Newly Increased Rebates for Home Weatherization

Newly Increased Rebates for Home Weatherization

Now’s the best time to think about weatherizing your home as both New Hampshire and Vermont state weatherization programs have announced a temporary increase to weatherization rebates.  NH Saves rebates have increased to 90%, funding up to $8,000 per household, for projects completed before November 15 — compared to previous caps of 50% and $4,000.  Efficiency VT rebates have increased to 75%, up to $5,5000 per household, for projects enrolled by August 31 — compared to 50% and $4,000 previously. In addition, Efficiency VT will make the first six months of payments (up to $900) on Home Energy Loan for anyone who applies before October 31.

Not sure where to start? Here are some useful Vital Communities “cheat sheets” that take you through the process. Note that these documents still quotes old, lower rebate percentages and caps, and that to access some of the links, you will need to paste the URLs into your web browser rather than just clicking on them.

New Hampshire residents: NHSaves Rebate Guide

Vermont residents: Home Performance with Energy Star/Efficiency Vermont

Making Solar Energy Accessible for All

Making Solar Energy Accessible for All

The best-kept secret about solar energy is how affordable it can be. Thanks to changes in the market and technology as well as rebates and other financial assistance, people at any income level can reap free power from the sun that pays back its investment and is kinder to the environment.

Want to know more? On Saturday, July 18, from 10 to 11 am, Sustainable Woodstock and Vital Communities will host an informational meeting on Zoom about creating affordable solar opportunities for all Upper Valley residents, including those with low to moderate incomes. Norwich Solar Technologies, Twin Pines Housing Trust, and Norman Sun LLC will be leading a discussion about how private individuals and companies can collaborate with the nonprofit sector to develop solar energy designed for low- to moderate-income households. 

We will explore how partnerships between the private and public sectors can help income-sensitive Upper Valley residents add solar energy to their homes. We will also explain how these same benefits can apply to nonprofits, municipalities, and other entities without a tax burden! Case studies will highlight how this has been done in Vermont, but the model can work in New Hampshire as well. 

This event is ideal for: non-profit managers, representatives of financial institutions, city/town planners & planning board members, local energy committee members, select board members, town managers, city mayors, regional planning commission staff, regulators, legislators, solar developers, and any resident interested in affordable solar! 

Register for the meeting through Eventbrite, and you’ll receive Zoom instructions by email.

 

Make Your Pitch to The Local Crowd UV!

We’re accepting proposals for the next round of The Local Crowd Upper Valley crowdfunding campaigns!


Do you have an incredible project just waiting to happen
—one that would strengthen your business, our community, and the local economy—if only you had the funds to make it happen?

Is your organization a “social enterprise” that addresses social and/or environmental issues and has a mission beyond the bottom line?

Will your project support community goals while keeping to a budget of $10,000 or less?

If you said yes to these questions… THANK YOU!  You are part of the emerging Fourth Sector economy—a sector that uses the power of business to do good things for people and the planet.

Vital Communities believes in people like you. That’s why we’re participating in The Local Crowd (TLC) Upper Valley, a new research project in conjunction with the National Science Foundation and The Local Crowd designed to uncover the best ways to support social enterprises. We are pleased to invite you to participate in this project.

Proposals are due Friday, February 14, 2020, at 5 p.m. Get the details and apply today.

Nov. 19 Green Real Estate Crash Course

Vital Communities is offering its popular Green Real Estate Crash Course again on Tuesday, November 19, at Service Credit Union, just off I-89 in Lebanon, NH. Earn 3 elective credits in VT and NH.

Register online at vitalcommunities.org/greenrealestate

This is NOT your average CE course.
Designed with input from Upper Valley Realtors®, Vital Communities, and Efficiency Vermont, this course is fun, practical, and hands-on. The Green Real Estate Crash Course and its accompanying resources expertly boil down the topic of energy efficiency to give you exactly what you NEED to know to help your clients, and no more!

What’s Covered:

 Why “Green” matters in real estate |  Home energy efficiency 101
 Working with green buyers |  Listing green homes |  MLS green fields
 Appraisal Institute Green Addendum |  Hands-on examples

Instructors: 

Lynne LaBombard, Green Designated Realtor® and licensed instructor

Sarah Brock, Energy Program Manager at Vital Communities

Learn more and explore free online resources at vitalcommunities.org/greenrealestate

November Course Details

WHEN: Tuesday, November 19, 9 am-12:15 pm

  • 8:30-8:55 am | Registration and Light Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 am-12:15 pm | Green Real Estate Crash Course (with one 15min break at ~10:30)
    **You MUST be in your seat at 9:00 am to receive credit**

WHERE: Service Credit Union, 225 Mechanic Street, Lebanon, NH

FEE: Pre-registration: $50 (register online by Friday, November 15). Otherwise $60 at the door.

Thanks to our generous host and sponsor, Service Credit Union, your entire course fee goes toward Vital Communities’ Green Real Estate Program, which provides free resources and direct support for you and your clients year-round.

Questions? Contact Sarah Brock at sarah@vitalcommunities.org or 802-291-9100 x109

Bringing ‘Visions of a Better World’ to Your Community

Join Vital Communities for a community discussion on “Visions of a Better World: Social Movements for Transformation.” We will consider how millions of people across the U.S. and around the world, stirred by visions of a better world, are daring to rethink and reinvent institutions on local, regional, national and international levels. Often unnoticed by the mainstream media, they are establishing new possibilities in the shadow of dysfunctional and collapsing systems.


Historian/educator Ron Miller, coordinator of the Woodstock Learning Lab, provides an overview of these diverse new visions, including movements and concepts such as the “new economy,” agroecology, permaculture, transition towns, food sovereignty, relocalization, reclaiming the commons, Slow Food and Slow Money, and others. This presentation and conversation will discuss the key concepts, leading thinkers, and origins of these evolutionary trends.

Join us for a vital dialogue that digs into the contemporary shifting landscape of our time. Thursday November 8, 5:30–7:30 pm at Vital Communities, White River Junction.

Vital Communities on NHPR’s “The Exchange”

GoingLocal_1Did you catch us recently on New Hampshire Public Radio’s weekday call-in show “The Exchange“? Their ‘Going Local‘ series explores the different regions of the state, and in early August they focused on the Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee region (the New Hampshire side of the Upper Valley!).

Vital Communities was honored to have Energy Program Manager Sarah Brock join as a panelist, along with Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin, Lebanon Planning and Zoning Director David Brooks, and Valley News Reporter Tim Camerato. They talked about everything from traffic congestion on Route 120 to a bi-state parade from Orford to Fairlee—give it a listen!

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

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!

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.

Beyond Energy: 10th Annual Energy Roundtable

Come ready to be refreshed and inspired by our annual gathering of town energy committee members and others interested in local energy action!

The 10th Annual Upper Valley Energy Committee Roundtable is coming right up on Wednesday, May 17, from 5-8 pm at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Porter Community Room. Learn more and register.

This year’s agenda:

5:00 – Dinner and Conversation

5:30 – Welcome and Introductions

5:40 – Roundtable Updates – 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 – “Beyond Energy” Panel and Discussion – Together we’ll explore how energy committees are making an impact in broad community sustainability and resilience. Energy committees aren’t just about energy use anymore! Guest speakers include Leigh Cameron, New England Grassroots Environment Fund and Sally Miller, Sustainable Woodstock.

8:00 – Clean up and go home

This event is FREE thanks to our sponsors:

 

NEGEF logo_on_clear LymeGreenHeatInc_Logo_NoBackground
Peachtree BElogoCMYKee_logo_vert ReVision Logo HI-RES
       IntegrityEnergy SunCommonLogo VFI Catamount logo 480410 cmyk
solar source logo MontpelierConstructionLogoGreenLanternLogo2

 

1 2