2018 Year in Review

The Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee was founded in 2010 to act in an advisory capacity to the City Council on energy issues.  MEAC identifies and nurtures potential energy saving projects and opportunities; informing and engaging city residents on energy issues; and partnering with other statewide groups to foster projects that reduce Montpelier’s energy use or help to meet its energy needs from renewables. MEAC is also a lead partner in the Net Zero Montpelier initiative. MEAC meets in City Hall's Memorial Room on the third Tuesday of every month at 7 pm and the public is welcome to attend.

In 2018, MEAC’s accomplishments have included:

Weatherize Montpelier – Partnered with four local weatherization contractors to provide 63 Montpelier residents with free walk-throughs of their home and quotes on weatherization work. Montpelier's Weatherize campaign was based on a similar program in the Upper Valley coordinated by Vital Communities. With their help, MEAC was able to quickly get a campaign up and running in Montpelier, collaborating with four local weatherization contractors (Building Energy, Montpelier Construction, WARM and Energy Smart) to conduct walk-throughs of homes and provide participants with a proposal for work, information about incentives available through Efficiency Vermont and options for financing the renovations. Green Mountain Power also partnered on the Weatherize Montpelier campaign, providing Nest Thermostat door prizes at the kickoff event, and a $500 cash prize to the winner of a drawing (all participants who signed a contract for work by May 31st were entered into a drawing for the prize). At least 15 homeowners signed contracts for weatherization work as a result of the campaign.

Retro-Commissioning – As a follow-up to energy audits of municipal buildings completed in 2017, MEAC worked to coordinate the initial feasibility phase of retro-commissioning the fire station’s snowmelt system, the district heat loop summer operation, and the water treatment plant. These reviews, primarily focused on existing HVAC systems, were conducted by Cx Associates and funded by Efficiency Vermont. Based on recommendations from the reports, MEAC has been working with Facilities Project Manager Steve Twombly to plan repairs and improvements to the fire station and city hall heat loops which have the potential to save a significant amount of energy.

Feel Good Heat – MEAC partnered with the Northern Forest Center on a Feel Good Heat campaign to promote advanced wood heat to Montpelier home and business owners.

Revolving Loan Fund – The purpose of the Net Zero Revolving Loan Fund is to capture and track savings from sustainability projects and to utilize part of those savings for subsequent projects. In addition to funding stand-alone energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, the City can also use the fund to pay the marginal costs of energy improvements within larger capital projects. Since the City created the Revolving Loan Fund in 2016, MEAC has been working to identify appropriate energy-saving projects. The first project was the installation of a capacitor at the water treatment plant. In Fall 2018, three additional projects were approved: Replacement of interior storm windows at DPW ($1,600); Weatherization and air sealing of windows in City Hall and replacement of missing/broken interior storms on stained glass windows ($6,500); Replacement of house lights in City Hall theater with LED bulbs ($4,900). Additional projects are pending for the Fire Station and City Hall.

Organics to Energy – MEAC was closely involved in the development of the $16.75 million Organics to Energy upgrade at the Water Resource Recovery Facility, which is scheduled to start in spring 2019. This project involved over two years of meetings and project development with city staff and Energy Systems Group, the design-build contractor. As a result, the City’s wastewater treatment system will be able to process additional organic waste from the region, and have the capability to produce biogas from that waste that will be used to heat the WRRF buildings as well as in the future provide biogas for heating, electricity generation or transportation uses. Since the WRRF is the largest energy user of all the City’s departments, these savings will have a major impact on overall municipal energy use once the project is completed, eliminating over 10,000 gallons a year of oil used for heating.

Biodiesel Workshop – In October, MEAC hosted a free public workshop for individuals interested in learning more about using biodiesel for home heating fuel. The committee has also been exploring the opportunities for use of biodiesel in the municipal fleet and buildings.

Municipal Energy Tracking – Since FY11, MEAC has been tracking the city’s municipal energy use for vehicles, heating and electricity as well as overall greenhouse gas emissions from municipal sources. Since FY11 the City has seen significant reduction in fossil fuel use for heating (mainly due to District Heat and efficiency upgrades) as well as increased use of renewable electricity.

Net Zero Goal – MEAC worked with Council to clarify the City’s Net Zero 2030 goal as: Montpelier defines the City’s Net Zero Goal as:

  • Montpelier is committed to becoming the first capital city to eliminate fossil fuel use by converting to 100% renewable energy.

  • By 2030, 100% of the energy used for municipal government operations (thermal, electrical, and transportation) will be renewable or offset.  

  • By 2050, fossil fuel use will be eliminated entirely and 100% of energy needs (municipal, residential, and commercial) will be met renewably.

MEAC Members (as of December 2018):

Barbara Conrey, Member
Dan Costin, Member
Donald de Voil, Member
Jared Duval, Member
Amy Gamble, Member
Karl Johnson, Member
Dan Jones, Member
Ken Jones, Member
Paul Markowitz, Member
Barry McPhee, Member
Johanna Miller, Member
Kate Stephenson, Chair
Anne Watson, Council representative

Kate StephensonComment