Our Energy Program
In 2010, the SWCRPC established an Energy Program to promote energy efficiency and conservation, supported by ARRA grants through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Vermont Department of Public Service. Our Energy Program is comprised of a multi-part strategy that seeks to:
- Identify and pursue opportunities for energy efficiency at the municipal and county government level that can be quickly and efficiently implemented;
- Establish regional and municipal policy that will result in long-term and systemic changes in how energy is generated and used throughout southern Windsor County; and,
- Provide extensive educational outreach that will encourage increased energy efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through sound land use planning, energy conservation, alternative energies, and energy efficiency upgrades.
Also included are the following activities:
Integrated Planning – SWCRPC staff will develop a regional baseline energy study to evaluate municipal energy use, including electricity, heating and vehicle fuel use and costs. Staff will also update our Regional Plan to promote energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle miles traveled. The SWCRPC will also develop model policy and regulatory language, and provide technical assistance incorporating the model language into town plans and zoning, subdivision and transportation regulations.
Transportation Program Analysis – This activity involves conducting an inventory of traffic signals and a regional park and ride needs assessment. A municipal fuel usage study will be included in the regional baseline energy study.
2010 Park and Ride Needs Assessment (for the 2012 addendum see the Transportation Page)
Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Public Buildings – The SWCRPC will hire one or more qualified energy auditors to complete 10 to 15 audits of municipal or county buildings (see the nomination letter & form below). The SWCRPC will also help to pay for energy efficiency upgrades, including the purchase of lighting fixtures or bulbs (LED, CFL or T8 fluorescent upgrades), occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats or similar supplies for small upgrades.
Public Education and Outreach – The SWCRPC’s outreach efforts will include educational meetings and support for Local Energy Committees, regional workshops for municipal officials and general public, and developing educational materials, including brochures, newsletters and websites.
Traffic Signal Retrofits – The SWCRPC will purchase LED bulbs to retrofit existing municipal traffic signals.
The SWCRPC Board of Commissioners created a regional Energy Committee to guide our energy planning program. The Energy Committee serves as an advisory group providing input and policy recommendations to the Board of Commissioners on pertinent energy issues. The Committee will also help to identify and implement energy audits and efficiency upgrades for municipal and county buildings.
The Energy Committee’s purpose is to develop and assist with Southern Windsor County Planning Commission’s energy planning program, to act as a liaison between local communities and the various stakeholders in energy planning, and to provide local and regional input regarding energy issues important to the region. The Energy Committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Commissioners.
Vermont “Renewable Energy Atlas”
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF), in conjunction with the Vermont Center for Geographic Information and Fountains Spatial, Inc., announced the launch of The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont, a state-of-the-art GIS-based web application that identifies, analyzes, and visualizes existing and promising locations for renewable energy projects.
“The Renewable Energy Atlas of Vermont will be an important tool in helping us all to consider the responsible energy options when thinking about our renewable energy future.” – U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy
The Atlas is the first tool of its kind in the United States to enable users to choose their town or county and then select from a suite of renewable energy options including biomass, efficiency, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar and wind. With a click of the mouse, users can map their selection.
Existing and potential renewable energy sites, renewable energy installers and consultants will appear on the map, and an analysis panel will summarize the results. The simple to use web application can be accessed anywhere and users can save their maps and analyses as unique URLs or export them to a PDF document.
The Atlas can be viewed and used at: http://www.vsjf.org/resources/renewable-energy-atlas
Efficiency Vermont Efficiency Vermont has a range of incentive programs for improving both electrical and thermal efficiency. www.efficiencyvermont.com
Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund The goal of the Fund is to increase the development and deployment of cost-effective and environmentally sustainable electric power resources- primarily with respect to renewable energy resources, and the use of combined heat and power technologies- in Vermont. www.publicservice.vermont.gov/energy/ee_cleanenergyfund.html
Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network VECAN helps start and support town energy and climate action committees in their efforts to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance renewable energy projects. www.vecan.net
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) is a mission-driven nonprofit organization, founded in 1986, that is dedicated to reducing the economic, social, and environmental costs of energy consumption through cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. www.veic.org/index.aspx
Guide to Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Financing Districts for Local Governments Preparded by Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) A guide on how to launch a PACE program in your community. http://rael.berkeley.edu/node/446
Clean Energy Funding Guide Book: Understanding Vermont’s Clean Energy Resources. Prepared by Vermont Public Interest Research Group. Identifies resources and funding sources for business, local governments and citizens. www.vpirg.org/cleanenergyguide
Guide to Improving Energy Efficiency in Vermont Municipalities Prepared by Paul Markowitz, VT Chapter Sierra Club. Includes info about building support, walk through assessments and energy efficiency resources and funding.
Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Historic Preservation: A Guide for preservationists, local energy committees and homeowners regarding energy efficiency in historic homes and buildings.
Clean Energy Assessment District (CEAD) / Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program