STAFF: KIM SMITH
Guided by its Energy Committee, WRC works to help its member towns reduce both the financial and the environmental impacts of energy use, as a way to increase both town and regional resilience. WRC administers state and federal grant programs for energy efficiency and weatherization, provides technical assistance to towns, and organizes educational sessions for community energy leaders and others.
WRC recognizes that the Vermont Yankee nuclear station is a key part of the conversation about energy in our region. For more information about WRC’s involvement in VY-related matters, please click here.
Opportunity for Wood Heat Conversion in Windham County's Public Buildings
The Windham Wood Heat (WWH) Initiative has been developed to yield community benefits, business success, and high performance public buildings based on a sustainable local forest industry. This $1.6 million program-funded through of the state's settlement agreement with Entergy Vermont Yankee via the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF)-will assist municipal and school buildings convert to heating with local, sustainable wood while addressing those buildings' energy efficiency and durability needs. This two-year program also includes public education, training for local building professionals, fuel supply procurement and other elements needed to make Windham County a long-term hub of advanced wood heat technology and practice.
Windham Region hosts “A Roadmap to Energy Efficiency” Roundtable
Energy efficiency: less risk than the stock market, often better returns. The economic and environmental merits of energy conservation and efficiency have long been touted, but navigating the process of weatherizing homes and upgrading heating systems can be a difficult and confusing one. On January 20, 2015, citizens from throughout the Windham Region packed the conference room at the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust building in Brattleboro, VT. The event was co-sponsored by the NeighborWorks Heat Squad, Brattleboro Climate Protection, Sustainable Energy Outreach Network, and the Windham Regional Commission.
WRC Engages with the Clean Energy Development Fund
The Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) will distribute half of the funds in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Program Plan in or for the benefit of Windham County (equal to roughly $2.6 million of the $5.3 million available statewide). The Windham Regional Commission has been actively engaging with the CEDF Board to support a program plan for Windham County that will provide the greatest benefit to the region.
Energy Code Requirements: What Towns Need to Know
On March 20, 2014, town representatives from throughout the Windham Region met in the Townshend Town Hall to receive information on recent legislative changes related to the Vermont Energy Code (Act 89) and municipal requirements and opportunities to promote energy efficient construction in their communities. The event was sponsored by Efficiency Vermont in collaboration with the Windham Regional Commission.
Notes from the February 24th Energy Roundtable
More than 20 Town Energy Coordinators, Committee members, and energy enthusiasts gathered at the Marlboro College Graduate School on February 24th 2014 to share recent energy activities in their towns and discuss challenges. Current town projects ranged widely, including the replacement of outdoor lights with LED bulbs in Dummerston, a Putney solarize campaign kick-off, and an initiative to pass a $50,000 Energy Efficiency Fund in Brattleboro. The focus for the evening was energy planning and implementation strategies.
Solar Fever in Southern Vermont
During the Fall of 2013, the four southern Vermont regional planning commissions (Windham, Rutland, Bennington and Southern Windsor) paired with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to bring a SunShot Solar Workshop to Vermont. The half-day workshop held at Stratton Resort was designed to provide actionable information on overcoming local-level barriers to solar, addressing soft costs, and implementing a successful local solar program in the community.
The WRC Weatherization Project Results are In!
From 2010-2012 with the help of both state and federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), the WRC’s Energy Committee distributed funding to successfully complete fourteen energy audits and nine weatherization retrofits for municipal and county buildings. Almost all of the weatherization retrofits included a combination of insulation improvements and air sealing. Some projects included additional work such as removing excess attic hatches, replacing dial thermostats with programmable thermostats, and upgrading electrical fixtures to more efficient bulbs.
Three Years in the Making: Tracking the Progress of Town Weatherization Projects
From 2010 through 2012, the Windham Regional Commission (WRC) worked with towns throughout the region to identify savings for town budgets through municipal building weatherization retrofits. Through both state and federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG), the WRC’s Energy Committee awarded grants for weatherization retrofits for eight municipal buildings. The successful projects included the Newfane Town Office, Londonderry Town Offices, Grafton Town Hall, Marlboro Town Offices, Weston Town Garage, Putney Town Hall, Windham Sheriff’s Office, and the Windham Superior Courthouse.
Another Successful Regional Energy Round Table
On Tuesday, May 29, 2013, the Windham Regional Commission and the Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission held the Spring Regional Energy Round Table in Bellows Falls Vermont. The event was well attended, with representation from eight Windham Region Towns: Brattleboro, Grafton, Londonderry, Marlboro, Newfane, Rockingham, Wilmington, and Windham. The topic of the evening was financing models for municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
WRC Releases Update for Guide on Weatherizing Town Buildings
The WRC recently completed an update to the guidance document Weatherizing Town Buildings: What Local Officials and Energy Committees Need to Know. This 2013 update provides energy use results for seven of the nine weatherization retrofits completed, providing regional examples of both energy and cost savings realized through completion of these weatherization projects. The WRC was able to compile this document through state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funding, in addition to the many successful weatherizations completed with this grant.
Time To Dust Off Those Town Building Energy Audits
This winter the WRC is pairing with Efficiency Vermont to help towns implement existing energy audits conducted for town and school buildings. As part of this effort, the WRC held a forum on how to evaluate the recommendations of a building energy audit and take the next steps to successfully improve the building’s efficiency. The forum was held Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at the Newbrook Fire Department in Newfane, Vermont.
The presentations given during this forum are available at the links below:
Also, if your town is interested in more information about the process for completing a municipal building weatherization, the WRC has compiled this guidance document.