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Energy Committee Minutes

Energy Committee Minutes, 03.23.2023

Energy Committee Meeting
6:00 pm Thursday, March 23rd, 2023

Call to order: 6:12

Energy Committee Members Present: Nancy, Chris, Gary, Anne (absent: Jen)

Recognition of Public: none

Old Business/Business at Hand:

  • Free University results of poll – Jen organized a poll to gain interest in learning about various environmental and energy-related topics. Support for these types of educational events is provided by one of the sections of the MERP grant program. Following are the results of Jen’s poll:

First tier (all receiving over 30 votes)
Edible, Native & Pollinator Gardens – 43
Solar Panels – 35
Heat Pumps – 31
Modern Wood Heating – 31

Second tier (all receiving around 20 votes)
Air/Heat Exchangers – 23
Weatherization – 21
Green Building Standards – 21
Electricity Offsets – 18
Electric Vehicles – 18

There were three topics that got 6 or fewer votes – Heat Transfer, Smart Technology, and Green House Gas Emissions

  • Grants received and in progress
    A total of $6,200 has been received to date.

Section #3 of the MERP grant (support for Municipal building audits) The application has been distributed. Jen has reviewed and sent a number of questions to Cathi. She answered some off the top of her head and must look up others when she returns from a trip on April 5th. When that info is obtained, Jen will finish the application, return to Cathi for editing, circulate to the rest of the committee for comment, and then submit. Margo (Regional contact) knows this timeline. Most likely point of the Grant will be to support the audit or plans’ evaluation for the library project. Efficiency Vermont should be involved at the very beginning of the audit process in insure best chance of EVT support for the Library project.  Another option is to request a grant to support an educational seminar on various topics by professionals in their field (e.g., proper use of wood stove, stacking wood, etc.).

E-Bike Grant ($2,900 +/-) – Money is in hand (Town of Guilford); Chris is searching for bikes; just need to narrow down on logistics of how to pay (check via PayPal?) to buy bikes on-line ($800 – $1,500). On line bikes are significantly cheaper than local sources, though local sources will service bikes that have been bought elsewhere. Will be able to store bikes behind Library (Recreation Commission storage). The desire is to have the Rec Commission manage the E-Bike program.  Still considering logistics of how the rental procedure will work (e.g., limited to one day?, overnight?).  Additional items needing purchase (in addition to those costs covered by the Grant) include helmets, bike locks and possibly lights and reflective vests, if after daylight rentals are anticipated.  The bikes have an average full battery life of 40 miles.  Chris will verify with Town best way to pay for these. Since Rec Commission will hopefully be managing the program, the Energy Committee will provide recommendations as to how best to manage the program.  More than likely, the E-Bike program will be mutually managed by the Library and the Rec Commission. Energy Committee members will consult with the other Town parties to finalize logistical details.  As a side note, Chris said there are approximately 25 towns that received grants under this program, several of which were specifically for E-Bikes. There may be value in learning from and sharing with these other towns as we ramp up this program.

Energy Committee Assistance Grant (Energize Vermont) $500 for subsidizing window inserts for low-income Guilfordites via the Window Dressers program.  The grant monies will be provided directly to WD for them to use as they see fit.  Nancy will follow up with Energize Vermont to see if they have preferences for how we use the monies.

$1,700 from Gro Grant (from NE Grassroots Fund)  Funds are with the Town of Guilford to hold for use in supporting and subsidizing assistance from WR Career Center, specifically to offset costs of future WD activities and inserts.

ARPA Grant – $1,000 is approved by the Select Board (as suggested by the ARPA Committee) to offset costs of window inserts for the library.

Efficiency Vermont (EVT) grant application – Nancy confirms it’s still pending review and approval from EVT.

Future Grant ideas: Possibly set up a revolving loan fund for various energy efficiency efforts (e.g., down payment for heat pumps, partial reimbursement for insulating and air sealing). Should look at the VSECU/Efficiency Vermont energy efficiency loan fund program.

New Business:

  • Proposal for Guilford Fair: Provide information to the public on grant and loan sources that individuals can apply for. (E.g., VSECU)
  • Committee Protocol – Nancy will check with the Town office to see timing and protocol for meeting warnings and other public meeting requirements.
  • Energy Committee present to SelectBoard on March 27thChris agreed to represent our committee to bring the SelectBoard up to speed.

Schedule Next Meeting: Thursday April 27th, 2023

Close of Meeting: Meeting adjourned at 7:06

Energy Committee Minutes, 02.20.2023

Energy Committee Meeting Notes
6:00 pm Monday, February 20, 2023

Call to order: 6:06pm

Energy Committee Members Present: Nancy, Chris, Jen, Anne, Gary, Anne, Jen

Recognition of Public: none

Old Business:

  • E-Bike Grant
    The Selectboard approved the project and opened the door to receive grant monies after concerns over impact to Town’s liability insurance were noted to be minimal, and part of the grant funding over the first two years of the program. Total 2-year project costs are just over $2,900, which is the full grant award, so no cost to the Town. There was a small contingent of the Guilford public who oppose the project, but no rationale was offered as to the negative impacts to the Guilford community.

    The project budget developed by Chris includes an estimated cost for storage. If Recreation Club provides storage, the budget could be expanded over a longer period without an increase in the current budget. Other items included are nominal increase in Town’s liability insurance, and the purchase of helmets and safety vests. 

    We discussed that we’ll need to purchase bike locks, but headlamps are currently not anticipated to be necessary as bike usage will most likely be during daylight hours.

    Next Steps:
    Chris will reach out to the Rec Club to see if they can store the bikes. He’ll also see if the Club can take over the permanent ownership of the program, which would be a logical next step while demonstrating a great example of community collaboration.

    Not sure if grant providers will require an ongoing accounting of the use of the grant funds, but consensus in the Committee is it would be a good idea to provide proactive project updates to the Town and the grantor organization.

    The Committee agreed that purchasing (2) two step-thru bike models will be of the most utility to the diverse Guilford community.

New Business:

  • MERP (Municipal Energy Resilience Program) 
    This is a Vermont state grant program that is just ramping up in early 2023 and has for separate grant categories. 
    1. Municipal Building Audits: This is the most nearterm component of grant funding that we’ll need to focus on in the coming months.  We determined that the Library is the only and best Town-owned building that could benefit from this program. The goal for the Committee is to receive approval from the Selectboard to apply for the grant to support the Town Library. If approved, the audit could serve as a transition project to reducing the Library’s use of fossil fuels. The final audit could also be instrumental in the future Library project to receive additional funds from Efficiency Vermont to support building improvements. This audit would serve as a “baseline” for current energy usage, which Efficiency Vermont requires in order to verify energy savings due to future upgrades.  Applications for this grant category will become available in early March.
    2. Community Capacity Building – This category supports the increase of the Town’s ability to support a wide range of energy efficiency activities.  Including but not limited to: hiring grant writers, organizing and convening public meetings to discuss energy efficiency efforts and opportunities, etc.
    3. Building Renovation Projects – This supports projects targeted specifical at upgrading buildings to reduce the usage of fossil fuels. Grant amounts up to $500, 000 will become available, but this component won’t become available for at least 2-years. Discussion focused on the potential for this grant to support the Library project, in particular components that are focused on energy efficiency. This could ideally help offset the direct costs to Town.
    4. MERP Fund Prioritization – The grants under this category are a set aside for Vermont towns that are shown to have the highest energy burden. Due to recent influx of wealthy residents to Guilford, we’re considered less energy burdened, on a townwide basis, than many other Vermont towns.  This component of the grant program will evolve over the next few years, so details will clarify over time.

The opportunity for applying for the Library audit grant funds should be brought to the Selectboard ASAP for their approval.

Jenn will be the front end liaison with the MERP process (grantors) until she leaves in May/June.

  • Efficiency Vermont (EVT) grant application 

This grant provides support for Vermont communities who have been involved, or will be involved, with the Window Dressers’ program. Nancy applied for $4,000 in funds to support window inserts for low-income Guilford residents. EVT acknowledged receipt of Nancy’s application and it is pending review and approval.

  • Guilford Free University – March 11th, 2023

This is a partial day event (12:30 to 6:00, with a 6:00-8:00 potluck and social time)

Jenn submitted our desire to sign up for a booth for the full event, and we received approval.

We’ll have various educational materials and demonstration items (science-fair type demonstrations). Included in our goals to have a light bulb and metering demonstration showing the difference in energy usage between incandescent/CFL and LED light bulbs; a solar PV demonstration module; a Window Dressers mock and a facts/figures display showing the positive impact of the Window Dressers program to date for Guilford.

Other additions to the Energy Committee’s booth may be added, with a focus on attracting the younger crowd of Guilford citizens.

Schedule Next Meeting: Thursday March 16th, 2023

Close of Meeting: Meeting adjourned at 7:01 pm.

Energy Committee Minutes, 01.26.2023

Town of Guilford
Energy Committee Meeting Notes

6:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2023

Call to order: 6:07
Energy Committee Members Present: Nancy, Gary, Anne, Jen (absent Chris)
Recognition of Public: none

Updates & Discussion:

Member Updates– General

Goodbye and thanks to Jen? 

!! Moving out of town to Pennsylvania . .. all ready! Leaving sometime between May and August. We’re sorry to see you go. We’ll expect you to remain on the committee via Zoom and remote advocacy!-) Jen will be here at least until our April meeting. Jen is still on board until her departure to continue working with us on projects/initiatives that are in the pipeline or vaguely on the horizon.

E-Bikes grant & project

In the absence of Chris, several questions remain. Apparently, EBike rental won’t notably impact the Town’s liability insurance. But this is unclear. Open questions as to purchasing bikes and where to store them. Chris has apparently reached out to Brooks library and spoke with Tony Duncan (Bratt. Energy Committee). We will hopefully get updates from him on what he found.

Legislative update

Ann listened in on a presentation from the Vermont Legislature with VPIRG presenting information on clean energy initiatives in the State, but doesn’t have specific details to relay. Possibly some information on transportation alternatives and Clean Energy standards, in part regarding New England states needing to increase their development of in-State renewable resources. Vermont is lagging in this metric. Ann will send a link to the presentation for those who want to listen to it. It’s apparently a very interesting presentation.

Act 172 is a State program. Municipal Energy Resilience Grant Program. Needs a Guilford resident to represent (as a contact) for applications. Not sure if this Act has passed the legislative process at this point. Nancy will keep a pulse on the status and progress of this opportunity.

Window Dressers- Plans for 2023 Build

Nancy has requested a “build” time period for early October 2023. 

WD requests that towns attempt to provide their own subsidies in order for WD to continue to afford providing some free inserts.

Nancy tried to organize a February build in association with HATCH Space. Hatch was going to provide the space as well as a few of their own volunteers to help out. They also were anticipating developing the own set of jigs for the build process.

   New England Grassroots Environmental Grant (GROW) – $1,700

ARPA Grant ($1,000) specifically for subsiding the library inserts.

Finally, another grant for the E-Bikes ($2,179) was awarded by the    Vermont Council for Rural Development, Climate Catalyst Innovation fund.

Other business:

Jen:  Mini-grants to be distributed to Towns and want them to be distributed by Town Meeting Day 2023. $4,000 for education and audits for town’s municipal facilities. (Jen’s more detailed notes are in Addendum at end of minutes)

Ann: VNRC has a program for an on-line presentation hosted by VCAN for a community -led resilient hubs. It will occur 12:00 on Wednesday, February 1st. Here’s a link for more information:

Schedule Next Meeting: Thursday February 23, 2023

Close of Meeting: Meeting adjourned at 6:51 

Addendum: Notes from webinars attended by Jen regarding Act 172 and transportion initiatives

From: Jennifer McDuffie <>
Date: Wed, Dec 14, 2022 at 6:54 PM
Subject: Re: You’re invited: 2022 VECAN Conference
To: Sara Coffey <>
Cc: Nancy Detra <>, Ann Zimmerman <>, Thayer Tomlinson <>

Hi all,

I attended the two webinars I said I would. Here are a few notes. If I got anything wrong – everyone talked so fast and used so many acronyms! – please, correct me. 🙂

Tuesday: Act 172 Speakers were Senator Sibilia, Commissioner Fitch, BGS Program Manager Brian Sewell, and Bennington RPC member Jim Sullivan

1. This act is about making municipal buildings more efficient with the exception of schools. (That’s OK for us. Guilford doesn’t own the elementary school anyway.)

2. There are grants from BGS (Department of Buildings & Services) Matches are not required

3. MERP is Municipal Energy Resilience Program and totals 45 million in one-time funding. 

4. MELP is Municipal Energy Loan Program and totals 2.8 million in revolving loan funds

5. Goals are:

* to have municipalities do energy audits on all buildings. If an audit has already been done, they (BGS) will do an “audit light” based on how old the audit is and how extensive it was. 

* to provide up to $4000/municipality for education (what IS energy efficiency, what does it look like in our town, etc.)

 * to provide up to $500,000/municipality for energy resilience projects

6. Timeline is complete assessments by 1/15/24, BUT: have grants obligated by 12/31/24 BUT THEY WANT THE $4000 MINI_GRANTS DISTRIBUTED BY TOWN MEETING DAY 2023!!! expend grants by 12/31/26

7. towns are encouraged to work with their RPC to do audits, fill out grant aps; RPC will then coordinate with BGS & Efficiency VT

8. the state is prioritizing areas with the highest energy burden and the lowest resources (I was not sure what this meant but there was a map with each county (?) shaded according to where it fell on this)

9. money applies only to existing buildings NOT the construction of new buildings (like the new library wing we want 🙁  )

Wednesday, Transportation – I did not follow this as closely because most of the speakers directed their comments toward places much larger than Guildford that already had at least some infrastructure in place. Listening to them, I felt like I was back in Durham talking about places as big as Burlington, Middlebury, etc. 

However, they talked about 4 areas:

1. Community Assessment (Transportation Surveys) 

2. Zoning (which doesn’t exist in Guilford, but they greatly encouraged towns to zone for land use)

3. Multimodal Transportation Planning, which doesn’t really apply to us either

4. Microtransit, which MIGHT apply to us (the “town van” idea) the presenter gave the example of a service started in Windsor (3600 people in 20 sq mi and has the local hospital)

I asked WHAT from all of this might apply to a town as small and rural as ours (about half the density of  Windsor spread over twice the area) and the suggestion was a Transportation Survey for what that is worth.

Hope folks find any of that helpful!