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Extended: Call for LASC Research Fellowship Applications: Water Efficiency Improvement Repayments

**This RFP is now closed.**

The Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative (LASC) seeks a qualified undergraduate or graduate candidate to research and write a report on on-bill repayment for water efficiency improvements. The researcher selected will be provided with a $1,000 Fellowship, a Technical Advisory Committee of subject experts, and an opportunity to present their work to interested stakeholders. Applications are due Friday, October 30th.
California’s record setting drought has significantly impacted life in Los Angeles. More than 80% of residents of LA County are not only aware, but concerned about the effects of the drought. Residents now face mandatory water use restrictions, water retailers must implement mandatory cutbacks, and the City of Los Angeles is promoting all forms of water conservation through its Save the Drop campaign. Reflecting these trends, the popularity of conservation programs in Southern California has soared. In water, Metropolitan Water District’s Turf Removal Rebate program received more than $350M in requests for residential rebates. In energy, PACE financing programs for solar and energy efficiency installations have seen record participation.
Beyond these programs, additional room may exist in the current portfolio of conservation programming for a new option that can combine the best aspects of direct rebates and PACE financing. Specifically, On-Bill Repayment (OBR) for water efficiency improvements makes a direct connection between a homeowners’ investment in water-use reduction features and the lowering of their water bill by allowing homeowners to finance their upgrades and make monthly payments on that financing via their water bill. Similar to rebate programs, this option is directly facilitated and promoted by local water agencies. Similar to PACE, such a program is budget neutral to the water agency by relying on third-party lenders to fund efficiency projects.
The purpose of this document is to explore the benefits and challenges of adopting an OBR program in the City of Los Angeles. It should explore this through the lens of residents, water conservation managers, and environmental and community stakeholders.
Recommended Approach/Outline

  1. Describe and discuss how OBR programs work.
  2. Assess case studies of similar and/or relatable OBR programs implemented in other regions. (California OBF pilot, Connecticut’s Special On-Bill Financing Program, Other cities or states with similar programs.)
  3. Analyze the costs and benefits of potentially implementing an OBR program in Los Angeles. (Water Agencies/Utilities: LADWP, MWD., Property Owners and Homeowners, Environmental and Water Conservation)
  4. Recommendations regarding the potential for OBR to be implemented in Los Angeles.


Fellowship Benefits

  1. Direct interaction with key stakeholders including leaders in the Southern California water industry, staff from the Metropolitan Water District and other water utilities, and Los Angeles City Hall Staff.
  2. Ability to work on and receive resume-building credit for a professional-quality report that will lead directly to implementation on the ground, and will garner attention from many parties.
  3. Networking opportunities associated with the promotion and presentation of the report.
  4. $1000 Fellowship (additional fellowship awards may be made available for team applications).

Selection Criteria
The Fellowship will be awarded based on but not limited to the following criteria:

  1. Experience with this or a similar research topic preferred.
  2. Communication skills, both written and oral. Demonstrated ability to write powerfully and succinctly.
  3. Ability to meet the milestones.
  4. Completion of the application process.
  5. Use of research for academic credit preferred.


Application Process: Each applicant is asked to submit the following:

  1. Completed Application Form (Appendix A) – submit your brief application to
  2. Resume, including GPA.

Interview: Finalists will be interviewed by members of the LASC Executive Committee.
Important Milestones/Dates:

Applications Due October 30, 2015
Interviews (either a call or in person) Week of November 9th
Fellows Selected and Notified Week of November 16th
Draft Table of Contents December 4th
First draft submitted January 15th
Final report submitted February 12th
Executive Summary and Blog Article February 12th
Presentation of findings TBD

The Fellowship Recipient will be expected to communicate regularly with the LASC by email and occasionally by either phone or in-person.
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC): The awarded applicant will check in and/or meet with the TAC on a regular basis to discuss their research progress and findings.
Draft/Final Report: Fellows are expected to produce a draft and final report, no more than 50 pages in length, outlining the findings from the research.
Presentation of Findings: LASC Fellows are expected to present their research to stakeholders. This presentation must include a visual component.

The following should be considered when submitting your proposal:

  • This is not a contract; it is a request for applications only. It in no way obligates LASC to select any applicant. Any costs incurred by an applicant in preparing their response to this bid are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
  • LASC reserves the right to accept or reject a portion or all of each proposal received.
  • Ownership of the researcher findings and report shall be vested in both the researcher and LASC. LASC has the right to use the research how we see fit.
  • Final fellowship amounts are subject to the approval of the Board of Directors based on the research projects proposed scope, and may be modified by the LASC.
  • Any changes to the task/job/policy data during the project will be discussed and mutually agreed upon by the researcher(s) and LASC.
  • Fellowship Payments will be made in two stages: 1) upon submission of draft research and 2) when the final research is deemed completed by LASC.