Energy Committee Meeting Minutes 6.2.19

Arlington Energy Committee

Minutes, June 2, 2019

7:00 to 8:30pm, Arlington Community House

In attendance:  Charles Moore, John Williams, Ron Weber, Rich Lederer, MaryAnn Carlson, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Madison Kremer (BCRC)

Summary of main discussions:

1.  Report on the energy efficiency walk-through that Jim Hand generously conducted for the group, using Stephanie’s house as a guinnea pig, last Wednesday, May 29.  Several members of the group attended and Jim was able to show us lots and lots of things to look for that can make a house more energy efficient.  His main point is that while larger projects (like installing solar panels and heat pumps, etc.) are great to do, the far more important thing to do first is to pursue home efficiency projects (weatherization) that will give you a good return on your investment as quickly as possible.  There are so many things that can easily be done by a homeowner that can reduce bills.  Here is a quick, but not at all complete, list:

  • Replace all bulbs with LEDs.  They draw less power, last longer, and are incredibly cheap right now.  The investment procures savings very quickly and one should not wait until current light bulbs die to make the change.  (This is not one of those times when one should use something for as long as it lasts before updating.)  All spent bulbs can be turned in to Miles Hardware or rkMiles.
  • Look for ways to keep air from leaking out (or into) the house.  For example:
    •  weatherize bulkhead door (inside door from basement) by affixing an insulation board on the outside and weather-stripping around the door.
    • weather-strip the hatch to the attic and make sure hatch door has insulation board on it.
    • blow in (or have an insulation foam installer blow in — as the Hynds family did) foam insulation in attic
    • cut and tuck foam boards into the eaves in basement.
    • cover up windows in basement that are not being used.
    • outlets and light switch plates:  remove, install foam insulation pads (easy to purchase) to minimize air flow, replace plates
    • spray in foam wherever there are holes where cords go into walls or between floors.
    • spray in clear calk in crack above window casings (who knew there was a gap up there?!  Feel with your fingers to see if there is!)
  • Replace all thermostats with programmable digital thermostats that can do all sorts of nifty things (awesome — you can program them to turn up an hour before you rise, for example, and to turn down an hour before you retire, so that you’re not wasting energy and money at night).  VERY IMPORTANT:  carefully collect all old thermostats and turn them in to Miles or rkMiles.  They have mercury in them (the old round ones) and must not go into the trash or landfill.  Be careful not to break the mercury tube.  ALSO, there are excellent rebates available from Efficiency Vermont if you purchase programmable thermostats:
  • Jim used a very easy How Energy Efficient is Your Home? worksheet to calculate the efficiency of the Hynds’s home and it something that every homeowner can do.  I will attach the worksheet to the minutes.  It can also be found here:

2.  We discussed the need for the town to have a town energy coordinator again so that Arlington will be in a position to apply for and receive grants for upgrades.  MaryAnn will talk to Jim Baker about bringing this to the attention of those attending the next Arlington Renewal meeting to see if there is anyone who might like to serve in this capacity.  A link to the coordinator’s job description is here:

[After the meeting, Jim Baker communicated to Steph that he would like one or more of us to attend the next Arlington Renewal meeting in order to give a quick overview of what our committee’s mission is and what our first steps are.  We could encourage others to join our committee and then also ask if anyone would be interested in considering the energy coordinator position. Steph put MaryAnn and Jim in contact with one another.]

3.  The committee would like to put together a summary of the history-to-date of all the efficiency projects that have already been done by the town as well as by private industry.  A lot has already been accomplished and we want to identify all of the great work already done and to understand how this has affected the bottom line. This will put us in a better position to build upon past success.  To a large degree, much of this can be found in the yearly town reports.  Garret and Charles will also be including a chapter on this in the town energy plan they are finishing.

4.  The committee then discussed next steps.  The first two projects we would like to research are:

  • Replacing bulbs in street lights with LEDs.  Many towns have done this (Dorset and N. Bennington, to name a couple) and have saved the town a lot of money.  John will talk to Keith Squires to find out how many street lights Arlington has and see if there is a record of what bulbs are currently in them.  We might use Dorset’s spread sheet as a model on how to analyze and demonstrate the ROI.
  • An energy audit for our town hall to identify the many things that could be done to make the building more efficient and cut down bills.  To this end, Madison Kremer (BCRC) is going to find out if Efficiency VT will do free audits for town halls.

5.  At some point, we will want to pair all efforts with an educational outreach component to let community members know what the projects are and how they are helping the town to lower bills while reducing our carbon footprint.  At future meetings, we will discuss ways to spread the word (our tab on the website, Front Porch Forum, our presence at farmer’s markets and school functions, a meet-and-greet party to invite people to come learn about our progress, etc.)

The date of the next AEC meeting will be Sunday, June 30, 7:00 to 8:30pm, at the Community House.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Stephanie.

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