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.

 

 

Energy Leaders – Register Now: Vermont’s Energy Transformation

Calling all community energy leaders: VECAN’s 8th Annual Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Conference is coming right up!

December 5, 2015 – 9 am to 5 pm
Lake Morey Inn – Fairlee, Vermont

REGISTER TODAY! This inspiring conference emphasizes clean energy and climate action strategies that Vermonters can help implement locally — and beyond. Find out far more and register.

The theme of the day is: A Common Agenda: Transforming Vermont’s Energy Future. The day is aimed at supporting and growing the statewide network of town energy committees and building the capacity and expertise of any Vermonter interested in helping the state meet its ambitious but essential goal of getting 90 percent of our energy in 2050 through renewable sources.

Workshops range from seizing solar in 2016 to the legislative look forward, from pioneering rural transportation solutions to measuring, assessing, and prioritizing energy action – and many more timely, informative sessions. Each workshop is aimed at building the expertise and capacity of grassroots energy leaders…and building the kind of broad, diverse public support for needed energy and climate action.

The keynote is can’t miss! Richard Heinberg – a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute – will keynote the conference. Mr. Heinberg is a widely regarded author, educator and energy and peak oil expert. He has authored scores of essays and articles that have appeared in such journals as Nature, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review, The Ecologist, The Futurist, European Business Review, Yes! and The Sun; and on web sites such as Resilience.org, Alternet.org and Counterpunch.com.

The conference also offers unparalleled networking opportunities, both with local energy leaders and Vermont’s leading clean energy businesses, organizations, institutions and state agency partners who generously help make this day possible.

Register today. Early registration prices end November 22!

For more information, contact Ben Civiletti, AmeriCorps Member, Community Energy and Climate Action Coordinator, VECAN and VNRC
: 802-223-2328 ext. 118 – bciviletti@vnrc.org

Presentation: Animals of the North & Climate Change

Kids and the curious of all ages won’t want to miss wildlife expert Sue Morse’s program, Animals of the North & Climate Change.

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2 pm
Trumbull Hall, Etna

Sue’s knowledge and intimate photographic images of the wildlife of northern New England are legendary. Free and open to the public. Info:etna.library@hanovernh.org

Co-sponsored with the Etna Library, the Hanover Conservancy, and Sierra Club Upper Valley Group.

Winter is Coming! Is Your Home Ready?

Winter is coming! Is your home ready?

Come to Hanover’s Button Up Workshop

Thursday, October 22, 7 to 9 pm

at R. W. Black Center, Hanover

PRESENTER: Andy Duncan, Energy Training Manager

  • Learn techniques to lower home energy costs.
  • Find out about NH incentives for making efficiency improvements.
  • Demo LED lighting; free LED bulb to first 30 households signing in.

http://hanovernh.org/Pages/HanoverNH_BComm/shc/buttonup

Sponsored by Sustainable Hanover

Educational Forum: Natural Gas in the Upper Valley

Our Climate and Energy Future: Is the Proposed Lebanon/Hanover Gas Depot and Pipeline System a Bridge or a Barrier to a Clean Energy Future? 

What:   Educational Panel and Forum

When:  Wednesday,  October 21,  7-9 pm

Where: Howe Library,  Mayer Room

This event will explore:

  • The proposed liquid natural gas plan and what it means for the Upper Valley
  • Whether natural gas is a bridge or a barrier to renewables
  • Dartmouth College’s course to renewable energy
  • Possible pathways for Hanover and Lebanon to become 100% fossil-fuel free by 2050

Panelists:

Lee Oxenham, NH State Representative

Rosi Kerr, Director of Sustainability at Dartmouth College

John Langhus, Independent Energy Consultant

Kate Epsen, Executive Director of the NH Sustainable Energy Association

To learn more or get involved, email energy.climate.uv@gmail.com or join the Facebook group Energy and Climate–Upper Valley.

Note: This forum is not organized by Vital Communities.

Webinar: Launch Your Own Solarize Campaign

As the final round of Solarize Upper Valley wraps up, residents around the region have a new opportunity to get involved.

On October 14, Vital Communities along with the New Hampshire Local Energy Working group is offering a free webinar: Launch Your Own Solarize Campaign.

After two years of experience coordinating Solarize campaigns in the Upper Valley, Vital Communities has created a comprehensive toolkit with timelines, templates, and examples to help any community Solarize. Vital Communities’ own Sarah Simonds will walk participants through the online Solarize Toolkit and offer tips on where to start and what to expect. Solarize volunteer Peter LaBelle of Cavendish, Vt., will share his experience helping to lead his community’s recent campaign.

The webinar runs from noon to 1 pm Wednesday, October 14. Learn more and register.

Toolkit for Strategic Local Energy Action

Wish your energy committee could make more of an impact in your community? Is your committee struggling to identify your next project or getting too bogged down in planning?

Our recent webinar introduces the Local Energy Work Group’s Strategic Energy Action Toolkit, aimed at helping energy committees combine the right balance of strategy and action for maximum impact and success. Hear from the Vital Communities, a key developer of the toolkit, as well as from energy committees that are already using it to guide their work. You’ll also learn about how to get a copy of the toolkit, participate in trainings, and access other resources for local energy groups.

View the webinar: Strategic Energy Action Toolkit – Increase the Effectiveness of Your Local Energy Group

Did You Miss Our Solarize Webinar?

Did you miss our Solarize webinar?

Good news: You can see what you missed in a video on the New Hampshire Local Energy Solutions website!

Solarize Upper Valley has helped residents in 24 towns go solar – over 300 residents to date, and over 450 expected by the end of the year. What’s the secret to success? Find out by watching the webinar recording. You’ll hear from Vital Communities, as well as the volunteer-installer team who brought Solarize to Randolph, Brookfield, and Braintree, Vermont, last winter. Many communities are launching Solarize campaigns across the Northeast—yours could be next!

Influence Vermont’s Energy Future

The Vermont Public Service Department is holding a series of four public forums around the state to solicit Vermonters’ thoughts on how the state can meet its energy goals – and energy needs – in the coming years. The input will inform the next revision of Vermont’s long-range Comprehensive Energy Plan. A final plan is due to the Legislature in December.

“In 2011, Vermont established a widely supported goal of getting 90% of our energy from renewable sources by 2050. Now, we want to hear more from Vermonters on how they think we should prioritize possible pathways and tools to meet this important goal,” said PSD Director of Energy Policy and Planning Asa Hopkins.

The state plan, which was last updated in 2011, will also incorporate some of the findings of the Total Energy Study completed by the PSD last year. One of the PSD’s goals for the updated plan is to establish nearer-term targets that balance technology constraints, cost, carbon considerations and community concerns.

The forums run from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. (Refreshments start at 5:30 and the official program starts at 6.)

Dates and locations for the regional forums include:

  • July 9 – Woodstock (Billings Farm and Museum)
  • July 16 – Middlebury (Town Hall Theater)
  • July 20 – Manchester (Manchester Community Library)
  • July 23 – St Albans (Bellows Free Academy)

The PSD is soliciting public, expert, and stakeholder input until July 24, 2015. For more information on the CEP and to comment, visit http://www.energyplan.vt.gov or contact VECAN Coordinator Johanna Miller at 802-223-2328 ext. 112 or jmiller@vnrc.org.