Arlington Energy Committee
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
7:00 to 8:30pm
IN PERSON AT THE TOWN HALL and ONLINE
In attendance: Mardi Crane, Karen Lee, Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Jenny Murtaugh, Mary Ann Carlson
Guest: Nick Zaiac, Jim Hand
Absent: Alexandra Ernst, Garret Siegel
- CALL TO ORDER: called to order at 7:05
- MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING: Mardi asked to include the following amendment to last month’s minutes, changing her description for what a community carbon bank could look like:
Community Carbon Bank concept is that private individuals in the community could engage in carbon sequestering activities or practices such as planting trees, planting other carbon sequestering vegetation, adding basalt to the soil, changing agricultural practices to increase soil carbon sequestration, etc. They could donate carbon credits to the bank which could offset some of the town’s remaining carbon emissions. Viability and details would need to be worked out.
Minutes approved, with amendment.
- OLD BUSINESS
3.1 AEC tab on town website and the AEC YouTube Channel: Steph reported that she and Nick met on August 2 to discuss the layout of contents and Nick will send everything over to our IT person. He will add a disclaimer so that we can include links to other content and sites, such as the AEC YouTube channel that Mardi created. Steph looked through the videos that Mardi and Karen created and recommended they all be included.
Mardi asked if the current graphics for the channel (painted by her nephew) were suitable; Nick said there were no copyright problems. Discussion ensued over determining which GNAT videos (and others) we should share there and which ones would not be appropriate. The committee wants to be careful not to come across as unfairly politically biased and wants to be sure that all residents feel welcome to gather reliable, non-partisan, accurate information from whatever we post. Mardi will look through the GNAT videos, choose whichever fit that bill, and asks that we all take a look to make sure we concur. Essentially, she will post videos in four categories:
- News stories such as GNAT videos reporting on various Energy matters
- Action videos: what actions can people take to reduce carbon emissions? For example installing solar, using a clothes line, stop using plastics, planting clover, etc.
- Nature videos: butterflies, nature scenes and music, all ask watchers to protect the environment
- Climate reality: UN Climate report, etc.
The YouTube channel address is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzYTmjoVpEYVfUkwWpvxtzw/videos?view=0&sort=dd&shelf_id=0
Protocol for updating our web page: If anyone wants to suggest content and links, send them to Steph and she will gather all and forward to Nick quarterly (unless something urgent needs to be posted sooner). If anyone has a video link to suggest for the YouTube Channel, send it to Mardi to consider and upload.
Up and running: Nick hopes everything will be up on the tab within a week or so. He will let us know when it is.
3.2 Status report on efficiency efforts for the Town Hall: Nick reported on three projects.
- Town Hall LEDs: As noted in previous minutes, the select board awarded the final portion of the retrofit to Hawthorne Electric for somewhere between $6,000-$7,000. He is still waiting for Hawthorne to install the bulbs. In order to eliminate the fluorescent bulb disposal fee (currently $1,000!), each committee member can take a box of bulbs and dispose of them for free. Residents may dispose of 10 a week at Casella. We can also dispose of 10 a week for free at the following locations: Home Depot, Miles Lumber, Auguchon Hardware, and R.K. Miles. Bulbs must not be broken! So, as soon as Hawthorne removes the old bulbs, we should be able to dispose of them without fee quite handily.
- Attic Insulation: A third proposal has come through (in addition to those previously submitted by Weatherization Works and Farnum Insulators). Nick now needs to harmonize the proposals so that he is looking at apples to apples, as they don’t all address all things in the same way. The third contractor said the work could happen during the winter.
- Act 172: We got word this week from Rep. Seth Bongartz that the monies will be in the form of a grant, not a loan, which is excellent. Nick has not had a chance yet to read through the provisions to understand how it can be used.
Jim Hand encouraged Nick to submit the insulation project for Act 172 funding.
Nick noted that the work to empty out the attic by town staff will not happen until they are available in November.
The committee also asked about submitting to Act 172 for heat pumps.
Nick advised that we wait a month so that he can really familiarize himself with the Act and figure out what the best timing would be. There is a kind of political calculus of when we apply and what to include.
Jim asked who the point person in Arlington is for Act 172, to which Nick replied that he is (he is on all the email lists for it).
Jim asked what the select board in planning to do to counter increasing fuel and thus heating/cooling costs. Steph remarked that this is a question that the AEC has been consistently raising.
Nick replied that the select board is fully on board with the notion of getting heat pumps, but just doesn’t know when that can happen yet and how they will go about securing funds.
Connections: Jim will be meeting with Dan Mackey (Energy Innovator at Green Mountain Power) to discuss GMP’s plan to give dollars for gallons of fossil fuel eliminated by those installing cold climate heat pumps. Nick asked if he would put the two of them in touch so that he could learn more about this program. Jim will follow up.
3.3 Continuing work on the town’s Energy/CO2 Emissions Analysis: As a reminder, Karen is working on the excel spreadsheet and each category will link to its own page to more fully articulate emissions reductions strategies. She will break out all of the numbers for each strategy. She also sent out an excellent document (Arlington Carbon Questions/Research Topics) to all AEC members which we then discussed in the meeting. This provides very concrete action steps. Each person should sign up for at least one area to research (disregard the first two). Karen emphasized that change rarely happens when people find that decisions are being made about their areas of involvement without their consultation. The best way forward in each of the areas identified is to call on the folks involved and invite them out for a coffee to learn about what they do and to explain our long-term project to reduce expenses and fossil fuel usage for the town.
#3: Jenny and Karen will contact Darren Jennings and Randy Novotny.
#4: Steph will work on this one
#7 Field Trip: Steph will send out a Doodle Poll to figure out best date(s).
#8 Whoever: there are 2 parcels, 20 acres on Red Mtn. and 90 acres of Town Forest on Black Hole Road
#9 Nick can provide a list to whoever takes this on
#12 Whoever: Our account is with Milwaukee products and Nick thinks he can replace the gas tools with electric ones. Better technology and better for workers…
13: Everyone is tasked with looking for any buildings in Arlington that would be suitable for rooftop solar (cannot be ground-mounted). West Arlington Fire Station might be one. Some of our offsets can be through solar (100% credit; discount on electricity cost)
- NEW BUSINESS
4.1 Arlington Village Farmers Market: We will table, with Sunderland energy committee, on August 5 and12. Jeff Dexter will set up the stall both days, Mary Ann will table on the 5th, Bryan on the 12, and Steph will be there from 5:30 on both days and take down the stall (with Dixie Zens on the 5th). Mardi is kindly providing oak and maple saplings to give away at the markets!
WindowDressers Northshire still needs to sign up people for about 150 inserts. Bennington is already over-booked. Jeff Dexter and the whole WD committee are working on further outreach. Steph will attend an Arlington Lion’s Club meeting on August 18 to do a presentation. They have indicated their interest in helping with the build.
Sign up: Anyone on the committeewho would like inserts should sign up on the WindowDressers site now. Nick should sign up for any the Town wants.
MOTION to ADJOURN: Mary Ann motioned; Mardi seconded; all approved: 8:26pm
Next Meeting: Wednesday, September 7, 7-8:30pm
Minutes by Stephanie.