Energy Committee Minutes 2.10.2020

Arlington Energy Committee

Meeting Minutes

Monday, February 10, 2020

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, MaryAnn Carlson, Ron Weber

REPORTS

  1. Update on Town Hall energy audit:  Jean & Stephanie attended a Select Board meeting on January 13.  While it was good to hear that the town and Rec. Park committee are going in together on a project to change the ball field lights, they were dismayed to hear that an energy audit had not yet been scheduled for the town hall (the Select Board had voted on October 7 to do one and had approved funds to do so.)  They reiterated to the committee the many benefits of doing an energy audit with a certified contractor (instead of a mere walk-through) and the importance of getting on a contractor’s schedule as soon as possible, and offered again the AEC’s help in getting this accomplished.  They then sent a letter from the AEC to the Select Board underscoring these points.  Having heard nothing in response (and unable to attend the last meeting, due to the BCRC round table), it was decided tonight that we will attend the next meeting on Feb. 24 to follow up on the request.  Meanwhile, Jean will call Weatherization Works in West Pawlet to confirm the rates they would charge to do an energy audit.  Stay tuned for some promising news on this.
  2. Update on outreach to AMHS Environmental Club re VEEP:  Rich will reach out to Breanna and Jaclyn again to see if the club has regrouped, whether there are any students who would like to serve on the AEC, and if there are any projects they have identified for which we could provide assistance.  We would love to have any and all interested students take a field trip with us, for example, to tour the new highly energy efficient apartments being built in North Bennington or Arlington or Manchester.  We would love for students to join us at information tables at home games and Town Meeting day to help spread the word to our neighbors about ways they can save money on and by weatherizing their homes and workplaces. 
  3. Report on BCRC meeting of area energy committees/goals in Shaftsbury on January 28, attended by Rich, Ron, Jean, MaryAnn, and Steph
    1. The group discussed the project that Karen Lee has spearheaded 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.  IDEAS:  BCRC intern, Allison Strohl, said she would like to have a template from Karen that she could share with all the energy committees.  Apparently, Catamount TV has expressed interest in doing more regular segments on efficiency.  Someone else suggested that this would be a good thing to include on our town facebook pages, as well.  Rich will reach out to Karen to make sure she is in contact with Allison, so that this effort does not lose its momentum while Karen is in Florida.
    1. A lot of discussion about energy efficient buildings (the new Lake Paran Village, 22 highly efficient units for Shires Housing).  IDEA:  The BCRC will arrange for us to tour the site soon to see what the builders are incorporating.  Madison Kremer, now working for Shires Housing, offered to find hard hats for us.  She also said there will be some really efficient condos in Manchester soon. Steph will ask BCRC to set a date and she will let the committee know.

IDEA:  MaryAnn suggested that we also make arrangements to visit the deconstruction and construction of a property on River Road that will be using state of the art efficiency.

Jean reported tonight that the Community House is going to replace all the windows, thanks to a donation.

  • IDEA:  Committees, with owners’ consent, could put up lawn signs where implementation is happening (ie. “Solar here!” or “Cold climate heat pump here – glad to chat about it!”).  We discussed this again this evening and weren’t sure if that would be more of a turn off than an encouragement. 
    • Shaftsbury added language to their Zoning Administrator’s job description to say that every time a building permit is being approved, he/she/they will ask the builders what their plans are to include energy efficiency and to give them printed materials.  Tonight, we wondered if Bill Henry does the same.  If not, we think it would be a great thing to do and to guide the contractors to a list of resources if they don’t already have them.
    • Resiliency:  Jim Hand offered that each community should plan for when infrastructure fails.  We should be thinking ahead and be ready.  Thus, make sure our community takes advantage now of services provided by EVT organizations such as NeighborWorks which is based in Rutland and which would like to do more in southern VT.
    • BCRC would like for area committees to consider doing, with their help, more Electric Efficiency & Heat Pump workshops with EV and Green Mountain Power.  The recent Buttom Up VT was very successful.  How to get more electricians to attend?  Dee and GSK have been doing these for a while. A subsequent email from Jim Sullivan informed us that more Button Up workshops will take place this summer/fall.
    • How to get fuel delivery companies to transition to become weatherization providers?  Bourne Fuel Co. in northern VT is doing just that.  As their sales of fuel go down, their efficiency work is increasing.  They are more diversified and therefore more resilient as a company.  BCRC would like to invite Bourne to come to Bennington Co. to conference with area fuel providers.  Stay tuned for this conference.  Tonight, Ron said he would reach out to David at Miles Fuels to find out what his plans are for the future and if they are considering diversifying.
  • Report on Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) (https://www.transportationandclimate.org/content/about-us) session at Manchester Community Library, presented by the ANRC and Public Services. 
    • Modeled after the highly successful RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative: https://www.rggi.org/), here is a description of the TCI:

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) is a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The participating states are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

The initiative builds on the region’s strong leadership and commitment to energy efficiency and clean energy issues, and its programs to reduce carbon emissions in the power sector, which have resulted in the region becoming one of the most energy efficient areas in the nation.  At the same time, the effort underscores the sense of urgency shared by all 13 jurisdictions, and their collective aspirations to become the leading region for sustainability and clean energy deployment in the country.

Recognizing that more than one third of all carbon emissions come from the transportation sector, participating states started taking action through working groups focused on regional priorities, such as clean vehicles and fuels. Several TCI states are also now working together to explore potential regional policies to improve transportation systems and reduce pollution.

  • Report and presentation on Window Dressers workshop Jeff Dexter and Stephanie attended in Bristol January 31.
  1. Steph and Jeff took a lot of pictures and asked a lot of questions.  They were both very impressed by the experience and Jeff has sent follow up questions to WD, the answers to which we would have to have before committing to host one of these [a. how much energy has been saved (collectively and “on average by a residence”) and b. what the average “money saved” is.]
  2. Steph shared Jeff’s notes on the workshop and will send them to the group.  She will also send the committee a link to her photos on Dropbox.
  3. Jim Sullivan, BCRC, said he would help facilitate a Window Dressers workshop for Bennington County, if they will come here.

  4. Report on Energy Efficiency actions at the State House that Stephanie observed Feb. 3-5: 
    1. Climate Solutions Caucus:  Global Warming Solutions Act

Very good discussion amongst those attending the Democratic caucus, with lots of good questions asked and points made.  Stephanie noted that Cynthia Browning does not appear to be supportive of the Act and would like to invite Cynthia to meet with the AEC to understand better her thoughts and to share the thought of the energy committee.

GOING FORWARD

  1. MARCH 2 *** Plans for Town Meeting Day The AEC will put together a table of energy efficiency materials and MaryAnn will contact John Whalen to get on the agenda to speak.  All AEC members are strongly urged to attend and to join MaryAnn on stage when she will give a very brief announcement of who we are and what we aim to provide.  Steph will contact Megan at Efficiency VT, Allison at BCRC and Madison at Shires Housing to request updated materials/flyers.  MaryAnn will contact Jim Sullivan to ask if it would be possible for us to have a large copy of the map of Arlington that Charles Moore had worked on for the town which identifies where all the current places are that have installed solar, etc., and if that map (or another one) could show where all the possible places are where solar (and wind) would work, should the town decide to install a community solar project.  Rich will put together something to show what the low-interest rates each of the following are offering specifically targeted for solar projects:  Bank of Bennington, Heritage Credit Union, and the VT State Employees Credit Union.  MaryAnn and Steph (and anyone else interested and/or available) will get together to work on the presentation a week before the meeting.
  2. Round Table with Dorset Energy Committee?  Rich

OTHER

  • Next meeting is Monday, March 9

The meeting adjourned at 8:30pm  

Minutes taken by Stephanie.

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