Vermont community partnerships: next level energy savings

by Liz Gamache, Director of Efficiency Vermont

Last week I had the pleasure of spending a day meeting with local businesses and community leaders in Barre. I was there to learn more about the community and how Efficiency Vermont, as the statewide energy efficiency utility, can help Barre accomplish its energy goals. It was a fantastic day with a lot of learning, listening, and excitement for what the people of Barre and Efficiency Vermont can achieve together.

I heard and saw lots of enthusiasm and engagement at the local level. I was able to go on a downtown walking tour with members of The Barre Partnership, a local non-profit committed to fostering a vibrant Downtown Barre. I was struck by all the hard work and great thinking that has gone into improving Barre’s downtown, including energy improvements of course! 

Barre has already made significant investments in energy efficiency since 2010. The city’s electricity usage has been reduced by 8 percent and Barre taxpayers have saved approximately $70,000 on energy costs. I heard from municipal leaders, business owners, and the people of Barre about how Efficiency Vermont can continue to help them keep up the great work. A meeting with the  Barre City Energy Committee was informative and it was wonderful to hear their great ideas and their enthusiasm for energy efficiency. Many thanks to the energy committee for co-sponsoring our public workshop “Do Cold Climate Heat Pumps Make Sense for You?” And a big thanks to Phil Cecchini and Elaine Wang of the energy committee for helping to organize in Barre.

Throughout my day I was delighted to hear folks talk about the value of energy efficiency in their lives. Efficiency Vermont will continue to be instrumental in helping people in Barre achieve energy savings, cost savings, and to help them take actions on energy efficiency they wouldn't otherwise be able to do.

I truly believe that energy efficiency is powered by people, not substations and transmission lines—and we really got to see that at work in Barre. I am in Springfield today and will travel to Newport later this month. I hope to visit as many Vermont towns as possible throughout the remainder of the year and into 2016. 

We’re gathering input from community leaders that will help design future programs and services. I invite any municipal officials to give Efficiency Vermont a call at 1-888-921-5990 if they would like to coordinate a community visit in their town.

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