HEARD ON THE STREET: 10.6.16

Net Zero Home Tour Planned For October 8

MONTPELIER — The Energy Advisory Committee is hosting the first “Towards Net Zero Home Tour” on October 8 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The public is invited to explore the energy-saving and renewable energy investments of 14 happy homeowners generously participating in the tour. Learn how different Montpelier families have taken steps to stop wasting energy, reduce their fossil fuel consumption, invest in renewable energy — and how it’s saving them money.

Homes will showcase solar photovoltaics, cold climate heat pumps (for heating and cooling a home), pellet boilers, weatherization solutions, solar hot water and much more. At each home, the homeowner(s) can talk about the improvements they have made, explain how it has helped them save energy and answer questions. There is a wide diversity of homes on the tour, including tiny, super-insulated houses, older, weatherized homes, homes with solar photovoltaics and solar hot water and homes with pellet and cordwood boilers that are reducing fossil fuel use.

Pick up a map at the Montpelier Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The map will show you all the locations on the tour. People can visit just one, or set out to see them all. Pick a route and take the tour in whatever order you prefer. Please aim to take the tour on foot or by bike, as parking is limited at many of the homes on the tour. Cider, apples and donuts will be provided at each home. This tour is organized by the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee, an all-volunteer, council appointed committee of Montpelier residents helping the city attain its goal of becoming “Net Zero” by 2030. This ambitious and important goal aims to transform our energy system to ensure Montpelier has a secure, affordable, sustainable, reliable and renewably powered energy future — and it will require all people to participate  (free of charge). Find out far more and learn how you can participate in this important effort at: netzeromontpelier.org. For more information, email netzeromontpelier@gmail.com.

City Invests In Solar Power

MONTPELIER — Partnering with Novus, a local firm specializing in solar powered energy projects, the City of Montpelier has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement for municipal electrical use.

In September, the first 500KW array located in Sharon came on line and the power produced is shared by the city and the school district.  A second 500KW array will be built off Log Road in Montpelier. Still in the permitting phase, this project will come on line in the fall of 2017. One hundred percent of the energy produced from the second array will help to offset municipal power consumption.

Over the 20 year contracts, these two solar arrays combined will save the city and schools approximately $50,000 per year, and provide about 55 percent of the city’s total municipal electrical usage, according to a press release submitted by Kate Stephenson, Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee chair.

“This is a great step forward in the city’s efforts to become the first Net Zero state capital,” said Mayor John Hollar.  “My thanks to the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee and city staff for negotiating these agreements. I look forward to the Montpelier-based array off of Log Road.”

City To Form New Development Corporation

MONTPELIER — City Council will take up the formation of the Montpelier Development Corporation, it was recently discussed at a recent Montpelier Business Association meeting.   

“The Montpelier Development Corporation will be an independent 501 (c)(3) entity with its own nine-member board of directors and presumably its own executive director,” according to City Manager William Fraser in an email to The Bridge.  “They will  contract with the city for economic development work.”   Fraser went on to explain that the development corporation will have a “completely different role and authority (under the development corporation statute) than the city government.  It will not be an instrument of the city nor controlled by the city. The city will provide funding for specific tasks (as contracted) and can withhold funding at their discretion. Conversely, Montpelier Development Corporation could raise funds from other sources (grants, development deals, contributions) and operate with no city funding.”

The development corporation and Montpelier Alive will appoint four of the original board members and city council will appoint five of the original board members. After that the board , itself, will appoint its own members.

Officials are looking for people to join the board of this independent nonprofit.  The posting is here: http://www.montpelier-vt.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=99

Living “Another Way”

This story was as told to writer Jessica Neary by Seth Collins, a 40-year-old self-described “psych survivor.”  He is also a 7th-generation Vermonter from a sheep-farming family in Duxbury.Seth  lives in Montpelier.

MONTPELIER — At 125 Barre St. there is a community center founded by psych survivors.  “Another Way,” as a sign affixed to the front of the building announces, is an alternative to Washington County Mental Health’s services. Another Way does not advocate pharmaceuticals to alleviate mental illness. Its business name is Green Mountain Support Group.

In its time it has taken on the task of housing those in need. The center is overwhelmed, however, because of a constant influx of shelter-seekers. The Barre shelter is constantly overflowing, staggering under the weight of our local domestic refugee crisis.  Eventually people find their way to Montpelier, and to Another Way itself.

Another Way was founded on  principles of personal autonomy and self-determination. Lacking local government support, “Another Way” receives private funding to provide a safe place for those with mental health challenges who choose to eschew medication.  The center has a piano, a kitchen for Friday night meals,  coffee anytime and job and peer counselors on staff to help clients integrate into society.  Drug  and alcohol use are prohibited on the premises, thus also providing a refuge for those with addiction/alcohol issues or dual diagnoses.

Another Way is the sole place in Montpelier where the homeless may take a shower for free.

Net Zero Vermont Design Competition

From left to right: At an October 2 opening reception and preview of Net Zero Vermont’s “Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition” — Dan Jones, Anne Watson and Becky Wigg, take a close look at one of the many design competition entries. The preview and opening reception took place as a pop-up gallery at 60 Main St. in downtown Montpelier. Montpelier residents, workers and visitors have been voting to select their top five concepts for the future of Vermont’s capital. Voting started on October 5.  The professionals who submitted the top five concepts will be invited to develop more comprehensive design proposals and these proposals will be on exhibit in Montpelier in early December. Dan Jones is Managing Director of Net Zero Vermont.  Anne Watson is a Montpelier city councilor. Becky Wigg is a member of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee and on the staff of the Montpelier-based Regulatory Assistance Project.

From left to right: At an October 2 opening reception and preview of Net Zero Vermont’s “Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition” — Dan Jones, Anne Watson and Becky Wigg, take a close look at one of the many design competition entries. The preview and opening reception took place as a pop-up gallery at 60 Main St. in downtown Montpelier. Montpelier residents, workers and visitors have been voting to select their top five concepts for the future of Vermont’s capital. Voting started on October 5. The professionals who submitted the top five concepts will be invited to develop more comprehensive design proposals and these proposals will be on exhibit in Montpelier in early December. Dan Jones is Managing Director of Net Zero Vermont. Anne Watson is a Montpelier city councilor. Becky Wigg is a member of the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee and on the staff of the Montpelier-based Regulatory Assistance Project.

montpelierparking_color-np-print

This rendering of downtown Montpelier highlights in red the amount of downtown Montpelier real estate devoted to parking vehicles. Clearly the preponderance of downtown Montpelier real estate is devoted to parking vehicles. According to the Net Zero Vermont website, “The bulk of this land is State of Vermont owned and a couple of parking lots are privately owned. Simply put, the most valuable and easily buildable land in the city is largely committed to parking.” As part of its invitation to professionals to submit designs in the “Sustainable Montpelier 2030 Design Competition” the website explained the problem facing Montpelier. “Montpelier has set a goal of becoming carbon-neutral (net zero) by 2030. A net zero community uses as little carbon-based fuels as possible … This goal can be achieved with massive energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy development.” The Net Zero website went on to call for a dramatically modernized transportation system and a fresh design approach to downtown Montpelier with a need to replace automobiles and expand the density of downtown building space.

Cosi Fan Tutte at Plainfield Opera House

PLAINFIELD — Echo Valley Community Arts will be presenting Mozart’s lively comedic opera “Cosi Fan Tutte” at The Plainfield Opera House October 14–16 and the 21–23. Directed by Naomi Flanders and Music Director Mary Jane Austin, the opera will be sung in English and set in the year 1969.

The cast is comprised of Vermont opera singers: Lillian Broderick, Kevin Ginter, Annalise Shelmandine, Mark Boutwell, Meghan McCormack and Marek Pyka. For more information go to echovalleycommunityarts.com. For reservations you can email Naomi Flanders: naomiflanders@gmail.com or call 225-6471.

Announcement from Grateful Yoga

MONTPELIER — Grateful Yoga will be offering a six-week series of  “LoveYourBrain” (LYB) classes beginning on October 12 and running through November 16.

Classes are Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at 15 State St. (Montpelier). LYB classes are being offered free of charge to anyone who has experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The classes are also being offered free to TBI caregivers.

Classes are being made available through the help and generosity of the LoveYourBrain Foundation.

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