Save Energy and Lower Greenhouse Gases With Your Phone This Summer

Here’s some information from Generation 180 about their Keep It Cool Campaign, an easy way to help save energy and lower carbon footprints:
Keep it Cool Open Shop Sign

Keep It Cool is a simple campaign by Generation 180 with a huge potential impact: it focuses on stopping the energy waste caused by storefront doors staying open while the A/C is running. Although already illegal in places like New York City, this behavior is common around the country, and collectively it adds up to enormous amounts of wasted electricity and associated pollution.

Generation 180 is a non-profit committed to advancing the transition to clean energy and supporting a cultural shift in energy awareness.

Why the big fuss?

A small action—as simple as closing a door—can not only prevent waste and pollution; it can spread the idea that energy is a resource that we should consume responsibly.

You can be a part of crowd-solving this problem (and it’s really simple):

The Problem

Each store with an open door wastes 4,200 kWh of electricity over the summer.
Generating 4,200 kWh of electricity releases significant pollution (CO2 + SO 2 + Nox + PM)
The pollution released is equivalent to that of a semi-truck driving from NY to Miami (200 gal of diesel).

How Our Campaign Works

On hot days, take notice of retailers’ front doors and send us (Generation 180) store locations via Facebook Messenger (read how to or watch a video)—either to recognize a store for keeping its door closed, or to flag a store that needs a friendly reminder to conserve energy.
For stores with doors that are kept closed, Generation 180 will send them an affirmation for their energy-conscious behavior and place a pin on our campaign map that promotes their location. We will reach out to remind retailers with their doors open to close their door to conserve energy.

Every retailer that Generation 180 contacts will be invited to join our campaign. As retailers commit to keep their doors closed, we’ll recognize them on our map.

Check the map periodically to watch the progress of the Keep It Cool project as it spreads across your community—and across the country.

DIY air sealing, smart power strips, and appliance rebates from Efficiency Vermont

Happy New Year, Sustainable Willistonians:  Have you been getting this excellent newsletter from Efficiency Vermont???
The beginning of this month's Efficiency Vermont newsletter

The beginning of this month’s Efficiency Vermont newsletter

Their current offering includes:

Congress Extends Tax Credits for Renewable Energy, but Green Mountain Power Reaches Net Metering Cap

Solar panels

There’s good news, good news, bad news, and (UPDATE) more good news for some Vermonters who want to participate in generating renewable energy. The good news is very good news: Congress has extended federal tax credits for new renewable energy installations, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and marine power (tidal generators, for instance–see April Fool’s Day post here), with solar and wind credits extending right out to 2020. This means that manufacturers, installers, homeowners, businesses, and communities can move forward with renewable energy plans without worrying whether or not tax credits will apply, and that makes a big difference in the numbers.

Read more about this at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/renewables-boom-expected-thanks-to-tax-credit

The other good news is that Vermont has added new solar generation capacity so quickly, several Vermont utilities have already met their net metering goals. This is also, unfortunately, the bad news, because it means that under normal circumstances, Green Mountain Power customers wouldn’t be able to add new net-metered solar. That doesn’t mean the power wouldn’t be useful, but it would take away the huge advantage to everyone of making that solar power available through the grid and being paid a price for it that takes into account the additional value of non-fossil fuel generation. However, here’s an UPDATE from Green Mountain Power:

we [have] proposed to the Public Service Board … a limited strategic extension of net metering, and as part of it will continue to allow rooftop solar. We have also proposed having community projects for folks who can’t go solar …

So that’s good news for Green Mountain Power customers. The problem remains, unfortunately, for Vermont Electric Co-op and Hardwick Electric customers, as these two companies have also reached their caps and unlike GMP have not (to the best of my knowledge) made the additional effort to work around the net metering cap. Williston’s electric customers are about evenly split, geographically, between Green Mountain Power in the north part of town and Vermont Electric Co-op in the south part of town.

This problem will continue until net metering caps are raised; let’s hope that’s soon!

Read more about the net metering cap at http://vtdigger.org/2015/11/10/green-mountain-power-poised-to-top-net-metering-cap/.

Scott Gardner Presents on Reducing Home Energy Costs September 14th

Scott Gardner of Building EnergyOn Monday, September 14, at 7:00 PM, Scott Gardner of Building Energy in Williston will offer a video presentation demonstrating ways homeowners can significantly reduce their home energy costs through insulation, weatherization and the use of cold weather heat pumps. The event, part of Sustainable Williston’s Sustainable Energy Series at the Dorothy Alling Library, will explain the benefits of a home energy audit to assess your home’s current energy consumption and to find ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency through a whole-home approach.

The presentation will include a video on heat pumps, hands on demonstrations, and a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be served.

Scott Gardner, founder of Building Energy, has been building and remodeling energy efficient homes and businesses in the Northeast for more than thirty years. He has national training and has earned certification in sound building practices and energy conservation technologies.

cold climate heat pumpSustainable Williston is a grassroots community group working on issues like water quality, climate change, and bike paths. Previous Sustainable Energy Series events have covered solar panels, electric vehicles, and more.

How Much Do You Know About Wind Power?

The U.S. Department of Energy has a new quiz out that will challenge your knowledge of wind power and bring you up to date on some new and unexpected information, like how next-generation wind turbines will make a lot more wind power available, even in places that currently wouldn’t be considered good possibilities for wind.

electricity-generating "wind engine" from 1887

electricity-generating “wind engine” from 1887

My favorite factoid, and a surprising one to me:

Wind energy is now the cheapest form of power, with new power purchase agreements in 2014 averaging a record-low 2.35 cents per kilowatt-hour.

I got a 7 out of 13, and I felt like I was doing pretty well, considering! Hopefully you can beat that score. Check out the quiz at http://energy.gov/articles/quiz-test-your-wind-energy-iq.

Waterbury LEAP Energy Fair Saturday

Waterbury LEAP

Waterbury Local Energy Action Partnership will hold its 9th LEAP ENERGY FAIR
Saturday, April 11, 2015

9 AM – 3 PM    Event is FREE!
Crossett Brook Middle School Gym, Duxbury, VT

TOUR 75 exhibits and talk with dozens of experts about energy audits, solar power, heat pumps, weatherization, geothermal, biomass, pellet stoves and much more

LEARN how to reduce fuel bills, save energy and shrink emissions

PARTICIPATE  in break-out discussions on: Sustainable Transportation; Air & Ground Source Heat Pumps; Going Solar; and Weatherization.

KIDS can enjoy a free show by Marko the Magician at 11AM

FREE electronics recycling onsite

The Fair draws 700 attendees and exhibit space sells out every year. Local green energy companies that would like to exhibit at the LEAP Energy Fair are encouraged to contact Ned Houston as soon as possible at hesplanning@aol.com.  Hosted by the volunteers of Waterbury LEAP.  Visit www.waterburyleap.org for more details.

Efficiency Vermont Community Forums

Here’s an announcement from Efficiency Vermont, our state efficiency utility, which is tasked with helping improve energy availability in Vermont through improving energy efficiency. The most convenient event for most Williston residents will probably be the Richmond forum.

Community Forums December 2014
Please join Efficiency Vermont Director Jim Merriam at a Community Forum in your region. We are creating a three year plan for Vermont’s Energy Efficiency Utility – and we want your input:

  • What programs and initiatives are working well? What needs improvement?
  • What should our top priorities be for the next three years?
  • How can we better serve all Vermonters and help them reduce energy costs?
  • What should we be doing to support the state’s goal for 90% renewable energy by 2050?

Each forum will feature a brief presentation, followed by open discussion. A light supper will be provided.

Those who are interested in attending should RSVP by visiting www.efficiencyvermont.com/communityforums or calling: 1 (888) 921-5990

RSVP is requested, but not required.

December 10th: Richmond
December 11th: Brandon

For location details, please visit www.efficiencyvermont.com/communityforums

Can’t make one of the forums, but still want to provide feedback? View our forum presentation and read Jim’s blog post outlining our current plans, then submit an online survey to let us know what you think.

We hope to see you there!