[Notes: (1) ALL is paraphrased, I can’t type as quickly as people can speak, any errors or inaccuracies are strictly my fault. (2) My keys keep popping off of my keyboard, so there will be more than my usual number of typos. If I have time, I’ll try to clean them up later, but please have patience in the mean time.]
Jan 15, 1st Annual Geothermal Conference, 9:30 – 4 pm, VT Tech College.
Lake Morey Inn participates in Bradford Composting Project.
Jan 15, Biomass Day, 10 am – 3 pm, VT, Wood pellet Mill in N. Clarendon, VT. More info at ACORN Energy Coop.
“A Vision and Plan for Vermont’s Energy Future”
: Governor-elect Peter Shumlin
We have an extraordinary opportunity. Was in DC last week for “baby governor” school. It was an eye-opening experience for a VT boy. There were lots of governors there who balance their state budgets by producing coal. In closed door session they asked the president why the EPA is being so hard on them. “We’re trying to create jobs make America strong.”
I said: I’m from VT, I work every day on the same land where I grew up. We shoveled the manure out of the barn to make my office. We still have a few cows against better economic judgment. When I look at the pond out the window, where I spent my childhood summers – I know it once bubbled with extraordinary creatures, but now it’s a dead piece of water. Nothing lives there any more. When I look at the sugar bush, it used to be a teeming grove with new maples contending with one another to be the future maple crop. Today you cannot walk through there. Now it’s a generation of buckthorn. When I go hunting on that land, most often it has changed. My biggest fear as a kid was that my boots wouldn’t be warm enough to keep my feet warm past 7:05 am, and I’d have to move – something you don’t want to do when hunting. Now I go out in running shoes, flannel shirt, and t-shirt. By 10 am on the first hunting day of the season this year, it was 60 degrees.
They do not care about our future. It’s unfashionable for a politician to mention that climate change exists. This year it’s even less fashionable than just 12 months ago. Less fashionable than 4 years ago when we started educating our legislature. A few others (Gov. Douglas) called it a “boutique issue.” We thought the future of the planet wasn’t a boutique issue.
The folks that know they have a lot to lose will continue to buy politicians in DC. Look at what just happened nationally. The tsunami of tea party folks who sent these people to DC *do not believe* in climate change. They want to do business as usual. And if they do, our children and grandchildren will have future that is unspeakably bleak.
What can we do at home to make our state show the country how to do it right:
– Shut down the aging leaking nuclear power plant. Press keeps asking “what if” – what if a new owner comes along, would you change your mind, then? I said “how many ways can I say this?”
Look: if you have an old car and it’s a junker, and you sell it to your friend or your neighbor it doesn’t run any better for them!”
We’re going to move to the new generators: small community based energy providers.
We’re small, so we won’t solve the problem for the rest of the world.
When we’re the first in the country to do things right, so we’re not sending money to Saudi Arabia, and not putting money into our schools, alt energy, efficiency, we can show the rest of the country how to do it right.
We can convince Vermonters that that’s our jobs future. It is economic warfare. If we continue to do what’s always done, we’ll lose more jobs, and have a bleak future.
VT will be the state with solar on every building. We can manufacture the solar panels that are used. We can ensure community based solar power. Wind: there’s division on wind in VT. We can be divided no longer. If you want to talk to me about energy sacrifice, come to Windsor county, we can show you sacrifice.
It will take us 8 wks to determine the places where we will never build wind, then we can pick 4 places for wind to grow. Wherever a community votes to have it after we designate those areas. Priority given to VT companies that will use that energy to power VT. Make sure there’s a real decommissioning fund, to take those towers down. Make sure the closer you are to the turbines, the more tax dollars you get in your pocket.
Why aren’t we a geothermal state?
Small, thoughtful hydro projects make sense for VT.
For every dollar we save through efficiency, we make VT a stronger state.
My commissioner will not be a wholly owned subsidiary of Entergy Louisiana.
Let’s use our imaginations, dollars, and power to educate. VT can be the state that shows the other 49 the way to get there. Thank you.
Q: Plan to rebuild the clean energy fund?
A: Clean energy fund: we need to move from a generating tax to a high-level storage tax for nuclear waste. If you want to store it here, you’re gonna pay.
Q: Transportation is most energy use. What will you do to address it?
A: Don’t like gas taxes for VT. Because we go across the bridge to fill up. We gotta get the trucks off the road asap. What’s the plan for building hs rail and freight rail across the US. Every freight car takes 3 trucks off the road. New England is working on a rail program.
Q: Policy recommendations by commission Douglas put together.
A: Lots of good work there that was never done. I hate commissions and commission reports. People work hard, they get written, nothing happens. I’m going to be the action governor. Did you see story about how fast the ice cap is melting? We’ll spend billions and billions to build a new fighter jet. Then you read about scientists trying to read temp in Arctic. Need to get w/in 30 ft of the water, vy dangerous in helicopter w/doors off. Why are we spending billions on weapons to fight for foreign oil – but won’t fund scientists to measure temp of arctic water.
Q: What will you do to encourage VT to save energy
A: It’s all about dollars and cents. Tax incentives not the long term solution. A gov has to look forward. 10 yrs from today, Americans will wish they were still paying 70/barrel of oil. We know how that works: when you hit the peak, supply goes that way (pointing down), then the price goes up. We gotta get out of our heads that we need tax incentives to make renewables viable. The states that plan for what’s coming will be rich, just like Saudi Arabia. We don’t need artificial tools to get where we’re going. What we can do in VT is think of any creative way to jump-start that process.
Q: Biomass plants, fairly inefficient. Do you support these plants moving forward?
A: We need to ensure if we do it, we do it right. We need to put through act 250 process. Of all the renewable options, large biomass is least attractive.
A: As soon as you acknowledge we’re moving to small community based power, you understand how important the work you are doing is. Putting together community based energy – we will look back on this as a really strong movement to renewable community based power. 70 yrs ago, last great gov from Putney (I won’t ever be as great as he). He gave farewell speech to leg: Only VT can take 10 below and 10 ft of snow and turn it into economic opportunity. If a gov gave that speech today, they’d say: that guy’s a dreamer. If you think it’s going to be 10 below and 10 ft of snow, you’re mistaken. We’ve got to strengthen efforts and bring you the resources to do the job. The work you’re doing is going to be a critical part.
Q: Efficiency VT won’t touch some things because of the length of payback.
A:I’m proud of Efficiency Vermont. They’ve been under a microscope for the last few years that has been a waste of our energy resources. We’re doing well w/low income efficiency. It’s the rest of us that form the “hole” – the middle class is forgotten every time. In our parents generation, they thought their kids would have better economic opportunity. They may have been wrong. It is the middle class in VT that needs the help with efficiency.
We welcome your dedication, energy, and commitment. We’re being handed a ship that needs its sails lifted. We’d love to have your help.
“Schools! A Place of Powerful Educational and Transformational Potential” Jeff Forward, Norm Etkind – VT Superintendent’s Association, a non-profit association of superintendents, Andy Shapiro
Jeff Forward: Richmond town energy committee: one of the oldest committees in the state.
Schools are an interesting under-served market. Was interested to hear gov talk about the under-served markets. Schools are so diverse in decision-making. You go to a school: principal, business manager, superintendent, school committee, then the voters all have to be involved. On the upside, you have the opportunity to get
When Norm Etkind walks into a school, he’s not selling energy. I’m an efficiency vt rep will talk about hos to be successful accomplishing a school project. Andy Shapiro energy education. If you can tie the tech on the building to the kids in the building, you’re going to accomplish a lot.
I’ve visited 345 schools.
A little about the program, then approaches that have been made to the schools and what works.
– Walkthrough assessment
– Write a report.
– Train facility managers and administrators. Most schools have no plan on how to run the systems in the school. We put together a template for facility operating plans that schools can use to fill this gap.
What happens to the reports?
10 schools were later surveyed: On average, they save 17% of energy use by implementing 75% of the recommended measures. Most savings come from improved operations. Most systems should “go to sleep” during the 85% of time that the school isn’t in use, but most do not – or worse are set wrong so they may only be on when no one’s around and off when everyone’s there.
– Program planning is currently underway to determine how additional services can be provided to VT schools.
We’re also organizing a 2011 biomass heat conference. Martin Luther King Day we will start a pellet initiative.
[presents school energy use graph] School energy use is more complicated than home use. Many “insignificant” components can make a significant difference: for example, one school changed from a gas heat booster on dishwasher to electric booster, and just that switch cost them an extra $6k/yr!
Explained to one administrator that some plans were not a good idea, others better bang for the buck. That school got significantly more savings by implementing appropriate changes.
HID lights replaced by T-5s made better quality light at much lower energy use and lower cost.
In some schools, the students have initiated “student energy patrols” that monitor people leaving lights on, write “tickets” and do other energy saving activities.
Vending misers on the soda/juice vending machines cut the energy use of those machines by 1/3 to 1/2 – occupancy sensors for vending machines. Attaching computers and other electronics to power strips that are shut off at the end of the day saves tons.
Many schools have bus engine heaters, they’re now attaching them to timers that make them come on an hour ahead of the time buses will be needed.
Schools have air handling systems. They’re complicated. Ones that measure CO2 to control the fans, so the fans come on only as needed for proper air quality are more efficient. Few have complete control over the system in any automated way. Many have systems and don’t know how to get them operating correctly.
Many have “unit ventilators” per room. They often get covered with clutter and thus neither ventilate nor heat properly.
Good practice: a simple streamer on the vents to help illustrate that they’re on.
All these things are reasons why a facility operating plan is needed. If people know how the system is supposed to work, they can operate it much more efficiently than if not.
Another issue: the way they run the insulation above the ceilings leads to many penetrations through the insulation, drastically reducing the efficiency.
Some schools going to white roof, decreasing roof temp, save up to 40% on energy.
How to start
Superintendent, business manager, operations manager of school board chair must make the request.
Local committees can be instrumental in discussing the need for efficiency w/.school officials and encouraging them to implement plan.
Slide: Project dynamics:
Lower energy can maintenance cost.
Base case, hurdle, after project:
hurdles: risk, transaction expense, disruption, [try to get details]
Process – how do you promote an energy project within your schools?
Why focus on schools at all? It’s the best building type. US Green Building Council: 20% of America goes to school every day.
100k students, 10k teachers, then add in support staff.
Saving energy is good for environment AND good for school budget.
These are very difficult budget times. Benefits all residents by reducing operating costs. IF you save money at a school, you save money for everybody.
Largest building in most rural communities is the school building. If you want impact, look to the biggest energy user.
A lot of businesses can’t really make a decision to buy a new boiler, because they may not be around in 30 yrs. Not true for schools: that building will likely be around virtually forever, so that kind of long-term savings is worthwhile. If you can get the most conservative to understand the life-cycle cost of the new equipment is the saves the most money, you can go a long way toward getting it done.
Kids: If we’re going to make the change Shumlin was talking about, we have to change the culture. The next generation needs to be brought up so they don’t even think about it. It’s automatic to look for the energy saving features the rest of their lives.
Key factor: Champions. Individuals that keep the project alive and keep it moving forward.
45 schools in VT are heated w/wood. That’s more than the rest of the country combined. It’s REALLY unusual. In every case, there was some individual that kept the idea alive in front of the decision makers to get the project in.
In my town, there was a school addition project for the middle school. Originally built to be electrically heated int he 1970s. At the time we were building nuclear plants by the bucket load, and electricity was going to be “too cheap to meter.” Heh.
During this school expansion project, I went ot the school board, and said, while we’re putting in new heat for the expansion, why not put in the wood chip boiler. They built without it. But they PROMISED to do another bond issue the next year to put in new boiler. It passed by 2-1 margin. I now go to school districts around the country and help them determine if they’re good biomass options.
Mt. Abe school, 2 sophomore girls in a science class – they chose wood chip heating, learned about the tech, analyzed their school and pitched the idea to switch their school. That night the school board said “yes” then they put those students on the building committee as voting members. Even the school business manager wasn’t a voting member. The girls selected the contractor. One is now leading an initiative in VT, both are in college, studying engineering. It changed their lives.
What do you need as a champion?
Concrete numbers: costs and what it will save.
SEMP program, terrific free service. If your school has used it, you should mine the recommendations. Ask have they been implemented, and if not, ask “why not?” The kids are engaged in the audit and the analysis to see what can be done.
New Light: increases the incentives for replacing older technologies, increased by 3- 4x what they were paying before.
Re-Light: Pay most or all of the cost of a lighting designer to do a comprehensive lighting audit. They use a light meter, see how much light is needed, and determine how to replace the most effectively. Our school took out every single fixture, replaced only 2/3 of them. Saving 20k per year in electricity.
Standard 50ft/candles at a desktop. Our library had 210 ft candles, there was insulation on top of the lighting – they were heating the room with lights!
We’re going to try to get down to net zero.
Where will the money come from? 50 – 100k project is too much for a typical district’s annual budget. Unless the school district has a capital budgeting plan, you’re toast. Not many have them. Some have “reserve funds” set aside for capital projects. Lots of school districts will bond, but 100k is not enough to be worth the effort to do the whole bond. However, if bonding for something else (say a parking lot) you may be able to add the lighting project to it. Your total cost for the district will drop because of the amount of money you’ll save.
Municipal leasing. It’s unusual to loan from a bank. However, a school district is considered a municipality. If they lease, it’s counted on a different part of the ledger (operational), creating a positive cash flow. Business managers like this option.
If you assume electric bills will go up over time: doing nothing is a decision. The decision is that red line [in chart].
476666 project costs
22888 estimated current lighting costs
11699 projected first year savings
11190 projected lighting costs after project
10858 annual lease payments over 5 yrs
4.5% annual interest.
Need a champion
Need a way to identify the project: SEMP, VEEP, Re-Light.
Do BIG project: much deeper savings, much less total disruption because it all happens at the same time.
Use Efficiency Vermont Resources
Andy Shapiro: VEEP – Vermont Energy Education program
Rebuilding school of natural resources at UVM to turn 1970s thermal dog into zeb.
20+ years. Delivering “hands-on/minds-on” energy education.
3 types of programs:
1 – Bring interactive presentations into schools – a bike that is easier or harder to pedal depending on what kind of bulb you’re trying to light.
2 – Provide teacher curricula (includes training, materials, on-going support). We send people in to help teacher if they’re having issues. Inquiry based science.
One student thought if you took a solar panel outside for the sun to charge, then brought it inside it would run things. Did an experiment: put little panel under a light, see it run a small motor, pull it out from under light – the initial guess by students was “well the panel’s broken.” This is because they thought the panel worked like a battery. Great learning opportunity.
3 – Green Schools Program
Bring together: Students, Experts, and Efficiency VT.
Kids do the analysis: what do you have now, how many watts, find options (include “doing nothing”), compare the options over time. Create presentations, learn their own piece of the presentation, present to the school board.
One school retrofitted 1800 light fixtures! Another school, kids looked at the lighting in cafeteria with with much day-lighting. Determined that lights in certain parts of room could be controlled by light sensors.
These projects are FREE to the schools. There must be a teacher or other champion who REALLY wants to do this.
For next year: designing a “whole schools program” to get whole school involved in understanding and managing the school’s energy use. Add more teacher trainings, new curricula.
Ran 3 summer institutes for teachers last summer. Greatly appreciated.
Q: Re-light available to other municipal buildings?
A: Electricity is much more complicated than you’d think. It takes an architectural eye to determine where savings will occur. If you have a library or town office building, ASK what they can do for you?
Q: Is there anything for private schools? Our town doesn’t have its own school, is there any restriction?
A: No restriction on public v. private v. . Efficiency Vermont is concerned with energy savings.
Q: Municipal Leasing?
A: You can now do this without going directly to the service provider.
Q: Energy literacy: is there any pre-k work?
A: Some early ed. Fran Barheidt is a science methods specialist with a bunch of early readiness activities – light and shadow, building pinwheels, stories, etc. But not a lot of demand for them. (Also, NESEA has a KidsPower program).
Q: Is NewLight available for other municipal buildings?
A: Yes. For Newlight program: determine how much project will cost, and projected savings. Since you’re talking 1 to 1 change-out of bulbs, ask for incentive agreement and sign it to “fix” the incentive at the current great rates.
Regional Round Table – Southeast (they moved us)
There are several concurrent round-tables in which town energy committees and other community energy groups from each region gather to share what they’re doing, lessons learned, and techniques to improve success. Not being able to attend all of them at once, I’m attending the Southeast session. 🙂
Reports from town energy committees:
Policy (subcommittee that focuses on town policy), Education (building site, educate residents, build some locally-sustainable wood kiosk in schools), Have fun: “naked table project, community yard sale. Have activities and events enjoyable for people, carry a message. Residential: It’s what happens in a household that impacts consumption. Households w/children are using the most energy but are hardest to reach. Will work on penetrating that group.
Started w/light bulbs, grants are the new: buttoned up church, municipal building, put small 2kw pv array on school. Looking to cover Elizabeth mine w/1 MW array.
Objective to build municipal scale pv to offset town facility consumption. Roadblocks: just put back out to bid. Anticipate bids back by end of year, looking forward to town vote in March to sell a bond to finance the project. That’s absorbed all our work last year. Project came from CEDF technical assistance grant to survey renewable resources in town – assessed wind, pv, and whether it would be feasible to do district heat and power project (geothermal or biomass). Ended up w/very comprehensive understanding of village, heating loads, etc. Came up w/encouraging possibilities and DB of info about the buildings and schematic plan to move forward if town is interested.
Smallest carbon footprint to get here today. Volunteers did town hall energy audit. Going forward w/insulation. Hosted button-up workshops here and in Orford NH across the river, as well as W. Fairlee. Assessed number of streetlights in town (48) can turn off 6 of them. Looking to replace lights w/LEDs, but CVPS is not moving forward with LED replacements. Audited emergency medical services & fire station building, by end of year audit report will be out. John Hanel has done a lot of work for the town – Thanks John!
Co-sponsored weatherization workshop w/SERG, used grant to get high efficiency heating system in town office, weatherized part of town garage, replaced middle school door. Updated library with books. Co-sponsored 10-10-10 event at elementary school. Sharon sprouts food committee – planted blueberry bushes, 20 trees and more.
Energy committee part of conservation commission. Bulk of year was street lighting. 455 lights. Didn’t include several other places in town. Survey: removed 120 lights. People are done yelling at us now. Next phase: efficiency vt street light conversion to LEDs. In Green Mountain Power territory, have begun switching over as light bulbs need replacement. Took out 24 of the 26 CVPS lights to avoid their delays.
Middle school in process of renovation, have liaison to make sure efficiency is considered in process. Did energy audit, other buildings audited but not implemented.
Sustainable Woodstock sub-group. Many little projects at town level. Grant to audit town hall, waiting for results. Continuing to pursue town owned community owned pv array. Got grant for feasibility study. Hope to keep going with PACE program – may not be in time for town meeting. Don’t know the status.
Button-up workshops, 10% challenge, got 3 providers of solar systems and 3 owners of solar systems, got 30 people to show up! Hope to pursue businesses to talk about conservation – most concerned about weatherization. In middle of project w/local mobile home park to get to the home owners. How do you find them? How do you get them to weatherize their homes? It’s the biggest challenge.
Big project was LEAF festival (local energy alternatives festival): present workshops on everything form knitting to how to get the most pv bang for the buck. 3rd year this past fall.
Our beautiful old Victorian era brick building is our town office building. Got an audit to help us figure out the low-hanging fruit, which helped sell to select board. We had volunteers plug all the holes possible w/low-level skills. Got grant for next step: fill more complex leaks. Got a grant to implement energy audit recommendations.
Town compost project, a farmer from Corinth goes to all schools, COOP, restaurants, etc. to collect food waste. Has implemented a bio-char system. Park & ride is overflowing. Working toward expanding it – owner of nearby lot was very reluctant, but has finally agreed.
Concentrating on town hall – brick building. Doing phases:first phase ANR climate change grant to tighten up, air seal, insulate, improve lighting and heating unit. Now moving to second phase: energy efficiency and conservation grant, seeking RFPs. Took 10% challenge, audited all municipal buildings and streetlights. 46 lights, were able to get select board to eliminate 7 of them.
Quite a bit of time applying for grants. Elementary school, 5 classrooms where heat/vent units weren’t working well (some ran 24 hrs a day, some never). Got funding for energy audits for school, firehouse, town house. Town office was worst, got money to tighten that building. Worked with other towns to get button up workshops. One teacher has an energy curriculum, some students chose to research, focused on PV system for school, presented to town meeting, applied for funding, got a grant for 2.5kw array on school that shows what it’s generating and another to show what’s being used in classrooms so they can compare generation to use. Got Windham regional commission help to map town for solar sites. Started a renewable energy gallery on town web site w/basic info sheet. Residents can use the info there to learn and know how to move forward.
Intensive weatherization project on town garage. Time and historical constraints made it easy to choose. ARRA grant turned “big shack” that the town paid to heat. So far this fall, the ground under the building is heating it. Have enough left over from the grant to waste oil boiler.
Library: SERG, volunteer energy auditors and volunteers doing the work, buttoned up the building significantly. ARRA funds for PV and solar HW arrays for demonstration project.
Surveyed street lights: reduced from 562 to 352 lights ($44 – $45k per year savings). Substantial energy savings. Now in stage 2, will pursue ownership of LED streetlights instead of leasing them. Seeking upfront capital to do so. Will save 50% to 60% if we do so. Hoping to formally audit large municipal buildings. Will need substantive help auditing. Also looking into PACE if the federal issues are fixed. Want to provide an option for deep energy audits to homeowners.
Regional planning commission has helped tremendously. Saved 50% of oil at town barn, maintenance funding to save 50% of oil at town office. Transfer station solar project Town had no interest in PACE. No interest in biodiesel for trucks. Now looking for biodiesel in chainsaws. Rehabbed school w/woodchip burning plant. Hope to get students to work to get PV on school. Spoke w/senior citizens, gave a checklist to check their homes for energy. Suggested to take copies of list to every meeting in town and hand it out. Goal: make town energy neutral. Have GPS info on good location for solar array on town property seeking funds for feasiblity study.
First Branch sustainable communities:
Tried to work on entire White River watershed. Several town energy committees are spinoffs. Worked on series of targeting community projects: Solar hot water challenge. Goal 50 installations, got vendors, interested people, and some info together. Worked well, took to other communities. Slide show is available for other communities to use.
Sustainable living fair. Workshops, vendors, exhibits. Met weekly for 4 months to bring it off. Needs to be a year-long project.
Goal to take entire community’s footprint down, then generate all of its power. Group net metering workshop good for block of buildings to do power together. Community project to build double-sided interior storms for leaky windows. Will save $1 per sq ft in oil.
Nice that all the lights in that end of the room are off and no one’s complaining!
2 energy co-coordinators. Over 30 buildings, 500 street lights. Very inspiring to hear Hartford’s story. Trying to audit all the buildings, track all the street lights.
Town clerk presented notes from original Putney energy committee (1972 – 1973). PEC. Putney.net. We’ve done window insert workshop (powerpoint on our site). We want a better world and want to have fun. Working with new transition town organization. Appeals to a wider range of people than just an energy committee. Consider looking at what a transition group can do for your committee. We’ve done over 1000 events and activities in a year.
Volunteer weatherization of community center. 500 hrs of volunteer work, plus some pro. over 80% reduction in air infiltration. May have reduced close to 70% energy use. SERG helped on the project, seeking funding to help do that. Bernie’s announcement this afternoon re: town energy committee funding worth hearing.
Got 2 grants to implement PACE. Town chair wants to move forward despite federal hold-ups.
Removed 25% of streetlights 4 years ago, got grant to replace w/LEDs. Before investing, reviewed to see if more could be removed. Only 28 lights left, may remove 18 more. Have been on month-long trial outage. Collecting community feedback. May have to turn some back on, but most may stay off. Then we can update the rest w/LEDs. Green Mountain Power has had a least option for streetlights. If you lease from them, you can get them to replace your older lights w/LEDs while paying same. CVPS is resisting, but there’s now a new street lighting tariff coming out that will include an LED leasing option. Under town ownership option, we’d be paying the same as under the lease option – *AFTER* the grant. We challenged them to offer a town ownership option, alas, we couldn’t challenge the PRICE they charged for the option. We’re going to look for help from other towns for next challenge.
Have been doing many things for years. Last year started: Upper Valley HEAT (Home Energy Action Team). Energy committees may want to implement at town-wide level. Community energy challenges – each town set a goal for the town in terms of number of weatherization jobs done in the community and support to help you get that work done.
2 Rivers Ottaqueechee
Hoping after audits done can use some of our funding to help folks cover the low-hanging fruit: light bulbs, exit signs. Have been doing street light inventory. Randolph and Bradford want to do inventory. Randolph has 300+ lights. Looks like several that can be turned off. Showing the dollar signs that can be saved is helpful w/selectboards. Can offer technical assistance and funding for some projects (like funding street light inventory – our staff gets in a car w/people from town, look at the lights, and use CVPS, etc. data – as well as things like parking lot lights). Funds are limited, first-come first served, so get requests in soon!
Regional Planning Commission:
Small pot of money for energy audits. Told that efficiency VT business incentive programs may fund some town buildings. Want to stitch together many funding sources.
Want to do a regional energy event.
If you need energy planning help, give us a call!
Windham regional commission
Audit on courthouse, tackling historic preservation along with audit. 14 audits in 10 towns. Selected 4 to get implementation funds. 3 of 4 are historic buildings. We’ll see how it goes. Want to leverage efficiency VT program funds, too.
NH developing first community energy incubator facility in Claremont, NH. 1st piece of 350kw generating facility to be delivered in next few weeks.
Q: How many are aware of PACE? It will be a big step toward putting contractors to work.
A: Anyone not familiar check out VEIC for more info.
Q: Funding for non-profits to help upgrade?
A: Not sure. There will be town energy committee funding announced today, may be additional funding. New England Grassroots Environment fund?
Announcement: Habitat for Humanity is building 3 passive houses in Charlotte, VT, using different building types.
– Presenters, please put your powerpoints, etc. on the web site.
– Green Energy Times wants to report on your community projects! Get in touch with Nancy Rae.
Major Funding Initiative Announcement: Bernie Sanders
Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires would take money away from energy, efficiency, families, and more.
If we are going to make progress, it has to start at the grassroots level. You are educating organizing and implementing strategies and policies that protect the environment, create jobs and make a better place for our children and grandchildren.
In a time when we spend 350billion/yr importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries, I know you share w/me that VT should be the leader in transforming away from fossil fuels. As we transform, we’l be creating millions of new jobs in America. You also know vt is today leading the nation in electric energy efficiency. VT Ranked #1 of all states through efficiency VT and town energy committees. 3.7cents/kwh = cost of saving energy, 1/4 the cost of new generation for the same energy. We met 2% of our energy last year through efficiency alone. If country did 50% of that, we’d prevent 190 coal plants nationally.
We have 45 schools heating w/biomass. We’ve seen more heating and cooling w/geothermal. We’re seeing biomass, solar, and more. 12MW solar projects in the state. Working to make VT national guard the greenest in America. We have a long way to go to accomplish what we should be doing.
Of interest to all of you: I’m pleased to announce to town energy committee leaders – we’ve got 90k funding for VCAN to support your committees with grants. Investing in these local efforts will help our state
Stay in touch with our office. Keep us informed about what you’re doing
We have a great web site – Sanders.senate.gov. Stay in touch there and our facebook page.
Now Ginny Callan will give further details:
Major Funding Initiative Announcement: Ginny Callan
Thanks to Senator Sanders and all of you (us) for the work you’re doing. VECAN wants to thank you in particular for your work against climate change impacts.
This funding will enable your committees to do more over the coming years. (***grab info from handout***)
Grants by Jan 31, 2011. Amounts: $1k – $3k.
100 energy committees in VT, we can fund 25 of you. We will review with VECAN partner groups. Funds awarded in April.
I’m glad to be home. Fairlee is one of my 2 hometowns. My parents split up when I was 5. One lived on one side of the river, I grew up in both Fairlee and Lebanon. I’m really glad we’re here on Lake Morey. Samuel Morey was an inventor who lived across the river in Orford. He did much of his experimentation on “The Great Pond” across the river. Invented the steam engine 14 yrs before Robert Fulton – who got the patent. First car that had an internal combustion engine which ran on liquid fuel. His first demonstration was in 1826. His invention didn’t go to scale and change the face of the country for 100 years. My g-grandfather delivered mail in central VT. Delivered his mail w/horses 100 years after Morey’s invention. That’s an important lesson for us in terms of the work that won’t pay off immediately but lead to progress in longer term
The invention of the fuels that powered Morey’s invention have changed the world and the climate in which we live today. If he were alive today, he’d be in his shed tinkering with batteries and things like that.
The last 30 years, there have been those preventing us moving past the fossil fuels economy. Most technologies to move off fossil fuels already exist. The innovation we need isn’t so much scientific, it’s the “technology of community.”
We said “What needs to happen if we’re going to get to scale is demonstration projects to bubble up.” We had orgs across US and Canada to make school campuses models of alt energy.
Reality check: gaping chasm between what scientists say is necessary, and what we are doing. In order to preserve a climate that is the same as the one in which civilization developed can’t be done w/business as usual. The gap is frustratingly large.
It’s because there is a dysfunction in our ability to come together to solve large-scale problems by relying on our national government.
Open source is used to cooperatively develop “something.” Linux was the first big open source product. It ended up rivaling anything MS has created. It’s actually better – 450 of the 500 fastest supercomputers run on Linux.
There’s all this excitement about how you can bring people together for meaningful acts of participation of a quality you never thought possible using volunteers. Lots of books on the concept of crowd sourcing, open source collaboration, etc.
This book tells the story of open source ethic and rising millennial generation could change the way we go about social change. It’s time to have this discussion for a few reasons. If we look nationally at Congress in DC – there are a number of things going wrong. Earlier this month 4 billion spent on midterm elections. 3.9 billion was spent on lobbying.
In House of Representatives: in 1919 # of house members was capped due to a space limit. In 1913 each rep represented 200k people. Now it’s 700k. (except the little states). At the same time that ability to connect w/reps has dropped, there have been increases in # of lobbyists competing for their time. 24 lobbyists for each member of Congress. This number increases any time a public-good bill crops up. For instance 8 health care lobbyists cropped up during HCR debate. Also procedural mechanisms have slowed down the process. 40 Senators (7.5% of the population’s representation) can block legislation for all.
Evan Bayh (R- IN): In my father’s day, they said you’d govern 4, campaign for 2. NOW, the very first conversation after elected was how to raise money for next election. You no longer govern for 4, campaign for 2 – you campaign all the time.
Your worldview changes due to the constant fundraising phone calling – that’s the worldview you hear for the entire time you’re in office. You rarely get to hear at all from your constituents. The people you hear from are the ones not facing the brunt of policy implications.
How is our system outdated? How can we reform it?
When our system of government was designed, there were assumptions that informed it: low rates of literacy, little access to education, travel costs were incredibly high, costs of communication were incredibly high.
Now, none of those assumptions hold true anymore. Access to information is near universal if you have internet access. You’ve used the internet as a resource. Costs of communication are approaching zero, for anyone w./internet access.
There’s an incredible opportunity for civic engagement.
New Orleans: aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Mayor Nagin said we need the best minds to help us plan. Brought in DC experts who came up w/elevation maps. Published on front page of Times Picayune w/little green dots on neighborhoods they wanted to tear down and turned into green space. Those of you who know about the correlation between elevation and poverty, know that every single one of those neighborhoods were African American. They were *also* the highest African American home ownership areas.
Imagine if you survived, moved back, and struggled to reclaim and then your mayor comes along to say, “Um, sorry. We’re only going to rebuild the rich white neighborhoods.”
Feds had requirement of a plan before the resources could be spent for rebuilding. So a year later, nothing was happening with those rebuilding funds. A group came in “America Speaks” to facilitate 2 community congresses, demographically representative of the pre-Katrina New Orleans. Everyone got a briefing guide. Everyone had a keypad polling device to vote on every single issue. It was done in such a transparent way with so much community trust, there was no choice but for the city council to pass it. It was a matter of months before the funds were then released.
Vera: “At the end of the day, it’s about letting people impacted by something be part of the decision making process. … Now I’ve begun deciding who to vote for based on whether they will let us be part of the decision making process. … We want them making decisions with us, not from some isolated ivory tower.”
Some might say there’s not a lot of hope, but look at the history of how progress has happened: (examples: progressive income tax started in Wisconsin; clean air rules started in California; Civil unions started in VT.) Huge generational attitude shift on many issues. Center for American Progress generational replacement will result in working majority nationally by 2018.
The states act as laboratories for democracy. There’s a model known as laboratory federalism. The kind of laboratories we need are not so much technological, but more about making our democracy work again.
For all of us alive today, the challenge is twofold: we can’t cordon ourselves off and say “I’m and education person, I’m an environment person.” We need to come together to create the scale of will to create the change we need.
VT constitution first to outlaw slavery, to grant vote to non-property owning males. One caveat on this: in ’08 after Obama elected, I had incredible hope for scale of progressive change that could happen. We thought there’d be action on climate, end DADT, health care reform, close Guantanamo. The opportunities at that moment don’t track with where we are now. It speaks to the importance of seizing opportunities when they arise.
Stewart: You ran on changing the way things work, and you didn’t do that.
Obama: Guilty as charged. I was being warned of second great depression, and had to work on that.
But other things didn’t work as described – instead of being very open and lobbyists having little impact, it turned out to be a showcase of exactly the old process.
In VT we had 8 yrs of gov who would not bring us a state of innovation. There is an urgency here. We have the shortest gov term of office in the country. I hope Shumlin is gov a long time, but short terms mean we need to seize this opportunity – realize we can come together for real change, grassroots organizing and political leadership.
“Growing a Grassroots Climate Movement in Vermont”: Katie Gordon, Margaret Gish (inconvenient youth project), Joe Solomon (social media coordinator 350.org), Jared Duval
Many of you know there are many issues facing our world today. The one issue that will affect us more than anything else: climate change. Affects financial viability, health, and world peace. 10 hottest years on record have happened since I was born in 1996.
[list of records that have occurred since 1996]
2009 NOAA said “Global Warming is undeniable.
2010 has seen highest combined oceanic and land temps.
It is increasingly unlikely that arctic ice will return to normal. Heat records in 17 countries – 129 Fahrenheit in Pakistan. July in Moscow 7.6 degrees above normal, causing peat bogs to catch fire. Royal society in London said 3 – 4 degree Celsius increase likely.
I am fortunate, loving family, beautiful state, great school. but my future is uncertain. I hope to fight climate change and create a healthy planet.
Was doing Al Gore climate presentations. Met Marshall Saunders of Citizen’s Climate Lobby. He wanted someone in VT to bring it here. 2 years later, this summer, he called again “Listen to my executive director, hear us out.” I said OK. The next 45 minutes Mark Reynolds told the story of what it’s all about. Engaging and empowering citizens throughout the country to on a monthly basis have national conference call w/an expert on the latest on one issue or another re: climate change. An ongoing way to stay on top of what’s going on w/science and policy. Engage and empower citizens: write letters to legislators, create a network to make collective noise. Need 4 – 7 leaders to join.
Just started the “million letter march” to get 1 million letters sent to Congress. 2300 lobbyists from coal lobbying against us. We can’t win the funding battle – we need to engage and empower people to feel like members of the community. Need people like us to say “yes” for it to work.
Requires nothing more than you’ve already done by coming here. Showing a united movement nationwide. Produced model legislation – needs a sponsor.
I’m floored and despairing after Margaret’s talk. I don’t have anything that’s really going to make you feel any better. I will show photos of 350 movement around the world, maybe those will bring hope.
If we can get legislation to bring us back to 350 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere, we can win the day. 10,000 locations in 14 months.
My role is the guy that shares photos on facebook. I was doing that for a year, sharing from all over the place – it’s a massive global event. I’ve never actually been in one! They’re meaningful and inspiring, so I connected with some folks and started organizing for 10-10-10 in Burlington. Everything I’ve learned about organizing has happened in the last couple of months.
Climate change is here and now. Israel currently on fire. Biggest fires in its history. Fires in the north. Pakistan has the worst flooding in history. Bangladesh flooding.
We’re losing this fight. We’re losing because we have no power. We need great lobbyists on our side. Without grassroots power, we will not get to the solution of this crisis.
In the HC movement, activists went up to Shumlin – who IS a POLITICIAN – we want to get HC legislation as a human right. We want single-payer. We want to be the first in the nation. He laughed at them. So the organization started building power across the state. Massive rally in May 2009 and another in 2010. Formed health care committees across the state, started holding rally’s and forums across VT putting pressure on politicians.
There’s no such thing as an online movement unless you’re building something in SecondLife.
Why did it work? It empowered local leaders throughout the state. It had a big bold ask and goals. It included social justice principles. We need to see this as more than ourselves. Climate is a human rights issue. In Cancun: country 1: “I don’t want to be the sacrifice country.” Seychelles: “If you save the island nations” Maldives are going carbon neutral. They were laughed at, but they will be the first.
Just this week, republicans shut down the global warming committee in congress.
If we want to form a movement:
1) What is our big, bold “ask” that gets us laughed at? What is the benchmark for leadership?
2) What is some way to allow people around the state to become leaders? Let’s think of and allow people to unleash their great ideas. It’s not easy.
3) Social justice – how to we bake in social justice from the get-go to make it a broad movement to make it possible to win.
We might not win. It’s the biggest social crisis in history and it may go the other way. We need to be honest.
This is the first time in history you can look at a child in a given country and say, with utter certainty: “this child WILL become a refugee.”
The idea of open-source is not just technology – it’s an ethic that applies offline, too.
Open source organizing model: instead of top-down centrally managed thing you do where people have scripts and knock on doors, it’s the kind of thing where people can sit down at their kitchen table.
80 page thesis: the gap between what the science says and what our legislators say. We focus so much on our leaders, but often times the great things for which they get credit, they are just in the right place at the right time to be forced by the community to do those things.
Campuses and congregations are where the changes have classically been driven. It was difficult, knowing that, to go off and write this book.
Howard Thurman to Dr. King: “Do not ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”
Q: At solarfest, learned about biochar – if we moved solely to organic gardening at every home, we’d solve climate change. It seemed so simple – we don’t have to wait for those well-heeled leaders to do it.
A: You are right – there is a real drive to create change along the way. This is one of the first movements where people can partially empower themselves to make the changes we need.
Q: Open space meeting and Transition Town movement?
A:Transition Town is a driver across the world. They have joined forces with others to do open source organizing. That kind of open source organizing will be the key.
A: Malcolm Gladwell: “Civil rights worked because of deep relationships (which you can’t form online), top-down hierarchy, etc. That’s what we need.” But he misses the point – it’s online tools for offline action. Having relationships with people on Facebook are often also the people you know on the ground. But, on the question of hierarchy – can an non-hierarchical method really work? THere are a number of ways in which old methods don’t work anymore. Spent 3 days starving in front of the White House, organized march through NH. But the media environment has changed, and those events don’t have the same impact they used to have.
Q: Churches and Campuses are historical starting grounds for social movements, do you see online organizing filling in the gaps as fewer people go to school and church?
A: Meetup.com, for example.
A: We’re powerless right now, because we’re not united. What is a big bold hairy benchmark to present to leadership, and then how are we going to build that movement across the state. Host 12 town halls across the state, weatherize 1000 homes, etc. Drag legislators, build pressure.
A: Power of images, power of internet, power of measurable results.
Q: New problem – lifelong interesting environment, going back to school for env law and policy: there isn’t anything that’s not made worse by population growth.
Q: Reduce energy use and CO2, given that Nascar dad will call us carbon-Nazis, how do we come up with different way to fit appeal to nationalists.
A: My Dad’s a racer, he believes in saving energy.
Comment: Effects of education on population growth: single best thing to do is educate women. But it’s not just education – it’s empowering the women.
Comment: How to we move this forward? There is a lot of info that is silo-ed. Each of us is doing things, share it on your web site. If you’re doing a grant application: put them on your web site so we can all see it.
Population: There’s a much bigger bang to the buck if we control population in energy-intensive countries.
Nascar dads: Dale Ernhardt, Jr. is trying to switch to electric cars for racing.
Perseverance is a measure of success. Keep at it.
Comment: There is a worldwide movement – we’re not alone. South American countries are doing great work. There is now talk of a climate tribunal.
Comment: Don’t discount faith communities. We want to partner with all these other groups. In Kansas having success, despite conservatism, getting homes energy efficient. They are talking about independence, not sending our dollars to the middle east, but getting the same result.
Comment: organic farming – some of us have been doing that for 30+ years. It’s achieved a certain modicum of success in marketplace, but at this point 20 yrs after passage of federal law, less than 1% of farmland is under organic management. It’s a BIG piece of carbon sequestration.
Q: How do you do an organic/multi-level movement?
A: British Columbia thought public wouldn’t trust it if the legislature developed the new voting system. So they created a citizens group to make the new proposal:
1 man, 1 woman from every electoral county in the province. They spent months to come up with proposal which was then placed on ballot.
Q: This kind of process is Unwieldy or too long:
A: 1) Must be very well publicized. 2) Must be representative of the actual people in the community. Get people to the meetings. Provide food, transportation, child care to get people there. 3) Must be managed in a serious way.
Q: What gives you hope (to Margaret).
A: I’ve always been a hopeful person.
Q: (to Margaret) What advice would you give younger people?
A: Be the change you want to see.
Q: (to Margaret) Saw a movie about a 12 yo boy who started a climate movement in his town. I always bring back that I want to involve youth. I think that’s effective. It’s hard to know “how” – where do we look to get people your age to be involved?
A: My mom was involved and helped me become interested. As far as getting other kids interested, I guess I don’t have the right answer.
Q: In your school do you have groups that talk about it?
A: I go to a very small school (120 students), we don’t have an environment club, but we do have a lot of energy for it.
Comment: The square root of one percent of a population is enough to get a movement. In VT – that’s 806 people.
Comment: We have this meeting, all these town energy committees. We have something the worker’s center didn’t have. We know this movement needs to expand democracy. We need big bold “asks.” We need it related to social justice. So what are we going to do? We have Margaret, a Gov who says he’s going to do the right thing. The difference in VT, we’re going to put the pressure on in a massive way. We need to get masses of people to be involved in visible ways. Out there, where it will make a difference. We need it at the legislature. It’s a 2 year term. It starts in January, goes to May. Maybe an event at the legislature on the very first day. Need a plan of action that we create for this session.
Comment: “Politics is the art of the possible” I say “politics is the art of making the impossible possible”
Comment: This is an age-diverse group, which is nice to see. Organize well and transparently, involve people. We had a movement in the 60s and 70s – people who were part of that movement, what should we NOT do again. What’s something to try to replicate in this next generation? I wanted to get Al Gore’s training, but needed a device to get accepted. So I exploited my 15 yo son under the premise that we’d be first father son team to present it. He was the one who did the climate change presentations – people came to see him, they weren’t interested in me. The Youth Environmental Summit invited my son to come, and said don’t take your father.
Comment: Can this organizers help coordinate this effort.
Comment: ICLEI has tons of resources.