funded infrastructure.

Violence prevention is a really important upstream intervention to increase safety when it comes to mode switching transportation. Are those types of programs/activities eligible in this application?

All implementation grants must directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Violence prevention activities alone would not be eligible.

We are pursuing a renovation project for our church's education building: energy efficiency improvements. We offer this space for free to be rented by partner organizations who serve PCEF priority communities. How do we quantify the dollar amount of cost reduction for the project beneficiaries section since this space is offered for free?

If there is a cost reduction resulting from energy use reduction, describe the estimated savings, and who will benefit from that reduction.

We are mainly volunteer lead, is that ok? Can we still ask for overhead?

All eligible nonprofit organizations may receive overhead funds.

Is creating a suite of materials/outreach for contractors related to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs and benefits a type of project eligible?

Yes, under contractor development.

If we are focused on contractors that are already in the field, and we want to train them up on how to navigate federal/state incentives, do we still need to meet that BOLI-certified curriculum?

No, the cerfiitication required to get full points for training programs applies only to worker training programs.

Are there restrictions about that 30%? What is eligible under this 30%

Efficiency and renewable energy enabling measures and life, health, safety, and accessibility improvements.

Can we submit an application for a for-profit organization if working with nonprofits?

Fiscal sponsors can be used by nonprofit organizations or community groups with no legal status. Fiscal sponsors may not be used by for-profit organizations.

Looking to apply under transportation decarb bucket, expand ebike loaner program. Can we use these funds to subsidize costs for members of the program?

Yes, this is an eligible project activity.

What is the largest grant PCEF will award from this RFP?

$10 million.

Can partners also be listed as project references? Are references open-ended? Can we use just about any entity?

Partners on the application can be used as references, but we recommend including references from organizations or individuals who will not financially benefit from a grant award.

Will projects be accepted in totality? Or will PCEF determine not to fund certain aspects/specific funding requests through the additional forms?

PCEF will not partially fund an application by removing certain aspects. In some cases, we may ask applicants to scale down scopes, but will not ask applicants to remove project components.

For the sections that require a PDF attachment, are there format and font requirements?

There are no formatting requirements.

Our nonprofit is looking at replacing two diesel box trucks with electric box trucks. Trucks are also using home improvement repair projects for low-income community members and deliver supplies. Is this something that falls under funding?

Yes, this is an eligible project activity as long as the vehicles are registered within the city of Portland.

Does education material and interpretive signage for community education about the solar energy installation and climate impacts fit in to the 70% bucket for renewable energy improvements?

No, the 70/30 rule applies only to the construction budget. Education material is an eligible expense that is not part of the construction budget.

We recently had an audit done that gave us feedback that will give more info about our financials. It's kind of long. Do you want us to attach the audit in our application?

Yes, attach and make sure to say "see financials attached" in your notes.

We don't yet have financials for 2023, are you ok with us just submitting our 2024 budget instead?

Yes, that's fine.

We'll be talking about partners that we work with, should we include a bio for them?

If they are crucial to the project and your anticipated success, you should include a brief bio of them.

What type of detail are you looking for in the timeline?

At minimum, include an estimate of timeline for completing major milestones listed in your application.

If we have a lot of information to include in our application, where do we upload it?

Please attach to the project description section that is uploaded into WebGrants.

For general operating support for regenerative agriculture-focused organizations, is the cap $100,000 per year or total?

The cap is $100,000 per year for up to three years. Up to $300,000 total.

We're planning on applying under WCD youth exposure. Our program starts in early childhood and goes to later teens. Is there a cut off on the age for these youth?

The general focus for our funding starts with middle school and goes 26 yrs.

If we submit multiple applications do we need different references for each application?

No, the references are primarily for your organization, so you do not need different ones for each organization. However, if you have references that are relevant to the funding area for a specific application, that would be beneficial.

I registered for a WebGrant account several days ago and have not received any login information.

Please check your spam folder for 2 emails from cityofportland@mail.webgrantscl…, one for your username and another for your password. PCEF can also provide you with your login.

Are there hard geographic boundaries for physical improvement projects?

Yes. All physical improvements must take place within city of Portland.

Are activities related to soil building and composting considered eligible activities?

Yes. These types of project activities are eligible in both the regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure funding categories.

Does the City partner with NGOs to lease land for projects? Is there a map that shows City-owned parcels that are available for community leasing/partnerships?

There have been instances of various agencies, including the City of Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Environmental Services, Port of Portland, Metro, etc., leasing land to non-governmental organizations (NGO). However, to date, we haven't witnessed a lease specifically designated for a PCEF project. In some cases, NGOs have entered into alternative agreements for working on agency-owned land, such as partnership agreements, MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding), or IGAs (Intergovernmental Agreements) in the case of schools or universities. We are actively collaborating with grantees from RFP 1 and RFP 2 who are exploring different options for land access and agreements with various agencies. We do not know of any maps that show the availability City-owned parcels for community partnerships.

Some project partners are headquartered outside of Portland, but the project is taking place within Portland. Are those partnerships eligible?

Yes, as long as the physical improvement is located within the city of Portland, organizations can be headquartered outside of the boundaries and be considered eligible.

Can we include a general operating request into a larger proposal?

Applicants can choose. Applicants can submit multiple applications, one of them being for general operating support, or they can include general operating support as part of a larger grant request that includes other project activities and expenses. Note that general operating support is only eligible for organizations whose primary focus is local food production using regenerative agricultural practices, and all staff employed by the organization must be paid wages that comply with the PCEF 180% of minimum wage requirement.

Can grant funds be used to support farms growing food outside the city limits but have distribution to community?

All physical improvement projects, which includes regenerative agriculture, must take place within the city of Portland boundaries. Support for farms outside the city of Portland would not be eligible.

Would installing an EV charger outside of the city limits be an eligible expense?

No, all physical improvement projects must take place within the city of Portland boundaries.

If we were to receive a general operations fund, would everyone working for the organization need to meet PCEF's wage requirements?

Yes, if an organization is selected to receive general operating cost support, the organization must pay all staff at the organization at or above the PCEF wage requirement of 180% minimum wage. Please note, organizations may use the general operating funds to increase staff wages to comply with PCEF's wage requirement.

Can regenerative agriculture youth education funds be eligible despite not being a workforce and contractor development grant?

Yes, youth education can be an element of a regenerative agriculture project as long as it is not a majority of the project budget. However, if the project's primary purpose is to expose youth to workforce opportunities within regenerative agriculture, this would instead be a workforce development project. Youth education and exposure includes activities that increases knowledge of, and interested in, careers in climate work. Please review the PCEF Workforce and Contractor Development page for more information.

If an organization has land in holding that will eventually be developed, but in the meantime they plan to use the site for farming, is the temporary agriculture project eligible for funding?

Yes, as long as the physical improvements planned for the site are eligible within the regenerative agriculture funding category requirements.

Given the PCEF wage requirement, what types of activities/positions are appropriate for participation stipends that are below the wage requirement level?

It's challenging to specify particular positions, but appropriate activities for participation stipends may include the completion of learning or experiential modules, phases, or curriculum elements; or involvement in community events or gatherings supporting the PCEF project. In some cases, stipends are offered for engagement that goes beyond volunteering but falls short of performing contracted work. For example, a community member participating in a series of meetings for a feasibility study or community planning process might receive a stipend. Stipend participation should not be tied to the number of hours spent or tasks completed, and it is typically unrelated to duties normally undertaken by paid staff.

If we were to receive a grant for a program that helps place people into jobs, do those future employers need to meet PCEF wage requirements?

No, PCEF wage requirements only apply to grant-funded costs for staff, contractors, and subcontractors.

Where can we find more information about strategic programs?

The Climate Investment Plan includes information about all of the strategic programs. Additional information will be released on our website as information becomes available in the coming year.

If a nonprofit is also housed in commercial buildings/multi-family dwellings, can they apply for funding?

Yes, upgrades to buildings that are occupied by nonprofit organizations are eligible for PCEF funded projects.

If an organization applies for a grant, can they purchase an EV? Can you define "private vehicle."

A nonprofit organization may apply for funds to purchase an electric vehicle. Vehicles may not be purchased for private use by an individual, and match requirements apply to vehicles purchased for for-profit businesses in most cases.

Can an organization apply for a grant using a fiscal sponsor if that same fiscal sponsor organization is also applying for a grant?

Yes.

Would HVAC/electrifying a building fall under energy efficiency?

Fuel switching to a high efficiency electric system is considered an energy efficiency improvement.

Is property acquisition determined on a case-by-case basis?

Property acquisition is not eligible for regenerative agriculture under RFP 3, and other proposals are considered on a case by case basis. If you are considering an application to acquire property, please contact cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon….

Would a program or project that could benefit people just over the border to Gresham be considered? Are there strict regulations, or is there some flexibility?

Workforce and contractor development projects can benefit residents of the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). All other projects must benefit residents of the city of Portland.

What does a fiscal sponsor look like on an application?

There are questions in the application that ask for information about the fiscal sponsor organization. If a grant is awarded, the fiscal sponsor will be a party to the grant agreement.

What information about charging infrastructure is needed in order to fund them?

The application should include description of need in proposed locations, estimated use, and type of charging infrastructure (e.g., level I, level II or level III).

Can PCEF share the model they use to generate the GHG reduction results?

Yes, please email cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon… to request a copy of the methodology used to estimate greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Can leverage funds also include staff time?

Yes, staff time spent directly supporting the proposed PCEF project can be counted as leverage for the project.

Where can we find an overview of the application itself? What are the questions in the application? What will be required once you have access to the application portal?

You can email cleanenergyfund@portlandoregon… to request a copy of the questions and forms relevant to your proposal. Please note that you will still need to submit application material through the WebGrants portal.

How is money received? Is it through reimbursement or advances?

Grantees can choose to receive either quarterly advances or quarterly reimbursements.

Will you be considering scalability when evaluating a project? Will you consider scalability rubric?

Scalability is not part of the scoring process.

If the funds are significantly over subscribed, will there be opportunities to communicate with applicants to adjust their proposals so PCEF can fund more projects?

PCEF does not generally down scope projects for the purpose of funding a larger number of grants.

Is roofing a line item or is it an overhead expense?

Roof replacement costs are considered life/health/safety expenses and are part of the 30% budget component.

Can applicants' contributions be in the form of pro bono services?

Yes, pro bono services can be counted as leverage for projects.

Our work is addressing the waste from single-use disposables, and transitioning small businesses and institutions towards reusables and circular infrastructure. What category would this fall into?

This project would fall under the "other" category.

What is the definition of "underserved" categories?

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.

Can we combine a planning grant with an implementation grant or a mini grant?

No, each grant must stand on its own and cannot be combined or dependent on another grant from PCEF.

Can you do an energy assessment within the project instead of ahead of time?

Yes, you can do assessments within the scope of an implementation project.

Are there any additional guidelines or expectations about youth exposure or education projects not laid out in guidance?

No.

Is the WCEA a requirement or a suggestion?

The WCEA workforce goals are required on all projects.

Do the WCEA guidelines on apprenticeship utilization apply only to new construction, or are they applicable to retrofit and upgrade projects?

WCEA guidelines apply to all construction projects.

If an organization is planning new construction but has not yet secured all funding, should we wait to apply to a PCEF grant?

You do not need to wait until all funding is secure to apply for a PCEF grant. However, for construction projects, PCEF funds will not be disbursed until all funds needed for the project have been secured.

Do the PCEF wage requirements apply to all of the workers at the organization?

The PCEF minimum wage applies to employees, contractors, and subcontractors who are directly working on the PCEF-funded project. If you are applying for a general operating grant for a regenerative agriculture-focused organization, all employees at the organization must be paid the PCEF minimum wage.

What category would a reuse program fall into?

Reuse falls within the 'Other' category.

"Organization Website" field in the WebGrants registration form will not take any websites.

You need to include "https://" before your organization website for it to be accepted in the registration form.

I'm in the process of inputting content for multiple PCEF RFP3 proposals. Multiple times today already, I have entered content, clicked the "save" button, gone to a different page, and when I returned, the content had not been saved. Why might it be doing this? How can this be remedied?   

Please refer to page 19 of the WebGrants Guidance document to verify that the save was successful. If it was not successful, make sure to fill in all the required fields highlighted in red.

I am working with a nonprofit that wants to put solar on top of their building. That's the scope of the project. Can I get some picture of how viable of a project this is? If it is viable, what should we be looking at when developing the application? Is a full building approach a stronger application?

Organizations should apply for the project they think will best suit their needs and should consult guidance on scoring to assess how competitive their application might be.

Does PCEF have a recommended vendor list so they can look for contractor estimates?

PCEF does not maintain a recommended contractor list.

Is there a workforce diversity labor agreement document, or was it a workforce document listing equity goals?

The workforce and contractor equity goals are those adopted in the Climate Investment Plan.

If roofing needs to be replaced for solar install, is that part of the 70% (direct costs) or the 30% (other)?

Roof replacement costs are considered life/health/safety expenses and are part of the 30% budget component.

For energy improvement to child care facilities, what circumstances are eligible under the Community Responsive Grant program?

  • Daycare is a for-profit business operated out of residential building that is they own and they are NOT low income = YES eligible, though may not be able to access all points in scoring.
  • Daycare is a for-profit business operated by a low-income person located in home they own OR rent = YES eligible.
  • Daycare is a nonprofit operated out of commercial or residential building = YES eligible.
  • Daycare is a for-profit business operated out of a commercial building = NOT eligible.
  • Daycare is a for-profit business operated out of market rate residential rental, tenant is NOT low income = NOT eligible.

What is the definition of "major renovation" in affordable housing, and what is eligible for PCEF and what is not? What is the scale for renovation projects?

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.

Can establishment care for newly planted trees be funded through this RFP even if the trees were planted using another funding source?

Yes, establishment care for trees for up to five years from planting is an eligible expense regardless if PCEF funded the planting.

Would PCEF funds support paying for participant stipends? For example, stipends for youth to attend or participate in events. If yes, do the same requirements regarding wages and rates apply to stipends? Any guidance you can provide regarding stipends and stipend rates with PCEF applications would be greatly appreciated.

Yes, stipends are an allowable expense. If stipends are being paid to people who are being trained, the wage requirement does not apply. If people are being used to perform work (excluding some on-the-job training), they do have to be paid the PCEF minimum wage.

Are universities eligible applicants?

If the university is a nonprofit organization, it is an eligible applicant. “Nonprofit organization” means any organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) under Sections 501 and 521(a) of the Internal Revenue Code, in addition to other tax-exempt entities recognized by the IRS such as schools.

Community solar interconnection process can take many months. Is there any work within the utility side to expedite these applications?

PCEF program is not currently engaged in conversations with utilities to expedite their community solar interconnection approval process.

Is there a lease length requirement for nonprofits to make physical improvements to spaces they occupy but do not own?

There is not specific definition for long term lease.

How can the flow of money from PCEF through to fiscal sponsor, then grantee, then contractors be streamlined?

Grantee can request advance payments from PCEF and work with their fiscal sponsor and contractors to ensure timely payment as services are rendered.

What level of site access do green infrastructure projects need to apply for an implementation grant?

If project will be on public property, PCEF expects a letter of support from the site owner for projects to be considered for implementation. If the project needs to obtain public site access, applicants can do so through a planning grant. For projects that will happen on multiple private property sites, access does not have to be secure prior to the application; however, the application should demonstrate that access is likely to be secured during the project performance period.

If projects will be on private property, PCEF does not expect all sites to be confirmed by the time of the application. Outreach activities can be part of the implementation project.

How is GHG considered for regenerative agriculture projects?

PCEF will generate an estimate based on the information provided by the applicant and compare the relative reduction to other regenerative agriculture projects to determine the GHG score, which is one piece of the scoring criteria.

Will PCEF select one project component in an application to fund but not another?

PCEF will generally not fund just a part of an application; we would either award or reject the whole application. In some cases, PCEF will work with the applicant to right-size the project for the amount of funding requested.

Is there guidance for applicants deciding between applying for one integrated proposal across multiple funding areas or multiple separate, smaller proposals?

Applicants are encouraged to include components from multiple funding areas if it makes sense for their project. Ultimately, the decision is up to the applicant and whether a project can be split up into multiple projects or if it makes more sense as an integrated project.

What are the reporting requirements for awarded grantees?

Quarterly performance and financial reporting is required when invoices are submitted.

What does "All Other Interventions" mean on the Transportation form?

This section of the Transportation decarbonization form within the application is meant to capture any activities or behaviors that are expected to change patterns of transportation use, namely by reducing fossil fuel vehicle miles traveled. Projects only proposing vehicle replacements do not need to complete this section.

Is there a tool to figure out if an address is within City boundaries?

Yes, it can be accessed online. Addresses can be entered into the white search field on the top right of the map.

What is PCEF's definition of hard construction costs vs. soft construction costs?

Examples of hard construction costs are development costs, namely construction labor and material costs incurred by general contractor and their subcontractors. Examples of soft costs are design, engineering, and project management.

Does PCEF have a list of contractors who can satisfy the workforce and contractor equity goals?

PCEF can't recommend specific contractors, but we suggest applicants do outreach with trade organizations that are connected with a diverse contractor base.

What is PCEF looking for in the section that asks about references for external team members?

The information in this section is for PCEF to be able to vet any external individuals or organizations who are critical to the project's success. We don't need references for partners who have small contributions to the project. This section is most important for organizations leaning heavily on external team members for the project.

Can PCEF provide examples of what references you are looking for?

References can be other funders, contractors, consultants, and beneficiaries. Ideally, your reference is someone you've worked on a project with who can verify that your projects have been completed successfully.

Who should be put down as the Primary Contact person? Should it be the person managing the grant eventually?

This should be the person you want PCEF to communicate with during application and review processes and does not have to be the person who will manage the grant, if awarded.

How does natural resource conservation fit into PCEF funding?

It depends on the project. If the project involves plantings or restoration, it could align well with the Green Infrastructure funding area. If the project incorporates youth exposure/education, it might be a good fit for the youth-focused workforce development funding area. Organizations who do this work may also consider energy upgrades to their facilities or fleet if they are located within the city of Portland. You can read more about the categories of funding.

Under workforce development, would PCEF fund programs that focus on trainings that are not for jobs in the trades?

While PCEF does emphasize jobs that are needed to perform PCEF funded work (e.g., energy upgrades) and many of those are in the trades, applicants can apply for workforce development programs for any type of climate-related job.

Do we only apply for one of the funding areas, or can we apply for multiple in the same grant application?

You can do either - apply for multiple funding areas within the same application or submit multiple applications. If submitting a single application that includes project activities in multiple funding areas, you will need to provide information for each of the funding areas according to the application instructions in WebGrants.

How do you want applicants to calculate greenhouse gas emissions?

Applicants do not need to do the calculations. The application asks for information needed for PCEF staff to calculate estimated potential GHG reduction. This allows the program to standardize across applications.

When it comes to commercial energy audits, who should we turn to?

PCEF cannot recommend specific companies/contractors. There are industry organizations like Professional Business Development Group (PBDG) or the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) that might be helpful, and the Energy Trust of Oregon trade ally list is another good starting point.

If a project is applying to build net zero new construction and is eligible for 25% of total project cost, does the project need to parse out and track which components are PCEF funded in order to avoid the 180% wage requirement applying to the whole project?

Yes, if awarded, a grantee getting funding for 25% of total project cost would have to either 1) pay the PCEF required 180% area minimum wage requirement on the whole project, or 2) identify and track which components are being funded by the PCEF program and ensure that the 180% of minimum wage is being paid on those components.

When will the next RFP that includes regenerative agriculture & green infrastructure funding be released?

There will be two opportunities for funding for Regenerative Agriculture and Green Infrastructure projects during the 2023-2028 Climate Investment Plan:RFP 3 and RFP 5 (fall/winter 2025).

Are budget caps per year for a multi-year project, or for the total project? For example, if regenerative agriculture general operations cap at $100K, would a three-year grant be limited to $33.33K per year? If youth career exposure capped at $400K, would a two-year grant be limited to $200K per year? 

Budget caps apply to the total project. For example, a three-year general operations budget cap could be up to $300K ($100K/year). A two-year youth career exposure $400k project would be $200k/year.

Is environmental restoration focused on Indigenous first foods eligible as regenerative agriculture?

This may be an eligible activity under regenerative agriculture (use of native plants and activities that promote relationship and long-term commitment to land stewardship) and green infrastructure (ecological restoration). Please review the list of eligible activities on the regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure form that is located within PCEF's WebGrants grant management portal.

We currently have a grant with PCEF. Is it ok to submit another application, or do we need to ensure that our projects aren't overlapping?

If grant timelines overlap they must have distinct sets of deliverables. Grantees can apply for an expansion of existing work (e.g., funding to increase the number of housing units weatherized) or for a distinctly different scope of work.

Are window attachment measures acceptable (e.g., high-efficiency storm windows and/or shading)?

Yes, as long as these measures improve building efficiency and reduce energy usage they are eligible for PCEF funding.

You mentioned that window measures are not accepted as standalone measures, but would a comprehensive envelope upgrade be acceptable (e.g., insulation and window upgrades together)?

Yes, a comprehensive envelope upgrade is allowable and can include windows.

If a contractor development project is located in the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area, is it eligible for funding?

Workforce and contractor development grants can serve populations (workers and contractors) within the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). All physical improvements must be within the city of Portland.

Portland MSA includes:

  • Clackamas County
  • Columbia County
  • Multnomah County
  • Washington County
  • Yamhill County
  • Clark County
  • Skamania County

Could the user ID be changed? This may be done to reduce tech debt in the future when individuals change roles or leave the organization.

Yes, PCEF can help change user IDs upon request.

Can multiple people in one organization have multiple logins?

Yes, multiple individuals, as long as they are registered and approved, can access the same grant application. People with access to an application can go to the "General Information" form to add additonal editors by following these steps:

  1. Go to your application and click Edit.
  2. Click on the “General Information” component in the Application Preview page.
  3. Click Edit.
  4. Add additional applicants in the “Additional Contacts” field. Note that all additional applicants need to be registered in the system and be able to log in.

What does the Program Area of Interest mean on the registration page?

This lists programs City-wide. We recommend selecting PCEF, but you can select any program and still apply for PCEF grants.

What if we have two people from an organization, and one registers with the organization's full name, and the other registers with an acronym. Is this ok?

Yes, but we recommend using both the full name and acronym in the organization name to minimize confusion. We can tag multiple accounts to the same organization on the backend during the registration approval process.

How early should I register for a WebGrants account?

As soon as possible! It can take 1-2 business days to approve new user accounts. Also, applicants can only review the application questions through WebGrants. Please register before the new account registration cutoff date of Feb. 8, 2024 to avoid last minute approval snags.

Are there language supports?

Yes, upon request. Please email us at CleanEnergyFund@portlandoregon… for support.

I am in the process of finding a fiscal sponsor for my project. How do I complete registration in WebGrants?

You can enter N/A in the Tax ID component.

Can you change part of your application form even after you've marked it as complete?

Yes, you can edit your application before it is submitted. Once the application is submitted, you cannot go back to revise it.

Can my organization apply for more than one grant?

Yes. There are no limits on the number of grants that an organization can apply for or be a part of. However, different grant applications must be for distinctly different projects or programs.

Is leverage/match required to get a PCEF grant?

No, leverage (contributions to the project from another source, also called match) is not a requirement for PCEF funding. The application includes a question about leveraged resources to consider how to maximize the impact of limited dollars. There are points awarded for leverage for small and large grants but no additional points possible for planning grants.

My organization is not strong on some of the measures. Can we still get funded?

We understand that each project is unique and recognize that some projects might not be strong on every measure. If the proposed project advances climate action in ways that benefit PCEF priority populations and meet eligibility criteria, they are likely to be considered for funding. The review process is designed to accommodate projects of different sizes and types as well as organizations of varying levels of experience and capacity. We also know that certain types of projects may score differently and take that into account by reviewing categories of projects together to help ensure we compare apples to apples (e.g., consider the score for a regenerative agriculture project in relation to the scores for other regenerative agriculture projects, not comparing to energy efficiency and renewable energy projects).

What requirements are there for worker safety and equity?

Worker well-being is very important to PCEF. One way that we center workforce equity is by considering whether proposed projects will employ a diverse workforce that includes Black people, Native American/Alaska Native people, other people of color, people with low income, people who experience disabilities, women, transgender people, two-spirit people, gender nonconforming people, and other groups of people who experience gender or sex-based discrimination. We also require that each grantee agree to a workforce and contractor equity agreement that includes contractor and workforce diversity goals, requirements regarding wages, and participation in safe worksite training.

Can a proposal be partially funded?

Generally, PCEF will not partially fund an application. However, there may be circumstances in which partial funding is recommended; for example, staff may recommend partial funding for an application for small or large grants for projects that would be better served with a planning grant. In these cases, the applicant would be offered a planning grant instead.

How is cost effectiveness addressed?

There is one criterion that measures cost effectiveness of GHG reduction in projects with physical improvements. This criterion is not weighted heavily in the PCEF program in recognition of the evidence that cost effectiveness tests historically and currently drive program benefits to middle/upper income, primarily White people. For example, low-income homes may require addressing deferred maintenance that increases the cost of energy efficiency installations. Similarly, some populations may require assistance with childcare, transportation, tools, or housing to successfully complete a workforce training program. PCEF is charged with bringing climate program benefits to people with low income and to communities of color, and an undue focus on cost effectiveness often runs counter to that goal.

What are the grant reporting requirements?

Reporting requirements vary depending on the grant type, size, and timeframe. Generally, reporting will be required quarterly. Applicants who are awarded funds will develop final reporting requirements in collaboration with their PCEF Project Manager, including type and frequency, or reporting and required documentation. Reporting requirements will be designed to fit the project and provide meaningful information and accountability while striving to reduce burden on the grantee. Some grant information will be reported in a standard format, such as templates or online platforms. We do not expect grantees to absorb the costs associated with reporting required by the program. There will be no fee to access PCEF reporting platforms and associated trainings. In addition, applicants (and their contractors) are encouraged to include in their budgets an appropriate amount of staff time for reporting, as well as costs associated with producing reports or other materials to communicate about the project outcomes.

My organization received a grant in the past or has an active grant. Can we still apply?

There is no limit at this time on the number of grants or amount of funding that an organization may manage. Organizations may submit an application for an entirely new project or may submit an application that expands the level of service of an existing project (e.g., current grant funds training for 100 people or weatherization of 100 homes and new request adds another 150 participants or homes).