Four Vermont downtowns to be focus of energy ‘blitz’

Burlington, VT

Four Vermont state-designated downtowns will participate in a pilot program from Efficiency Vermont and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) that aims to integrate sustainable energy solutions with downtown revitalization efforts.

The goal of this effort is to bring energy efficiency to the forefront of community awareness as a resource that can help designated downtown property owners create savings for their economies for years to come. Participating downtowns will have increased access to experts from both Efficiency Vermont and DHCD to help leverage funding opportunities and technical expertise available from both organizations.

The program will focus on two towns in the first half of 2016 and an additional two towns in the second half of the year in order to concentrate resources and deliver the deepest benefit possible, in the following order:

2016 Pilot Designated Downtowns:

  • Bennington
  • Randolph
  • Barre
  • Hartford/White River Junction

Vermont’s downtowns are where we come together to live, work and play and there are so many ways to save energy. This program is all about uncovering these opportunities and connecting local communities with the technical and financial resources available through Efficiency Vermont and DHCD, said Liz Gamache, Director of Efficiency Vermont. This is going to be a valuable partnership and a chance for these communities to make big strides toward having more vital downtowns.

This partnership is a win-win for our environment and our economy, said DHCD Commissioner, Noelle MacKay. By paring Efficiency Vermont’s services and incentives with the state’s revitalization tax credits and grants, we can make our historic downtowns stronger with brighter and safer streets and more energy efficient buildings.

One of the most effective ways to help businesses increase their bottom line and create new jobs is by helping them cut their operating expenses, said Patricia Moulton, Secretary Agency of Commerce and Community Development. We look forward to expanding this partnership with Efficiency Vermont so more of Vermont’s downtown businesses and property owners can reduce their energy costs and become more profitable.

Towns responded to a Request for Interest issued by Efficiency Vermont and DHCD in late 2015. The two organizations will meet with each town to “kick off” local projects, which include establishing energy goals and developing strategies to achieve those goals.

Examples of the kinds of projects that could result from the downtown initiative include new small business energy upgrades, residential home consultations, municipal building energy improvements, large industrial customer energy efficiency retrofits, high efficiency LED streetlight conversions, and wastewater treatment plant improvements. Services will be available to all customer types, including residential customers, large commercial and industrial customer, small and medium businesses, municipal governments, schools, churches and others.

About Efficiency Vermont

Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and is regulated by the Vermont Public Utility Commission to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com

About The Department of Housing and Community Development

The Department of Housing and Community Development works throughout the state to bring resources like tax credits and grants, as well as training and technical services to help state-designated communities revitalize historic community centers and build strong communities. For more information about this program, contact Gary Holloway, Downtown Program Coordinator at 802-828-3220 or visit http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/revitalization/downtown

Efficiency Vermont
Alayna Howard
Phone: (802) 540-7656
press@veic.org