Energy Committee Minutes 12.9.19

Arlington Energy Committee

Meeting Minutes

Monday, December 9, 2019

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

The mission of the Arlington Town Energy Committee is to assist Arlington residents, businesses, schools and Town government in reducing energy consumption and costs through conservation, increased energy efficiency, conversion to renewable energy sources, and the promotion of energy education and awareness.  The committee will assist the Town (Energy Coordinator) in planning and carrying out projects to advance these goals and will serve as a resource to the town on energy-related issues.

Present:  Stephanie Moffett-Hynds, Jean Freebern, Rich Lederer, Karen Lee, Garret Siegel, Alex Ernst

ANNOUNCEMENTS

            The new liaison from the BCRC, working with town energy committees, is Allison Strohl.  She would like to coordinate a roundtable with area energy committee members in early January.

AGENDA

  1. Karen reported on the status of her proposal to have a recurring column in The Bennington Banner in which testimonials are featured by those who have had efficiency work done on their houses so they can share with their friends and neighbors how their experiences are saving them money, making their homes more comfortable and lowering their carbon footprint.  This could include any kind of efficiency work from insulation, programmable thermostats, to heat pumps and solar.  She contacted David LaChance, the editor of The Bennington Banner, and he has approved this.   Karen is already contacting people to share their experiences.  We would also like other energy committees to gather stories.  The goal is to have at least 4 articles ready to go at any time and feature one a week or every other week.  Next step:  Karen will connect with Allison Strohl to discuss how to broaden this project to include participation by other interested energy committees. 
  2. How can one find out what incentives and rebates are currently available?  Karen reported that there is an excellent source:   dsire.usa.org that lists what all the incentives are, per zip code.  This is comprehensive, up-to-date, and nationwide.  It is important to use the filters to specify what you are looking for.  It also has links about financing and the legislation that supports the financing.
  3. What is the status of the Town Hall energy audit?  Jean will check with the town office tomorrow to find out.
  4. Report from Stephanie on VECAN conference (Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network) which she and Madison attended on Saturday, Dec. 7.  First of all, the conference was at capacity, with agencies and organizations from all around the state.  They could not have taken any more people!  The schedule was full and the day was packed with sessions.  There were members from many energy committees in our neighboring towns, as well. 
    1. Steph attended “Working Effectively with Municipalities: Tips and Tricks for Energy Committees,” where representatives from the energy committees in Hartford and Montpelier shared their expertise.  Kate Stephenson from the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee explained how Montpelier put out a call for proposals to have energy audits done on six buildings, the contractor chosen, and the work done.  She sent Steph all the documentation and reports on the effort, which was initiated in 2017.  They have been very pleased with the work done and the return on their investment and she provided contact information, should we wish more information or guidance.

The AEC discussed the possibility of taking a different approach in the future:  asking for proposals for a package of several town buildings in order to attract strong applications.  We’ll want to see what is happening with the town hall audit process first.

  • Steph also attended “Leading By Example:  Collaborating with Schools and Students to Move Energy Projects Forward.”  There were several presenters (one gentleman discussed how he was able to put a solar array on their town sand building; another high school student from Rutland talked about how they were able to make drop-off much more efficient and thereby cut down on idling).  She found the presentation by Cara Robechek of VEEP (Vermont Energy Education Program) to be most enlightening.  Rich will reach out to Breana and Jaclyn at AMHS to see whether they have worked with VEEP yet, to make sure they are aware of this excellent resource. 
    • Steph also reported about a program out of Maine called WindowDressers that “brings volunteers together to improve the warmth and comfort of homes, lower heating costs, and reduce CO2 emissions by producing low-cost insulating window inserts that function as interior-mounted storm windows. Our staff supplies, trains, and supports teams of community volunteers as they build affordable, insulating window inserts at local workshops.” (http://www.windowdressers.org/). Steph would like to reach out to them to see what the logistics and costs would be to bring them to our county.  Representatives from Sunderland, Shaftsbury, and Manchester also expressed interest in this program and it might be possible for all of us to join together to offer this.  Steph will gather more information.

OTHER

  • Thanks, all, for the delicious holiday drinks and cookies!
  • Next meeting is January 6
  • We aim to meet the first Monday of every month.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45pm.

Minutes taken by Stephanie.

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