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