Arlington Energy Committee Meeting Minutes 2.2.22



February 2, 2022

Members Present:  Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Mardi Crane, Karen Lee, Garrett Siegel, Alexandra Ernst, Jenny Murtaugh

Members Absent:  MaryAnne Carlson, Bryan Dalton

Also Present:  Nick Zaiac, Jim Hand (Dorset), Callie Fishburn (BCRC)

Call to Order at 7:02 PM by Chairperson Moffett-Hynds

Old Business:

Town Report

Member Siegel briefed the committee on his write-up for the Town Report. Member Moffett-Hynds asked the Town Administrator about how to get on the agenda for Town Meeting. The Town Administrator acknowledged other groups would not be giving agenda-ed briefings, but such comments could fall under All Other Business (Article 5) on the meeting warning. The conversation shifted to matters about the structure and design of the committee, but that was pushed to later in the meeting

New Business:

Youtube Channel: Member Crane offered to create a Youtube channel to play host to the committee’s promotional videos. Members discussed approval procedure.

Motion to create a Youtube channel, with each video subject to approval by a vote of the energy committee at its next regular meeting. By Karen Lee, seconded by Garrett Siegel. Motion to allow Member Crane to operate this channel on the committee’s behalf. By Garrett Siegel, seconded by Karen Lee. Unanimous.

Visibility: Request by the committee for a proper page on the Town website. The Town Administrator committed to creating such a page. Members discussed the prospects of a separate website analogous to the private NorShaft Energy Committee. The Town Administrator noted that open meetings law does not apply to non-quorum groups of individuals who are otherwise public officials.

Project prioritization (Jim Hand, Dorset Energy Coordinator speaking): Dorset is well ahead of Arlington on energy transition of its buildings. He explained how this was done, with specific, project-oriented analysis and active involvement of the Town Manager. Members discussed potential projects at Town Hall. The Town Administrator gave updates on the attic insulation and LED conversion projects, and why Town Hall was not a priority for WindowDressers in 2021. The discussion moved to consideration of the primary Town Hall heat source, focusing on heat pumps. The Town Administrator noted that many closed doors posed a challenge for the technology, but Mr. Hand noted that there are air-to-water heat pumps available that could work with existing infrastructure avoiding the problem. He also noted that there are carbon offset incentives available through Green Mountain Power. Member Crane noted that she’s done the calculations on Town Hall energy use. Members acknowledged the need for a lead for any project discussing the town hall primary heat source. The BCRC staffer raised the prospect of H518, a bill funding Town Hall energy transition investments. The Town Administrator noted the Energy Committee could ask the Select Board to send a letter in support of the bill. Members Ernst and Siegel will look into this. Members Crane and Lee will work with Mr. Hand to research heat pump recommendations.

Meetings rules: The committee discussed open meetings rules and confirmed some specifics on how the rules work. The group discussed the length of meetings. Motion to conceive of the meeting as a 1.5 hour commitment by Garrett Siegel, seconded by Alexandra Ernst. Unanimous.

WindowDressers: There was a discussion of the costs vs benefits. Motion to be involved in WindowDressers this year, by Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, seconded by Garrett Siegel. Unanimous. Discussion of the need to reach those in need of energy efficiency subsidies.

Event updates: Chairperson Moffett-Hynds gave some brief event updates

All other business:

There was a discussion of the structure of the committee, considering the formal energy committee model as allowed in state law, vs an energy coordinator plus a less formal advisory committee. Members discussed the merits of legitimacy vs flexibility. Member Crane raised some questions about whether any change was necessary and if such change would reduce face time with representatives of the Select Board. The Town Administrator noted that a hybrid model was possible, with an independent energy coordinator in addition to the existing committee. There was no action taken, and members will think about what model may be most effective to address the committee’s needs.

Motion to adjourn Garrett Siegel, Second Chairperson Karen Lee, Unanimous. Meeting adjourned 9:07

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