Arlington Energy Committee Minutes 6.14.21

Arlington Energy Committee meeting – June 14, 2021 via Zoom, recorded

Next meeting: July 7, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. IN PERSON AT TOWN HALL and via Zoom.

Present: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds (Chair), Bryan Dalton (notes), Alexandra Ernst, Garrett Siegel.

Guest: Town Administrator Nick Zaiac, Zoom host

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING

3. OLD BUSINESS

3.1. Window Dressers:

·      Build will be 5 days during Nov. 14-19 sometime, coordinating with South Shire build site in that time frame.

·      Next coordinating meeting 6/16, 5 PM, Zoom. 

·      Steph will promote WD build via What’s Happening in Arlington and Front Porch Forum.  

·      She is Volunteer Coordinator, and must fill 240 volunteer hours: 6 stations x 8 hours per day x 5 days.  Everyone getting inserts will volunteer, but need more.

·      Applying for Grow Grant, and to Stratton Foundation (first convincing them that saving energy is consistent with their mission of providing fuel for heating.)

·      We’ll have a sample window insert at the Farmer’s Market.

Communication: Nick reported the .com website for the Town will go live in a few weeks. He and his wife Ali are building it. The arlingtonvermont.org site will remain the first landing page for people seeking information about the Town and activities and resources here, but the .com site will be where every official and private group can post active content about activities and resources. This should help better connect residents with information they need and are interested in. There will be rules on postings, including that they be value-neutral. Promoting WD will be a good test run. Garrett and Alex are willing to help keep current our postings on social media.

3.2. Scheduling next meeting: we voted to meet July 7, in hybrid mode: in person at Town Hall, and on Zoom.  Nick will publicly warn the meeting. At that meeting we will vote on whether to move the meetings so as not to conflict with Select Board and the 3 other committees that meet.  Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. would conflict least with other meetings. Nick explained that to be legal, one member of committee must physically be in the Town hall building in case member of public wants to comment in person.

3.3. Staffing AEC Farmer’s Market table: Steph will email us when FM director Jessica assigns us the three dates between June 18 and September 17 when we have a table. Runs 4-7 PM on Fridays. Sunderland Energy Committee wants to help us staff the table. Our sandwich board with information from last summer is still in Town Hall foyer; Nick reported someone recently commented – non-ironically! – appreciating the information there.

3.4. Discussion of plans for second half of the year: We agreed this visioning discussion would better be held in person, and deferred it to July 7. All present agreed to prepare for the meeting by reviewing the suggestions and resources already collected and supplied. See https://arlingtonvermont.communitybydiligent.com/document/2f9af303-3951-4243-a918-51f5725499c7

and the March 19 AEC action list:

Short Term Goals:

a)    Analysis of what energy efficiency upgrades have been performed by the town to municipal offices, schools, library, rec park, etc.

b)   Research available state grants for town energy efficiency upgrades

c)    Research Green Mountain Power programs/rebates/incentives

d)   Look into Efficiency Vermont programs and rebates – a knowledge of what is available to individual homeowners will be key to encouraging individuals to perform upgrades

e)    Convert streetlights to energy efficient LEDs if it hasn’t been done yet (there are state grants to help get this done)

f)     Upgrade town offices, schools and library to energy efficient light bulbs if it hasn’t been done yet

g)    Look into upgrading furnaces in public buildings or converting to heat pumps

h)   Research how well insulated and weather-stripped town buildings are & propose necessary upgrades

i)     Raise awareness of the new energy goals, recruit others to join the committee, promote energy efficiency and disseminate information regarding the town’s energy goals

*** All municipal energy efficiency upgrades should have a long-term positive effect on property & school taxes, so there is more to achieving these goals than merely satisfying the requirements of Act 174 ***

Long Range Goals:

a)    Installation of Electric charging stations at schools, library, town offices, rec park (there are grants available for this kind of project)

b)   Research viability of solar structure installation at schools, library, etc.  (Perhaps parking canopy solar structures to maintain open spaces?)

c)    Install cell towers in the Route 313W corridor and other poorly served areas in town.  This is critical if we are trying to attract new families to Arlington as well as trying to encourage a work from home culture as promoted by the State of Vermont as a method to reduce our dependence on transportation energy usage.

d)   Increase access to high-speed internet through installation of cable in under-served areas of town – for much the same reason as action point #3.

e)    Brainstorm creative ways to help homeowners perform energy audits and upgrades once an understanding of available grants, incentives, and Efficiency Vermont programs have been researched.  A way to help low-income families make upgrades is imperative for the goals of Act 174 to be achieved.  This last item may include fundraising as well as finding people willing to donate time and know-how.

Committee Structure:

a)    Does the committee wish to be a town-sanctioned body or work independently?

b)   Would meeting with the Dorset Committee or other town energy committees for advice aide the Arlington Committee come up with a plan of action?  How do these committees interact with their towns?

c)    How can the committee best communicate with Arlington residents?  Hold public forums? Create a town email list?  Utilize the Arlington Renewal Project email list (which is not a complete list)? 

d)   How often does the committee intend to meet?  Monthly meetings with minutes and action items?

e)    Does the committee want to attempt to organize a town-wide energy survey?  Several towns have conducted energy surveys at town meeting or in conjunction with town meeting.  Is there information that would help the committee better conduct its work?

4. NEW BUSINESS: None.

5. EVENT AND CONFERENCE UPDATES

SolarFest is seeking suggestions of sites in Bennington or Rutland counties to hold their annual event this summer.

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