I officially became a member of our town’s energy committee this week! Well… an alternate member, but that’s a good start.
This was the same week as the yearly meeting for the region’s energy committees to get together and share ideas on how to help our towns set goals and raise awareness of energy usage, conservation and sustainability issues.
About 15 or 16 towns were represented at this meeting and each had a chance to describe the kinds of things they are working on or have accomplished. Then we broke out into 5 groups to spend a little more time in discussion. It was a fun brainstorming session and a good way for a newcomers to begin to understand the policy side of energy issues.
Here are some of the things that towns are working on in the Upper Valley of NH and VT:
- Energy fares; sustainability fares; solar fests — these are fun days or week long events designed to provide education and resources to residents who want to learn about everything from alternative energy to creating self-sustaining communities.
- “Button Up” days to help people specifically with weatherization issues. These were popular in Oct/Nov and are being planned in many towns for next Oct/Nov.
- Taking Inventory of town energy usage. There are some great templates for towns getting started in this documentation process. The hard part is actually collecting all the energy numbers associated with town building, streetlights, town vehicle usage. Many people get started with the energystar portfolio manager; others like STOCC (small town carbon calculator). Taking inventory provides the first step toward writing grants or applying for funds.
- Plans for energy audits of one or more municipal buildings.
- Public transportation, car-pooling and ride sharing programs
- Promotion of local farms, farm sharing, farmer’s markets
- A few towns are pursuing the ‘Transition Town’ model, with a goal to become self-sufficient within the town or small region, and not rely on imported products from fuels to foods.
Lots of fun discussions.
Here are some urls that came out of this meeting. Most are based in NH but the ideas and concepts are useful in towns all across America (and beyond):
If you are involved in your local town or city energy commissions or committees, what kinds of things have you been doing?