Lebanon Area Businesses – Join us on Sept. 27

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So many small businesses in the Upper Valley are burdened with high energy costs. And not enough time to do anything about it!

We’ve got some good news for you. A group of Lebanon residents are teaming up with Energy & Climate Upper ValleyVital Communities, the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Lebanon Energy Advisory Committeeto host an event this September just for Lebanon businesses.

Business Energy Innovation Conference
Thursday, September 27, 8:30-1pm
(Breakfast and Lunch Included)
Fireside Inn, West Lebanon

The day will focus on innovative renewable energy technologies that will help businesses stay competitive in a clean energy future. Lebanon area businesses will have an opportunity network with other businesses, hear testimonials from industry leaders who have already started to make this transition to renewable energy, and connect with experts in the renewable energy technology field. The event will explore the processes, financial benefits, financing options, and NH State policies surrounding Solar Power, Battery Power Storage, Lighting Design, Heat Pumps, Geo-thermal, and Biomass Heating.

Learn more, view the agenda, and sign up to attend at VitalCommunities.org/Energy/BEIC2018.

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Get Stoked on Automated Wood Heat!

Boiler on its last legs? Looking to opt out of fossil fuels? Come learn about today’s self-stoking automated wood heat! Opt out of oil with delivery of local wood pellets and whole home wood heating systems controlled by your thermostat.

Fully automated pellet boilers take the place of your old oil or propane boiler (or furnace) for hands-off, whole-home wood heating. Heating with regionally sourced wood pellets retains wealth locally, creates jobs for our neighbors, decreases your carbon footprint, and helps keep forests as forests. On top of that you may decrease your heating bill by up to 30%.

Join us on Tuesday, April 10th from 7:00-8:30pm at the Chelsea Town Hall for a presentation, learn about $7000 in available rebates, meet local installers, and enjoy light refreshments.

For questions, please contact Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager at Vital Communities, 802-291-9100 x109 orsarah@vitalcommunities.org.

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Weatherize Events in January

Weatherize Round Two kicks off this month across the Upper Valley region.

What is Weatherize? 

Vital Communities partners community volunteer teams with local contractors to help Weatherize participants complete cost-effective home energy improvements. These upgrades save residents money on heating bills, increase comfort, and reduce the amount of energy needed to stay warm throughout the winter.

How can you get involved?

New Hampshire residents living in Orford, Piermont, Lyme, Lebanon, Plainfield, and Cornish and Vermont residents living in Springfield, Chester, Woodstock, Pomfret, and Bridgewater can participate in this round of Weatherize. Visit your state’s Weatherize homepage or sign up here to stay in the loop about all the latest Weatherize events and deadlines.

Each community team will be hosting a launch event later this month. See below to learn more about your community’s upcoming kick-off.

  • Orford-Piermont-Lyme: Saturday, January 27 at the Rivendell Academy in Orford. 2 – 3:30 pm.
  • Lebanon: Monday, January 29 at the Kilton Library. 7 – 8:30 pm.
  • Plainfield-Cornish: Wednesday, January 24 at Plainfield Elementary School. 7 – 8:30 pm.
  • Springfield-Chester: Thursday, January 25 at the Springfield First Congregational Church. 6 – 7:30 pm.
  • Woodstock-Pomfret-Bridgewater: Tuesday, January 30 at Norman Williams Public Library. 6 – 7:30 pm.

What happens at the kick-off events?

The kick-off event is an opportunity to meet your community’s volunteer team, partner contractors, and Vital Communities in a fun and informational setting. You’ll learn about what you can expect from the Weatherize program, chat with neighbors who’ve been through the process before, and get the nitty gritty on costs, benefits, financing, and incentives– all in one place! You don’t want to miss it. Refreshments will be provided and the events are free and open to the public with no registration required.

We’ll see you in January!

Photo credit: Molly Drummond

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Green Real Estate Network Kick Off

​Working together to empower home buyers and sellers throughout the Upper Valley to understand home energy costs and invest in energy efficiency.

Over 50 real estate professionals from across the Upper Valley will gather on January 9 to kick off the new Upper Valley Green Real Estate Network, a project of Vital Communities. Participants include Realtors, lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, real estate lawyers, and home energy professionals.

Five Reasons Buyers Care about Energy

  1. The Upper Valley is home to some of the oldest housing stock in  the nation
  2. Energy is often the second highest cost of home ownership (behind mortgage/taxes/insurance)
  3. $7-12k of air sealing and insulation can reduce energy costs by 15-30% andimprove home comfort
  4. Rebates and special financing programs exist to help residents pay for energy improvements
  5. Cost effective energy efficiency improvements are possible in almost any home

Why Time of Sale?

Energy efficiency upgrades deliver cash savings and home comfort from month one. Waiting to weatherize means leaving cash on the table. Buyers can use the transaction process to gather necessary information for efficiency improvements. For example:

  • Past heating fuel use data needed to qualify for rebate programs
  • Confidence that cost effective energy improvements are possible
  • Ability to secure financing for energy improvements alongside a mortgage

Vital Communities and our partners believe we can do more to promote “Green Real Estate” in the Upper Valley by working together than we can by working in isolation. Stay tuned for more from this inspiring group of local real estate leaders!

Barbara Duncan checks out a Smart Electric Vehicle at the 2014 EV event at the Montshire Museum. Photo Credit: Dave Roberts

Plug-In to Electric Vehicles at the Upper Valley Electric Vehicle Expo

Plug-In to Electric Vehicles at the Upper Valley Electric Vehicle Expo

Vital Communities, Upper Valley Sierra Club, and volunteers from several Upper Valley energy committees are joining forces to host the Upper Valley Electric Vehicle Expo on Saturday, September 9, from 12 to 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Dothan Brook School in White River Junction, Vt. as part of National Drive Electric Week. The Expo is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register online at UVEVExpo.org for a chance to win $250 and other prizes.

Ariel Arwen with the Upper Valley Sierra Club at the New London Electric Vehicle event. Photo Credit: Allyson Samuell

Ariel Arwen with the Upper Valley Sierra Club. Photo Credit: Allyson Samuell

Electric vehicle owners from across the region will show off their wheels, with several local car, bicycle and motorcycle dealers bringing the latest all-electric models for visitors to explore. Vehicles will include the popular Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt, as well as the Tesla Models X and S, Tesla Roadster, BMW i3, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Smart Fourtwo and others. The Dartmouth Racing Team will also bring their electric race car. Free test rides will be offered throughout the afternoon.

“Our 2016 event in New London had over 300 attendees and dozens of electric vehicles. This year’s event in White River Junction will be even bigger,” said Jamie Hess, a volunteer from New London. “Electric vehicle technology keeps getting better. I’m seeing more and more people making the switch.”

An attendee learns about charging plug-in vehicles. Photo Credit: Dave Roberts

An attendee learns about charging plug-in vehicles. Photo Credit: Dave Roberts

It’s true. Most new fully electric vehicles can drive more than 100 miles, with some current models going more than 200 miles on one charge. Driving electric is cheaper, too—comparable to paying $1.50/gallon at the pump. Not to mention great acceleration and increased traction thanks to efficient electric engines and heavy batteries.

According to Drive Electric Vermont, the number of electric vehicles in Vermont has increased by 40 percent over the last year alone. That trend is expected to continue in the Upper Valley and across both Vermont and New Hampshire as vehicle ranges increase and more charging stations are installed.

Ted Dillard with electric bike at the event at the Montshire Museum. Photo Credit: Karl Kemnitzer

Ted Dillard with electric bike at the event at the Montshire Museum. Photo Credit: Karl Kemnitzer

The September 9 Expo will feature more than just cars—electric motorcycles, bicycles and even lawn equipment will also be available for visitors to see, touch and try. Drop-in presentations from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. will cater to both electric-vehicle enthusiasts and those who are new to the technology.

Families are welcome and there will be free refreshments. Event sponsors include Catamount Solar, Cyclewise, Energy Emporium, Green Mountain Power, Lyme Green Heat, Newport Chevy, Nissan of Keene, Norwich Technologies, Omer and Bob’s, ReVision Energy, Solaflect Energy, SunCommon, Twin State Ford, Zoom Bikes, Building Energy and Anne’s Country Store.

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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
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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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