Weatherization Open House in Waterbury
On January 21 LEAP co-sponsored a half-day weatherization open house event that allowed local residents to tour a local home that had received an energy audit and had undertaken various weatherization upgrades that reduced air leakage by 49% and significantly reduced fuel bills as well. Dozens of visitors learned first-hand many ways they could tighten their own homes and save money. LEAP co-sponsored this event with Efficiency Vermont and Sisler Builders, the local company that completed the audit and the weatherization upgrade. The event included a video presentation, interactive displays, a Q&A session, refreshments and activities for kids, and a raffle of energy-efficient products and services that included a free home energy audit. Each attendee received a $150 coupon that could be redeemed upon completion of a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR home improvement project.
Waterbury Flood Recovery Efforts
On August 28, 2011 Waterbury suffered $10 Million in damages from flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. Almost 250 buildings experienced measurable damage, and many became uninhabitable. Throughout the flood recovery process LEAP helped provide residents and business owners with information about weatherization, energy efficient building practices, and energy efficient appliances. FEMA guided Waterbury through a Long-Term Community Recovery process, and LEAP members are very involved in developing a vision and plan for Waterbury regarding energy, efficiency and transportation issues.
6th LEAP Energy Fair
On Saturday, April 14 from 9 AM to 2 PM the 6th LEAP Energy Fair took place at the Crossett Brook Middle School (CBMS) gym in Duxbury, VT. This year’s event attracted more than 70 exhibitors and more than 500 attendees making it one of the largest such events in Vermont. The fair was free and offered attendees the opportunity to tour displays and talk with dozens of experts about solar power, wind power, pellet stoves, geothermal, biomass, green building, carpooling, home energy audits, and many other topics. Many people enjoyed informative breakout sessions, and the LEAP Energy Fair was attended by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who gave the LEAP Green Community Award to CBMS student Alexa Widschwenter for her work to encourage fellow students to use reusable bags instead of ziplock bags. This project helped eliminate thousands of bags from the waste stream.
Waterbury/Duxbury Solar Year
At the 6th LEAP Energy Fair we announced the kickoff of the Waterbury/Duxbury Solar Year. The goal of this ambitious initiative is to double the number of solar sites in those two towns between the 6th LEAP Energy Fair and the 7th LEAP Energy Fair. LEAP members have been helping to encourage our neighbors to adopt solar by writing articles for the Waterbury Record, providing information on our website regarding 9 local solar providers and their services, distributing material at the Waterbury Farmer’s Market and in local stores, and holding the 1st LEAP Solar Fest and a Business Solar Workshop (see below).
1st LEAP Solar Fest
This event was held on Tuesday, July 24 from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at Crossett Brook Middle School cafeteria as part of the Waterbury/Duxbury Solar Year (see above). The event included live music by Matt Schrag, free pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and exhibits by many local solar installers. More than 110 attendees gathered information about solar power, heard from some of their neighbors who had already gone solar, and saw photos of more than 50 local solar installations.
Lighting Upgrade Project at the Ice Center
With financial support from LEAP (thanks to a grant from VECAN), the Ice Center in Waterbury replaced eight exterior parking lot pole lights which will increase light output for safety and decrease energy use. They moved from a 400-watt metal halide light bulbs to a 110-watt LED light bulbs. The Ice Center is a year-round facility open until 11:00 pm most nights, especially in the winter. The parking lot lights in the past have been too dim and very high in energy usage. This change will allow the Ice Center to have longer-lasting, more energy-efficient bulbs.
4th and 5th Waterbury Bike, Walk & Breakfasts
In 2012 Waterbury in Motion (a LEAP bike/pedestrian advocacy program) hosted our 4th and 5th Waterbury Bike, Walk & Breakfast events (June 3 & October 7) for a total of almost 200 participants. Adults, children, and dogs met at Rusty Parker Park at 8:00 AM. One group headed off on an easy 5-mile, family-friendly bike ride, and another group took a leisurely 2-mile walk (including baby-strollers). At 9 :00 AM everyone returned to the Rusty Parker Park gazebo for a delicious free breakfast provided by Waterbury in Motion.
Waterbury in Motion Trail Project
Thanks to a grant from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Waterbury in Motion completed its first trail project. Waterbury in Motion volunteers, with help from Cross Vermont Trails, improved and and extended the trail that runs behind the Waterbury State Complex. The trail was graded, drainage was improved, more than 120 trees were planted, and benches and signs were added. Almost 50 volunteers worked on the project during several volunteer work days in 2011 and 2012. Many thanks to Greg Western from Cross Vermont Trails for his help on this project.
LEAP member Brian Woods served on a review committee that reviewed bids from around the country and helped VTrans select a new web-based platform for the Go Vermont carpooling site (www.connectingcommuters.org). VTrans expects to have the new platform up and running before the end of 2012. The next step will be the development of a Waterbury-centric rideshare site that would be hosted on this new platform. LEAP continues to explore how we may help encourage increased carpooling and carsharing in Waterbury and surrounding communities.
LEAP continues identifying verifiable measures to allow us to track our town’s progress across a number of criteria and to create a town-wide energy inventory. The matrix LEAP developed thanks to Jamie Ervin will be refined and then provided to town energy committees across the state.
CLiF continues to work with local Crossett Brook Middle School and Harwood Union High School students to circulate TED energy monitors among local businesses and schools to allow people become more aware of their energy consumption and help them make their buildings more energy efficient.
Waterbury Municipal Solar Project
Led by members Jamie Ervin, and Alan and Lincoln Pierce, LEAP has been encouraging the town of Waterbury to consider developing on town land a solar orchard that would be large enough to generate enough electricity to meet the current needs of all the town’s municipal buildings. LEAP members have worked with solar experts and installers to get all the necessary data and information to the Waterbury Selectboard and the municipal staff so they can make an informed decision. This effort is part of the Waterbury/Duxbury Solar Year.
Waterbury Community Energy Project
LEAP members Luke Shullenberger, Katherine Vose, and James Jennings have been putting together a proposal for a public/private entity that might develop a community district heating system that would use renewable energy to heat the Waterbury State Complex as well as a variety of buildings in Waterbury. District heating has the potential to lower energy bills and ensure long-term price stability. The fuel for the energy plant would come from the heating plant at the state complex and local sources. This exciting project is still under consideration, and further information is being gathered. Many local companies and organizations have already expressed interest in the possibility of participating in the project.
Harwood Whole School Challenge
Harwood Union High School is one of ten Vermont schools participating in the 2012-2013 Whole School Challenge. During this one school year Harwood students and teachers will strive to reduce their overall energy use by 10%. LEAP volunteers are assisting the Harwood community in a variety of ways with this exciting initiative. The Whole School Challenge is sponsored by Efficiency Vermont, the Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP), and the Vermont Superintendents Association’s School Energy Management Program (SEMP).
Business Solar Workshop
On October 24 local business owners will gather at Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Waterbury to lean more about the financial advantages of going solar. Solar installers, and local businesses that have already experienced the benefits of going solar will be represented. Jeff Forward of Forward Thinking Consultants will talk about what’s involved for a business to go solar. This LEAP event is part of the Waterbury/Duxbury Solar Year activities.