Orford Install

Solar Expo in Lebanon 4/1

Solar Installers Expo

Hosted by the Plainfield, Cornish, Lebanon, and Enfield Energy Committees
Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm
Kilton Library at 80 Main Street in West Lebanon

(Contact mary.n.boyle@gmail.com for more information and to RSVP)

Act now before Net Metering Tariffs change
(and PV Solar electricity becomes more expensive)

  • Find out more about PV solar installation options
  • Talk with members from area Energy Committees
  • Have your questions answered by experts from local solar installation companies
  • Sign up for site visits
  • Learn about DIY options

 

Why Weatherize?

Many thanks to our friends at CATV and Emily Gardner for helping our Hartford Weatherize volunteer team film this hilarious video explaining why YOU should participate in Weatherize Upper Valley.

- Randolph Team PictureSince Weatherize Upper Valley kicked off in early January, we’ve seen a surge of interest from residents across all fourteen participating towns. Over 130 people attended our kick off events across the region, and we now have over 280 residents signed up to get involved.

Most of those 280+ participants are now in the process of filling out a Home Energy Profile, which will then be sent to the participating contractor(s) of their choice, who will then provide a free at-home consult and proposed scope of work… FREE OF CHARGE.

It’s not too late to sign up! Learn More at VitalCommunities.org/Weatherize.

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FREE Button Up Workshop in Lebanon Oct. 19

FREE Button Up Workshop 
Wednesday, October 19
6-6:30 pm   Refreshments, gathering
6:30-7:45 pm   Presentation
7:45-8:15 pm   Q&A
Kilton Public Library – 80 Main Street West Lebanon
Refreshments will be served – no registration required
Button Up NH workshops are designed to provide homeowners with information and techniques to help them save money on home energy use. This presentation is conducted by an independent certified energy professional, Ted Stiles. Participants will learn basic building science concepts and learn the basics about air sealing, insulating, and conservation measures that reduce fuel and electricity use.
This free workshop is organized by the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committee and sponsored by Mascoma Bank of Lebanon.According to Sandra Jones, Co-Director of the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative, “These workshops over the past few years, have been bringing practical and valuable information to the people of New Hampshire to help them make good decisions about how to improve their home’s energy efficiency. Those attending will learn how to identify DIY energy saving opportunities and how to go a step further to have their home tested by a professional, all with the goal of having a toasty-warm home this winter for less!”

VIDEOS!
If you’d like to start learning right now about home energy issues and savings, and perhaps hone some questions before the workshop, you might
want to check out some mini energy Button Up videos: plymouthenergy.org… “Go to video page” myenergyplan.net/videos

In addition, workshop participants will learn how to sign up for Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) – a program run by the energy efficiency services at Liberty Utilities, Eversource, NH Electric Cooperative and Unitil. HPwES is open to all NH families in these service areas and is based on whether your home has a higher than average heating fuel bill. By signing up, NH residents can access a home energy audit for $100, financial incentives up to $4000 and technical expertise.  To learn more about the Home Performance with Energy Star program go to the “Save @ Home” tab at www.nhsaves.com

The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) of Plymouth, NH is working with local groups statewide to bring this important information to the public on behalf of New Hampshire’s utilities.  Look forward to seeing you at the Button Up Workshop in Lebanon on October 19!

Photo courtesy of Efficiency Vermont
Vermontivate Banner

Vermontivate Gone for Good

For those of you who missed this summer’s announcement from Vermontivate, below is a letter from Kathy Blume, Vermontivate’s founder and strongest advocate.

Hi Friends!

Well, it’s been four months to the day since I went to the hospital with what turned out to be an exploded appendix and sepsis. Quite a ride to be sure!

Though while the physical journey has been on the arduous side (though things have eased up considerably of late), the love and support from friends, family, and community have been lush, abundant, and exquisitely beautiful.

Nobody ever asks for their life to be upended, and it’s nothing anyone would wish on anybody. But, as I’m sure many of you know, if one is fortunate enough and supported enough to take the time and space to be transformed – and I have been – it can be a profoundly meaningful experience.

That said, one of the gifts of time and space is clarity, and in my case, the realization that while exciting and meaningful and rife with potential, Vermontivate! never achieved financial or organizational sustainability.

We were constantly in startup mode, requiring me to do the work of several more people than I am. And while I could imagine quite a few scenarios in which we achieved that sustainability, we didn’t get there before my appendix stepped in with its own opinions on the subject.

Due to the recovery time required by some highly invasive surgery and the sepsis, I’m looking at about a year before I’m really back in action, and I suspect that by then, both the needs of the world, and my ambitions, will have changed considerably. Which is actually remarkable.

The idea for Vermontivate! was conceived in 2011, when we felt a need to shake people by the lapels just to get them to even think about, much less acknowledge the reality of climate change and the need for climate action. That’s not the case anymore – in large part due to all of your hard work, and the weaving of all kinds of movements for justice, including climate justice, into a growing fabric of both political revolution and systems change.

So, it seems an appropriate time to shut Vermontivate! down, reflect, heal, and see what needs and interests pop up when next year rolls around.

Oh behalf of the whole Vermontivate! Team, thank you all beyond thanks for your support, encouragement, and the willingness to nurture a big, hairy, audacious idea and have the patience to watch it grow and evolve over time.

Vermontivate! has changed all our lives, and the lives of many of our players, and you’ve all had an inextricable hand in that process.

 

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Upgrade with NH Saves

DID YOU KNOW….

Liberty Utilities, and other NHSaves electric utilities, are offering rebates to NH-based Retail and Large Commercial customers who upgrade their old heating systems to a new high efficiency system. The program also offers rebates up to 35% of the project cost for weatherization (air sealing and insulation). NHSaves approved vendors can perform free energy analysis for businesses along with the installation of free energy savings improvements. These free analyses will help identify energy savings opportunities and help you drive down your energy costs. Businesses are welcome to select a contractor of their choice if they choose to complete the recommended improvements. Here is an example of just some of the program offerings:

  • Free: Energy Analysis
  • Free: Low flow spray valves, shower heads, aerators and hot water pipe insulation
  • $1,000 to $10,000 Rebate for high efficient oil or propane boilers
  • 35% Rebate for weatherization projects

All projects are for buildings using propane or oil only and must be pre-approved. Incentives are limited so contact us today. Please use the contact information below for Liberty Utilities’ customers. This program is valid in all NH utility territories (Eversource, Liberty Utilities, NH Electric Co-op, and Unitil).

nhsaves.com/save-work/retrofits

Go Solar in 2016

Guest Post by Bob Walker

Go Solar 2016

Going solar in 2016 make $ense as it typically costs 10% to 14% less than utility power and pays for itself in 7 to 10 years, while the systems are guaranteed to generate power for 25 years. In many cases, good financing can even result in energy savings higher than loan payments, meaning you start saving money from day one. However, the Vermont Public Service Board has just adopted new rules, adjusting the state’s solar “adder” – a financial credit for every kilowatt-hour your system generates – that will reduce solar savings between 1.6% and 53.8%, depending on where your system is located and whether or not you retain the Renewable Energy Credits, beginning in 2017. A full description of the new ruling and how it affects rates can be found in the “Order” and “Attachment” at http://psb.vermont.gov/statutesrulesandguidelines/proposedrules/rule5100.

But the solar adder for anyone installing solar or joining a community array by the end of 2016 will be grandfathered in for 10 years at the more favorable rates in effect when the system was installed. That is, if you go solar this year, you will continue to get the higher value solar credit available under today’s rules, even after the new rules go into effect in 2017. For those whose homes are not well situated for solar or who don’t want the solar panels on or near your home, you can also get the benefits of going solar by joining a community solar array. Most of the solar contractors operating in Vermont still have time to either install a system on your home or get you into one of their community solar arrays before the end of the year. But you need to act soon, as they are getting very busy as the end of the year deadline approaches. You can find a list of contractors installing solar power in Vermont at www.REVermont.org.

So, if you have been considering putting solar on your house or joining a community solar array, do it this year so you can save money and begin relying on local, clean, renewable power.

Bob Walker
Chair, Thetford Energy Committee
Thetford Center, VT

9th Annual Roundtable May 3

The 9th Annual
Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable

Porter Community Room
Montshire Museum, Norwich, VT
Tuesday, May 3, 2016 | 5–8 p.m.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
(event is free and includes a buffet dinner)

We look forward to seeing you at our favorite event of the year – a gathering of dozens of local energy volunteers from across the Upper Valley.

If you’ve attended the Roundtable in years past, you know this event is part family reunion, part support group, and part learning session. Come ready to be refreshed and inspired!

This year’s agenda:

​5:00 – Dinner and conversation

5:30 – Welcome and introductions, followed by our longstanding tradition of two-minute updates from each energy committee, along with updates from Vital Communities and other groups who provide support for energy committees year-round.

7:00 – Panel on local energy policy. Many towns are working to implement local energy policy this year, so we’ll be showcasing creative local energy policies related to solar siting, permit review, municipal projects, and more. Stay tuned for details.

8:00 – Clean up and go home

See you in May!

– Your Roundtable Organizing Committee

  • Sarah Simonds and Bob Walker, Vital Communities
  • Leigh Cameron, New England Grassroots Environment Fund
  • Ben Civiletti and Johanna Miller, Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network
  • Mike McCrory, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission
  • Dan Potter, Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission
  • Chris Sargent and Dee Gish, Two Rivers Ottaquechee Regional Commission
Bob Walker and Sarah Simonds

Big News: SERG Joins Vital Communities

Big news from the Vital Communities Energy Program:
Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG) is merging into Vital Communities.

The Sustainable Energy Resounce Group (SERG) is an Upper Valley nonprofit with a strong legacy of local energy action in the Upper Valley. Since its founding in 2002, SERG has pioneered many innovative local energy projects that have since been replicated throughout the Northeast.

After 14 years as an independent nonprofit organization, we are thrilled to announce that SERG has decided to combine forces with Vital Communities’ growing Energy Program. Vital Communities and SERG have been close allies since Vital Communities first began work on energy issues in 2009, collaborating on many projects and working together to support our region’s expanding network of town energy committees. In combining our two programs we are confident we can accomplish more together than we ever could on our own.

Just a few highlights from the long list of SERG accomplishments over the past 14 years:

  • Established the first town energy committees in Vermont and New Hampshire in 2002 (there are now more than 200 across both states)
  • Inspired and helped develop the “Button Up” weatherization workshop series that has been presented dozens of times throughout the Upper Valley
  • Led an effort that tripled the number of weatherized homes in Thetford in one year, and helped launch a Vermont Home Energy Challenge to get other towns to do the same
  • Created an online resource library and e-newsletter to help residents in the Upper Valley improve their energy footprints
  • Organized and hosted dozens of public forums on everything from solar hot water to electric vehicles

Read our summary for more detail about SERG’s work, plus some of our plans for the future.

In the coming year, SERG Founder and Executive Director Bob Walker will work directly with Vital Communities as a consultant and mentor to ensure a strong transition.

We’re seeking partners and supporters in this exciting transition – make a gift today to support Vital Communities in carrying forward SERG’s legacy of inspiring sustainable energy action in the Upper Valley.

The move will be official as of January 1, and we’re planning a big old party in February to celebrate SERG’s accomplishments and kick off our exciting new work together. Stay tuned!

Have questions, comments, or well wishes? Email Sarah@VitalCommunities.com.

 

 

Nancy W. Open House

Solarize 2.0 for Cornish, Plainfield, and neighbors

The Energy Committees in Cornish and Plainfield led a Solarize Campaign in 2014 and helped over 20 homes go solar. Now they’re back for a second round and they’re happy to help ANYONE go solar!

Join this inspiring group of volunteers to learn more:

Are You Ready for Solar?
February 18, 7:00pm at the Plainfield (NH) Library

Learn the essentials about…

  • How solar works
  • Installation Options, including Do-it-yourself
  • What you need to know to go solar
  • Costs/incentives/payback

Learn from your neighbors’ experiences…

  • What were their reasons for going solar?
  • How are their systems performing?

Learn how we can work together to…

  • Conserve natural resources
  • Reduce our global carbon footprint
  • Affect climate change
  • Save money
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