Minutes of Oct. 14, 2009 meeting

Attending: Neil Anders, Hal Gillam, John Jackson, Janice Kurkorski, Pat Larson, Brian Nugent, Linda Paquet, Tom Rich, Cathy Stanton

Brian is doing winsert workshops at Wheeler Library in Orange on the third Saturday of each month, October through February, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Greenworks for North Quabbin is holding a symposium on Oct. 21-23

CET is holding a Greening Your Community meeting for municipalities on Oct. 29, 8 a.m. to noon, in South Hadley.

Janice pointed out that there was a good editorial in the new issue of Northeast Sun by Fred Unger, commenting on the Waxman Markey bill.

We have about $110 in our treasury, along with a considerable collection of winsert-making materials (foam, plastic, tape, and some wood).

Overall, we felt that this was a good weekend and would definitely want to be involved again. The table was not as busy as in the previous couple of years (weather was not as good, particularly on Saturday), but we had many interesting and in-depth conversations, including some that were opppositional but productive. Brian noted that many of the people he talked to about winserts thought that just installing replacement windows would solve all their window/insulation problems. The presentations in the tent were quite well attended, with between 9 and 18 people per presentation on Saturday and 20-40 on Sunday. Steve and Janice are definitely planning to offer the presentations again, and welcome new ideas for speakers or topics before May.

We’ve had a request to support a ballot initiative effort that redefines biomass plants for purposes of funding with public investment money. The new language would require that energy-producers be defined in terms of their carbon emissions, rather than certifying biomass plants as automatically “green” and able to receive funding as such. We read the ballot initiative and found the wording extremely hard to understand, which made us reluctant to take this up as a project (how can we promote something that people aren’t able to grasp?) although we support the initiative in principle and will continue to raise questions about biomass where appropriate.

We talked briefly about our idea for a possible “neighbor-to-neighbor” weatherizing project, similar to what HEET does in Cambridge with their “Weatherization Barn-Raisings.”

We scheduled a gathering at Cathy’s house (1141 Chestnut Street, Athol) on Dec. 5 to begin thinking about this in relation to an actual home, and will try to find other buildings that we might practice on. It wil be important to get figures for energy use before and after weatherizing, to track the effectiveness of what we’re doing. This may be something that we can do in partnership with Neil’s infrared diagnostic business.

Neil will check to see whether we can make copies of the Larry Harmon DVD on residential retrofits and circulate it (for example, to libraries, interested homeowners, etc.).

We talked about a possible date for getting people from the existing and new town energy committees in the region (North Quabbin towns + possibly Barre and Shutesbury) together. The format would likely be a panel discussion with brief presentations by members of the established committees to highlight what they’ve done so far. A broader agenda would be generated by new people’s specific concerns or questions. We talked about possible venues and other people who should be invited (for example, representatives from FRCOG, since they are giving technical assistance on the “Green Communities” collaboration). Hal will work with Pat to get lists of all the committees, and Pat will contact people individually to invite them. Linda will help with food. Cathy will work on making contacts within committees who may want to share our web space or link in some way with our website so we can publicize what they’re doing.

We agreed that the basic agenda format should look something like this:

1. getting started/lessons learned – report from panel of “veterans”
2. ideas about how to build momentum
3. ideas about how to sustain effort
4. collaborating regionally – FRCOG
5. time at end for networking

Our event for the October 24 worldwide “350” effort will be a walk from the Athol Town Hall to the Orange Town Hall between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., rain or shine. Cathy will send a press release out and make a poster that we can send as a PDF to our list. It sounds as though we have at least half a dozen people committed to being there.

Next meeting:
Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m., Cathy Stanton’s house (1141 Chestnut Street, Athol) followed by potluck lunch at noon.

Back to North Quabbin Energy home.


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