Energy Committee Meeting Minutes 3.1.23

Arlington Energy Committee

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

7:00 to 8:30pm


In attendance: Alexandra Ernst, Garret Siegel, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Jenny Murtaugh, Mary Ann Carlson, Mardi Crane

Town Administrator/energy coordinator present:  Nick Zaiac

Absent member:  Karen Lee

  1. CALL TO ORDER: called to order at 7:02pm
  2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING:    Garret move; Alex seconded; all in favor     

Two amendments approved:

  1. Steph moved that we accept the following amendment to the February minutes to reflect a correction by Rob Terry of Merck Forest:  “Old Forest Characteristics” … as it turns out I did have my numbers on successional timing turned around a bit:
    -Stands begin to show old Forest characteristics around 200 years
    -Stands are considered mature old forest at 250 years
    -The 500 year mark was a benchmark for rehabilitation taking into account that there are some once widespread non-tree species that would take an extended time to re-populate.”
    1. Steph moved that we accept the following amendment from Mary Anne Holmes who is working on analyzing carbon sequestration on Arlington town property:  “the offset for the excess C requires around 150 acres of forest (v 115 as per minutes). I’ve found/re-did the calculation, and it’s actually 136.4 acres of forest to offset 195 English tons of CO2.” 

3.1  VECAN Presentation Report:  Mardi reported that the presentation by Karen (& Steph) on our CO2 analysis project on February 15 as part of VECAN’s “Inter-Community Idea Share: Cross-Pollinating Community Energy Progress, Challenges and Successes” seemed very well received.

3.2  Mardi reported on her meeting with Laura of the VCRD.  While the VCRD has been very helpful, creating shared folders for the committee and offering expertise and guidance, progress is slow-moving at present.  This is largely due simply to how busy AEC members have been with an array of planned and unplanned matters outside of the AEC—aka life!  It is expected that progress will pick up once Karen is back in Vermont and all committee members help to get more of the research done. Everyone is encouraged to contact Karen to ask for mini assignments.

3.3  Earth Day Energy Fair on April 22 is on track and will be held at the Manchester Town Hall from 11am to 3pm.  Any members who can be present to help that day to greet and talk to folks, please let either Steph or Carl Bucholt know. There will be many tables there, including a WindowDressers table. The AEC should think about whatever other materials and presence we would like to have there.

3.4  Nick reported that there weren’t any updates on efficiency efforts for Town. 


4.1 Act 172 Update:  Both Nick and Steph met with Callie Fishburn (BCRC) at separate meetings on February 15 to be debriefed on the status of the Municipal energy Resilience Program (MERP).  Nick is waiting to get confirmation on whether we might need an additional energy audit/assessment (is ours from 2020 adequate?).  Assessment is a mandatory precursor to applying for an Implementation Grant (up to $500,000). It is Nick’s view that we will want to make our entire application focused on Town Hall:  cold climate heat pumps, attic insulation, addressing leaks in rear of clerk’s office, etc.  There is some confusion over whether or not the application can combine more than one building.  Nick thinks it is meant for one; Steph had understood that it could involve many projects, but that they must all be rolled into one comprehensive plan—as a town can only apply for this once. We will get more clarification from Callie, as she gets it. (This may not matter, in the event that the work at the Town Hall would require all the funds, anyway.)

In the more immediate future, the AEC should come up with recommendation for a project(s) that a Community Capacity Grant for $4,000 could be spent on.  The BGS will begin accepting applications shortly after Town Meeting days, it is believed.  The select board would need to approve of the application before it is submitted.  While the committee did not come to a conclusion, there was discussion on doing a direct mailing to everyone in town to let people know who we are and what we’re working on (as publicity and a recruitment tool) and possibly to advertise an AEC event.  (Steph thinks an open house would be great:  a celebration with our neighbors on the good work that we and so many are doing.  Could possibly be at The Arlington Common or Inn or ?) The committee decided to think about possibilities and to bring suggestions to the next meeting.

4.2 Town Meeting, March 6: 

  • Town Report:  Many thanks to Garret for writing and submitting it!
  • Presentation:  Jenny very kindly offered to give the town report, as Steph will be out of town unexpectedly.  This will be a good opportunity to briefly touch on WindowDressers success, VCRD’s choosing Arlington as a Climate Resilient Community, and
  • AEC table in the lobby: Mary Ann will be at the table to greet and encourage folks to do the survey and to share the Save the Date cards on the Energy Fair.
  • Survey: Garret and Alex (& Steph) will edit the version Manchester is using.  Nick will make copies to have on hand (with pens) at the table.

MOTION to ADJOURN: Garret motioned;  Mary Ann seconded; all approved:  adjourned 8:15pm

Next Meeting:  April 5, 2023,  7 to 8:30 p.m.

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