Stowe has joined more than 100 other Vermont communities forming an official town energy committee.
These committees help their communities cut energy costs, foster renewable energy, and lessen global warming.
In February, the Stowe Select Board agreed to form the committee, proposed by several longtime residents who wanted the town to pursue its energy plan and the town and residents reduce energy use, save money and explore opportunities for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy.
“Building upon the work done by the Stowe Climate Action Network several years ago, we felt it was important to develop a standing committee under the guidance of the town to increase public awareness of energy and climate issues and to bring to the forefront the need to actively plan and build public support for energy efficiency and sustainable energy policies,” said Catherine Crawley, who will chair the committee.
In early March, six Stowe residents were appointed to the committee — Crawley, Elizabeth Soper (vice chair), Marina Meerburg, Rick Weinstein, Sarah Evans and Cap Chenoweth. Since the coronavirus hit, the committee has been meeting online to develop a strategy to move forward.
Using the Stowe Town Energy Plan, which was adopted in 2018 and certified in 2019, the committee is exploring possible recommendations to the select board for town policy on energy-related matters and for support of community education.
“One of the first steps we are taking is to help residents better understand what the key energy and climate issues are, and some of the actions they can take to reduce energy use and explore more efficient energy options,” said Soper, vice chair of the committee. “There are amazing incentives out there through Efficiency Vermont and the Stowe Electric Department and other local utilities to help residents save money, reduce carbon emissions, and improve home comfort.”
Among them, she said, are weatherization, advanced heating options, and efficient appliances such as heat pumps and water heaters, electric lawn mowers and electric vehicles.
To help the committee’s work, Crawley is one of 10 people selected for the Vermont Council of Rural Development’s new Climate Catalysts Community Leadership program. The program brings individuals together from communities across Vermont to help develop climate solutions and actions at the local level.
Currently, the Stowe Energy Committee meets the last Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. The meetings will be online for the foreseeable future, but the public is encouraged to participate and attend via Zoom. Information for these meetings is posted by the town and appears in the Stowe Reporter one week before each monthly meeting. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.