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An Energy-Efficient Makeover: Downtown Bennington, VT

Downtown Bennington, Vermont, is getting an energy-efficient makeover. Photo courtesy of BBC.

Downtown Bennington, Vermont, is getting an energy-efficient makeover. Photo courtesy of BBC.

Downtown Bennington, Vermont, is getting an energy-efficient makeover through Residential Network member Efficiency Vermonts residential and community programs and support. As part of Vermonts Downtown Energy Efficiency pilot program, Efficiency Vermont and the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will work to make energy efficiency programs and services more visible and accessible to the community, through office hours, partnerships, community events, workshops, information sessions, and home energy walk-throughs.

Similar efforts will follow in Randolph, Barre,
and Hartford/White River Junction this year.

Efficiency Vermont and DHCD will integrate sustainable energy solutions with downtown revitalization efforts for three other Vermont state-designated downtowns in 2016.

On February 18, 2016, the Downtown Bennington community leaders gathered at the Catamount Tap House to learn more about plans to rally around energy efficiency.

Better Bennington Corp. (BBC) is leading the effort, in close collaboration with the Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Bennington, to encourage downtown businesses, property owners, and residents to take advantage of programs and support offered through Efficiency Vermont and DHCD. The two organizations announced the Downtown Energy Efficiency pilot program recently, which will include similar efforts in Randolph, Barre, and Hartford-White River Junction this year.

I commend BBC for its leadership in organizing community leaders to be a part of this pilot program,” said Stuart Hurd, Bennington Town Manager. “This concerted effort to save energy will bring long-term economic value by making downtown commercial, residential, and public spaces more comfortable and affordable for years to come.”

The future of Bennington is with collaborations and partnerships. The Chamber is very excited to be working with these other organizations to bring efficiency standards downtown and to the community,” said Matt Harrington, Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “I think as we roll out this pilot program Bennington can become a leader in green and efficient energy in the region.”

For the next several months Efficiency Vermont and the DHCD will work closely with BBC to make energy efficiency programs and services more visible and accessible to the community. Activities will include:

  • Efficiency Vermont office hours at least two days a month at the BBC offices
  • Numerous community events, workshops and information sessions
  • Business and home energy walk-throughs
  • Additional activities to be developed as the pilot program evolves.

Downtowns are the heart of Vermont communities, where we gather to work, live, and play,” said Efficiency Vermont Director Liz Gamache, who is also the Mayor of Saint Albans and a longtime downtown revitalization champion. “By working closely with BBC we can better understand the communitys goals and priorities, and figure out ways that energy efficiency can support revitalization efforts. Along the way we expect to make lots of new friends and form working relationships that can keep driving energy efficiency improvement for many years.”

In late 2015 Efficiency Vermont and the DHCD issued a statewide request for interest to participate in the pilot program. BBC was one of several downtown organizations to respond. The goal is to learn more about how to best support downtown revitalization efforts, and then expand the program to more downtowns in future years.

The Better Bennington Corporation (BBC) is the lead organization which coordinates public and private efforts to maintain Downtown Bennington, Vermont as the commercial and cultural heart of the community. For more information, contact BBC at 802-442-5758 or www.betterbennington.com. More about Efficiency Vermont can be found at 888-921-5990 or www.efficiencyvermont.com

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