Our Work

Town Energy Committee Work Gathers Momentum

December 12, 2007

VNRC’s work to start and strengthen town energy and climate action committees gained great momentum last Thursday evening. With our partners in the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, VNRC convened nearly 70 Vermonters representing energy committees and organizations across Vermont to network, share stories and consider collaborative opportunities to tackle the energy and climate change challenges before us.

Over 30 town energy committees were represented at the ‘Roundtable,” along with over a dozen different resource organizations. The gathering was a tangible – and inspiring – example of the power of grassroots efforts to foster positive change. These committees are advancing efforts – from successful town-wide compact fluorescent lightbulb change-outs to no-idling campaigns, and from local renewable energy projects to innovative bike-share initiatives.

Committees efforts’ are resulting in real energy savings and carbon emission reductions. And their positive, proactive, locally-led approach is a model that is resonating with more and more people.

Energy committees in Vermont are catching on like wild fire. Almost a dozen communities launched energy and climate action committees in 2007. These nearly all-volunteer committees are charging forward with campaigns, plans and initiatives to save energy, generate green supplies and reduce their community’s greenhouse gas contributions to global warming.

As a partner in VECAN, VNRC has been working hard to seed and strengthen this burgeoning model. Our long-term goal is to establish a committee in every Vermont town by 2012. Last week’s ‘roundtable’ event that VECAN partners convened make that daunting goal seem a little more plausible. That’s because the expertise, enthusiasm and innovation of dedicated committee members will make that possible. And by serving as a resource ‘hub’ for committees, where people working on the ground in Middlebury, for instance, can share strategies and tools with folks undertaking efforts in Bradford, VECAN partners have a tremendous opportunity to help build this grassroots movement.

The model is working, but there’s lots more to do.

VNRC is working hard with our partners in the network to create a web site that will serve as a clearinghouse of information for committees, offering resources and strategies on efficiency, conservation, renewables, transportation, land use, “relocalization” efforts, education, and so much more. Up-to-date information about what other Vermont committees are doing – and contact information for those leading the charge – will also be available. Stay tuned for the launch of the VECAN web site, anticipated to “go live,” in January.

For more information about VECAN, the web site, town energy committee efforts or to find out about starting a committee in your community, contact Johanna Miller at 802-223-2328 ext. 112 or email jmiller@vnrc.org. Or, download VECAN’s ‘Town Energy and Climate Action Guide’ – a 101 on how to start a committee in your community.