Arlington Energy Committee
Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 6:30 – 8:00 pm At Town Hall and online
Attending in Person: Stephanie Moffett-Hynds Joan Nash Mary Anne Holmes (MAH)
Attending via Zoom: Mary Ann Carson (MAC)
Karen Lee and Jenny Murtaugh phoned in for part of the meeting
Meeting began at 6:45pm due to technical challenges.
- Approval of Minutes from November 1 and November 8
MAH moved to approve Nov 1 minutes; Joan seconded. All ayes, no nays; minutes approved.
MAC moved to approve Nov 8 minutes; Joan seconded. All ayes, no nays; minutes approved.
- Review of presentation to the Select Board on Dec. 4 of the AEC Carbon Tracking Tool; Next steps.
Joan mentioned an important slide that was not discussed due to slide movement control happening from another room. This slide is profound in how it highlights the importance of sequestration to our carbon mitigation efforts.
Slide 23 shows net CO2 emissions, net sequestration, and remaining net CO2 emissions in need of mitigation: 57,171 tons of CO2 per year. Of the 332,661 # of carbon emissions produced by the town’s energy use in 2022, 88% is mitigated by our relatively small town forest, the Rec Park and the Yellow Barn property. When our recommended plan to increase planting and landscape care changes are considered, it really make sense to move forward with such enhancements in order to move closer to Net Zero emissions. These were mentioned in the subsequent slides by Mary Anne Holmes.
ACTION: Joan will send a copy of the slide to the Select Board with clarification, on behalf of the AEC.
ACTIONS: Any other slides that need emphasis and/or clarification should be sent to Joan by December 13. Also: Everyone who presented should send their remarks both to Joan and to Stephanie (for archival purposes). Stephanie so moved; MAC seconded; unanimous agreement.
Stephanie noted that GNAT-TV filmed the meeting; it will be posted on YouTube for our review. Committee members are encouraged to review the video and note any additional missing information or need for clarification and send to Joan.
MAH noted the suggestion by Select Board chair Daniel Harvey that all forest above 1200 ft should be counted towards the town’s sequestration, as the town prohibits construction above this height. During the presentation, Karen responded for the committee that these lands are owned by non-town entities that may be counting sequestration for their emissions, and for accuracy. We may not “double count.” There is also no control over what happens on that property concerning logging.
The Arlington Schools were mentioned at the Select Board meeting: Do we count their emissions and sequestration? Currently, we do not. Todd Wilkins of the Select Board concurred that the school constitutes a separate entity from the town, being under the jurisdiction of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union—but he also pointed out that Arlington residents do pay school taxes.
ACTIONS: Joan has spoken with Tiffany Mays, Arlington Treasurer. She can get the contacts for school energy bills or improvements for greater efficiency. If the AEC would like her to pursue this, Joan can get in touch easily. Stephanie will call Todd to ensure we are clear on this point. The AEC will include the schools in our calculations if all interested parties think it is advisable.
- Energy outreach fair, Spring 2024 in Arlington: next steps
ACTION: Stephanie will contact Bebe Bullock and Carol Farley at the Arlington Common to determine possible dates for April or May, 2024 for the Energy Outreach Fair. The Fair will include demonstrations, hands-on activities, music, food, partners such as the Bennington County Water Conservation District. We may consider films and presentations in the performance hall. It would be great to find someone to video various efforts from folks around Arlington who have or are incorporating energy upgrades and carbon sequestration work. People could also sign up for field trips to homes that have adopted fossil fuel reduction strategies, such as heat pumps and solar panels. There will be information on funding sources.
ACTION: AEC members are asked to begin thinking of vendors and programming.
- Presentation by Marcus Jones on his work with Living Buildings
POSTPONED; Mr. Jones could not attend.
- Report on Ripsower demonstration for soil health and resilience: Stephanie attended a demonstration at Hildene by Abe Collins on his ripsower, a machine that avoids tilling soil while planting so that the integrity of the soil is minimally disturbed. One of the aims is to build up soil and increase its resilience in the face of climate change and flooding.
ACTION: Steph will send a link to committee members.
MAH would like to begin compiling a list of national, state, and non-profit agencies that contribute to addressing climate change in Vermont. Many acronyms were supplied. This process could contribute to a calendar of important climate change address events statewide.
Several people asked about sharing the Energy spreadsheet. Compilers agree it is not quite ready for prime time. The spreadsheet will be made publicly available with no copyright or any constraints on its use. Adopting towns might wish to meet annually or more often to share improvements, results, etc. Training in its use may be required, as it is not simple.
ACTION: Joan and the committee might need to host a webinar that we could record that can show others what the tool is and how it can be used. This would also show other towns that they will need to find someone skilled in using Excel in order to get full use of the tool (creating charts and graphs, etc.).
VECAN Winter Conference: 16th Annual VECAN Conference. This year’s conference is taking place virtually on Zoom from December 6th to 8th, with one session from 12-1:30 pm each day. ALL committee members are urged to attend VECAN conferences as they are geared specifically for energy committee members across Vermont. If not already subscribed to the newsletter, AEC members are asked to do so.
Next meeting: January 3, 2024 at 6:30