Arlington Energy Committee
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
7:00 to 8:30pm
IN PERSON AT THE TOWN HALL and ONLINE
In attendance: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Karen Lee, Jenny Murtaugh, Mary Ann Carlson, Mardi Crane, Mary Anne Holmes
Absent: Alex Ernst
Town Administrator, Nick Zaiac, present
Guests present: Joan Nash, Arlington Land Use Administrator; Marcus Jones, Living Buildings; Laura Cavin-Bailey, VCRD
- CALL TO ORDER: called to order at 7:05
- MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: Mary Ann Carlson moved to approve, Mary Anne Holmes seconded. Motion passed unanimously.
- OLD BUSINESS
REINTRODUCTIONS FOR NEW MEMBERS and GUESTS
Mary Anne Holmes had asked in advance that we take the time to introduce new members to the AEC’s purpose and to its members. She suggested some kind of orientation packet would be helpful. Steph will work on a Welcome Packet of info about AEC for new members. Now that we have been around for a while (since March 2019), the packet will include our mission, a roster of current (and past) AEC members, past projects and town reports, current projects, protocol guidelines for public meetings, resources including our own web page. Committee members are encouraged to send Steph ideas of anything else that should be included.
Stephanie read the AEC mission statement.
All AEC members and guests introduced themselves. All said they feel a sense of urgency to work on climate change. Some members have lived in the community for decades, others are relatively new (around 3 years). With expertise and careers in environmental studies, field work, solar power, health care, data analysis, grant writing and other sciences, the members bring a considerable experience and skill that will benefit the mission of the committee. Stephanie spoke for Alex about her background and enthusiasm for the AEC. Nick added that he thought the mission statement did a nice job of explaining our purpose and that, because the committee is now appointed by the Select Board, it is in an even stronger position to pursue its mission.
Nick said the RFP for the spreadsheet tech support person has been published. One person has responded so far. He and Laura Cavin-Bailey are going to get together on this topic during the coming week to discuss seed money, timeline, etc.
Mary Anne Holmes asked about WindowDressers; Steph explained about the project and the process of coming together for a community build of highly-efficient window inserts as low cost. General discussion continued about the WD program this year.
Steph talked about the need for more people to sign up for volunteer slots. Here is the link: Northshire Window Dressers SignUp or go to SignUp.com or to WindowDressers.org.
Steph talked about progress already made at Town Hall as the result of an energy audit done in March of 2020 to make the building more efficient. Nick said a new efficiency test for the building will be done as part of the MERP project funding. This won’t be a full blower door test, but it will be a Level 1 Free Energy Assessment. Nick said that the town is ahead on the steps required to comply with MERP guidelines, thanks to all the work that both the town and the committee have done to identify efficiency issues. Marcus suggested that heat pumps may not be the most efficient approach to heating. Steph expressed surprise, as the committee has been fully supportive of heat pumps (at the advice of Jim Hand and others). Marcus will speak with Nick this week outside of the meeting regarding heating for Town Hall. Steph will also follow up with him.
Steph reviewed the goals of the committee. Nick said that the AEC is a holistic contribution to the community by representing the climate interests of the community. Steph indicated that the AEC would welcome anyone else’s suggestions for new topics to put on the committee agenda.
PROTOCOLS Nick explained that it is not allowed for committee members to communicate back and forth via email (or other type of communication). Email is for distribution of information without replies and for scheduling. Any time the members are in a space with other members sufficient to make a quorum, those members are not allowed to discuss committee matters. The operative term is NO DISCUSSION should be held between a quorum of committee members outside a formal public meeting. Nick advised committee members to send all email messages to committee members as BCC’s. Further, the committee has no authority to make decisions regarding any projects. All decisions involving expenditures must be made by the Select Board.
Marcus suggested that we consider the Guaranteed Clean Energy organization (gauranteedcleanenergy.com) that helps to finance municipal projects’ energy projects, particularly for schools. The basic idea is that they get a $2,500 retainer fee to then help see projects through.
Spreadsheet. Joan: She did a considerable amount of work on the spreadsheet, reorganizing the existing data. She presented printed pie charts and graphs to the committee. She printed out the pages of all of the columns, carrying the years forward through 2023. The work that she did provides a more visual approach to understanding the data. Joan explained how the new configuration of data makes it possible to select information from various fields in order to create reports, charts, graphs, etc.
Mary Ann Carlson & Mary Anne Holmes are meeting with Nick tomorrow at the Rec Park to discuss concepts for plantings to improved carbon uptake.
Arlington Town Forest field trip scheduled for this Saturday, August 5, at 8 a.m. Meet at the Town Hall to carpool.
Steph: Jeff Dexter Is going to their Select Board to propose a green procurement policy. Nick is skeptical about the concept. He wants to see how the policy has actually worked in other similar towns.
MERP Capacity Building Event. Stephanie and other members suggested that our Climate Resiliency event be delayed until the Spring of 2024 due to scheduling conflicts with other events and personal obligations of committee members.
Mary Ann Carlson motioned to adjourn, Mardi Crane seconded. Five approved, one did not. Meeting adjourned at 8:32 p.m.
Minutes taken by Karen; Steph added to them.