Arlington Energy Committee
Wednesday, January 3, 2024; 6:30 – 8:00 pm
In Person at Town Hall and Online
Present in Town Hall: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Joan Nash, Mary Anne Holmes
On zoom: Mary Ann Carlson, Mardi Crane, Alexandra Ernst, Karen Lee
Jenny Murtaugh, Nick Zaiac
- CALL TO ORDER: at 6:30 pm
- MINUTES OF PREVIOUS (Dec. 6, 2023) MEETING: Joan Nash moved to approve, Mardi Crane seconded, motion passed unanimously by all present.
- Further Follow-Up on Presentation to Select Board on Dec. 4 of the AEC Carbon Tracking Tool; Next Steps
a. Follow-Up to Select Board re: key slide skipped during December presentation
Joan sent email to Select Board, explaining the important meaning of presentation slide (Slide 21, “The Elephant in the Room”) that was not fully explained in the meeting: that we are very close to Carbon neutrality. Implementation of suggested improvements for the Rec Park and Yellow Barn property can help move us towards the goal. Actions: Having received no response, Joan will follow up. If anyone wishes a copy of the email, Joan will send.
b. Should the Arlington Schools be included in Carbon calculations?
Stephanie sent an email to Todd Wilkins of the Select Board for further guidance; no reply yet. Joan has the information she needs to include the schools’ data in the spreadsheet. She could develop a separate spreadsheet for the schools, if it becomes clear that having it separate is preferable. Actions: Steph will follow up with Todd. The AEC should embed all future emails with a received receipt request. Also: Steph ask Nick for protocol when contacting SB—is there anyone we should be copying on these emails every time (ie. Nick?).
c. Next Steps?
We wish to get the tool into the public domain. What else is needed, and how will it be presented?
- put a link on the AEC web page
- begin dissemination by sending an email to Energy Committees across the state, which can be done through the VCRD and VECAN, initially
- include a form for feedback (Mary Anne)
Before this can happen, however, the AEC still needs to complete several steps:
Seek feedback: Arlington Resident Don Keelan would like to look at the tracking tool; with a great deal of experience in spreadsheets and number crunching. Action: Steph, Joan and MAH will set up a meeting with him asap.
Andrew McKeever of GNAT-TV contacted Steph via email and would like to do a news segment on the tool. He is currently working on a segment with the town of Winhall on their proposed Energy Dashboard created by their new Energy Committee.
Idea: Might this video also serve as the groundwork for an instructional video for our tool? Action: Steph check with Nick to make sure this it is okay to proceed. If so, Steph will set up a Zoom meeting with Andrew, Joan, Karen and Mardi for an initial meeting.
- The tool (i.e. Spreadsheet) will almost certainly require some training, background provision for accurate, appropriate use.
- Some rows were added during the Tool’s construction that may not be necessary in the final version. For example, “Fire Department” vs. the 5 rows provided to account for two firehouses and different forms of fuel used by each. These can be simplified.
- Footnotes, references must all be provided to demonstrate sources, enable verification, etc.
- We might provide the Arlington’s version and a simplified form to demonstrate how the tool can be modified for any town’s particular needs.
- The tool should have entry columns that are modifiable, but lock columns and cells with formulas.
- Or add a copy where the formulas might be modified to suit a local context. For example, there are details in the formulas to calculate C emissions that derive specifically from Green Mountain Power as an energy provider. We hope the tool will be used beyond the range of GMP. They could add their own columns with their own formulas.
- A website page will need to be developed, with a landing page, the tool, complete references, disclaimers, instructions. This should be on the town’s website. We need to discuss with Nick the process for doing so.
Karen moved that we have a workshop session for the AEC to design the web page and begin to develop verbiage, especially for the landing page. Karen and Mardi will begin drafting the landing page. Joan will send out latest copy of Tool to AEC members. Mary Anne H. will provide a template for the web page elements and content.
Workshop Date: Wed 24 January 6:30 Action: Steph to ask Nick to warn this
- Energy Fair this Spring
The AEC Energy Fair: May 11 at the Arlington Common. Focus should be on resilience: how we adapt to prevent further warming and to already-altered temperatures. Will provide displays, interactive games with prizes, potentially films, music, vendors, food. Mardi proposes providing clover seeds to enhance soil fertility and organic matter to diversify lawns. We have $4,000 grant money.
Proposed subset meeting for fair with Steph, Karen and Mary Ann C. Action: Steph to continue conversation with Sandra at the Arlington Common and will arrange a walkthrough with MAC soon.
- NEW BUSINESS
Annual Report – need deadline, volunteers to write. Alex will ask Garret first if he has time to do this again. If not, we can use his past reports as model and pull this together. Action: Steph find out what the deadline is.
John Toth of the Lions Club is seeking help with adding solar to the building to supply electricity to both the structure and the pump for the pond; a potential donor fell through. Action: Steph to follow up with John.
Steph was contacted by Ginelle Hunter, director of the Arlington Area Childcare for help with increasing the efficiency of their 20+ year old building (in terms of weatherization). Steph contacted Laura Cavin Bailey who in turn reached out to Bekah Kuster of Efficiency VT. Bekah pointed out that while the EVT website does not make this clear, non-profits do get the same benefits and incentives that for-profit businesses get. She recommended that Ginelle start with an energy audit by filling out their form. Laura also provided information regarding financing. The VSECU is tremendously helpful and reasonable with weatherization/green loans and will walk Ginelle through all the options. Steph passed all of this along to Ginelle, but has not heard back. Action: She will follow up to see how that is coming along.
Jeff Dexter from the Sunderland Energy Committee has notified us that Sunderland is now a Green Procurement Town. We’d like to investigate whether Arlington could do this also.
Joan moved to adjourn; MAH seconded. None opposed. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.
Next mtg: Feb 7, 6:30pm (with special workshop on January 24th before that)
Minutes respectfully prepared by Mary Anne Holmes, with Steph’s additions.