Meeting minutes May 26, 2010

Attending: Janice Kurkoski, Brian Nugent, Tom Rich, Cathy Stanton

Green Communities
Several area towns have been designated as Green Communities by the state, including Athol, Greenfield, and Montague. The competitive process of applying for funding is now beginning.

Town Energy Committees
Athol: Town officials are promoting the idea of installing a PV panel to offset the cost of one of the town water pumps. The energy committee is not fully in favor of this proposal, which doesn’t follow the “conservation, then efficiency, then renewables” mantra. Instead, some committee members would like to see the town buy more energy-efficient pumps, set up towers to measure wind potential, and perhaps also hire a coordinator to oversee an energy-audit and efficiency-improvement promotion program in the town. We talked about the issues involved for public officials who must be seen to be doing something visible about energy issues, which may be at odds with the subtler realities of actually improving efficiency through conservation.
Warwick: Janice has made graphs for the town newsletter and other venues showing the dramatic (62%) drop in oil use in the town hall since the committee sealed and weatherized the building (50% of this was from before the insulation was actually added). The town meeting approved an energy audit for the school, which has been the toughest issue to solve in the town buildings. The town meeting also voted to replace the roof of the town hall and to add a 1KW PV system that will offset some of the electrical use in the building. A new challenge is to help the highway department manager find new ways to heat the equipment shed. The committee is going to set up a Mass. Energy Insight tracking system to help monitor and document energy use in more detail in town-owned buildings.
Phillipston: A new wind turbine at Narragansett High School is scheduled to come online soon. Power generated by the turbine will be routed through the Templeton Municipal Light and Water Plant.

Newspaper articles
We are continuing to think about possible newspaper article topics, something we will brainstorm more about at our next meeting. We generated some potential column ideas and will keep working on this.

Garlic and Arts Festival
The list of presenters is almost finalized. Saturday will include speakers on biochar and other topics; Sunday will focus on buildings and construction. Sean Jeffords of Beyond Green Construction will talk about deep energy retrofits. Peter Talmadge will return as a speaker. Cozy Home Performance will also make a presentation.
We will schedule our “Take a Winsert Home” workshop for shortly after the festival, so we can publicize it there. Janice suggested linking the workshop with the 350.org’s 10-10-10 (Oct. 10, 2010) day of action in some way.

Other business
Janice is requesting information from National Grid for all nine North Quabbin towns about average electricity use per household. We may use this to develop a baseline body of data that could be helpful in encouraging people to look more closely at how much electricity they’re using and to compare it to see where they are in the local range of use.

Next meeting
Wednesday, June 30 at Millers River Environmental Center
We will have a potluck dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a meeting.

Back to North Quabbin Energy home.

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