Local Energy Solutions E-News
Turning Ideas into Action
February 2016

February Highlight: 
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
In December leaders from 195 countries arrived in Paris, the "City of Light", with plans in hand for their countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The U.S. came with the EPA Clean Power Plan, which calls for reducing emissions 32 percent by 2030.  What does this have to do with your town?  A great deal, because the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is central to New Hampshire's compliance with the Clean Power Plan.  RGGI provides $2 million annually to support town and school energy efficiency projects in New Hampshire. Eligibility does require local funding too. 

Your town may be able to act now for smaller projects, but for larger efficiency projects and for renewable energy projects you may need to go to town meeting.  The  NH Energy Project Calendar by design guides members of a local energy commission for the advancement of an energy-related project(s) at a traditional March town meeting. Good energy projects not only mean your town can become a "City of LED Light", they ensure local control when it comes to reducing carbon pollution - and saving your town money. 

Net Metering Update from NHSEA
SB333, a bill to lift NH's net metering cap from 50 MW to 75 MW and then send net metering to the PUC for a rate proceeding, passed the full Senate on 2/4. The bill will now go to the House. 
A   hearing on the House twin bill to SB 333, HB 1116 (same text as SB333) is scheduled for a hearing this Friday 2/12 at 10:00 in the Legislative Office Building, Room 304.  If your town is considering a solar energy or small hydro project, please consider attending this hearing to testify to the value of net metering to your town or project. If the cap does not get raised most projects will be unable to move forward. You can also reach out to the House Energy Committee members by emailing them at HouseScienceTechnologyandEnergy@leg.state.nh.us or email Kate Epsen at kate@nhsea.org with any questions about the bill or the process.  

LES Webinar Tommorrow!
RGGI Funds for Municipalities
The How and Why of Using Proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to Reduce Your Town & School Energy Costs
February 10, 2016 from noon - 1 p.m.

The state legislature saw to it that $2 million is allocated annually to town and school energy efficiency projects from the New Hampshire Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative proceeds. Changes may be in store for this allocation, meaning good news for local governments. Join this webinar to get a brief background on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; legislation this year and what it might mean for local governments, and how to access the funding for your local government project.  As a bonus, while energy projects will reduce operations costs attendees will learn the connection your town may have to the climate agreement struck in Paris last December.

Presenters: 
  • Jim O'Brien, The Nature Conservancy
  • Tom Belaire, Eversource Energy Efficiency Services

Annoucements
ME & NH Communities Collaborating to Build A Climate to Thrive

In January, Hollis Energy Committee's Venu Rao joined Mount Desert Island (MDI) for A Climate to Thrive kick-off event as they begin their journey to energy independence.

A Climate to Thrive is an initiative of the MDI Climate Solutions Group to help the island community become energy independent by 2030. 

Despite their distance, Bar Harbor, ME and Hollis, NH are  building the foundation for collaboration as they work together to share strategies, successes, and inspiration as they move forward on their common goals towards greater sustainability for their communities.



The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire Announces Annual Conservation Awards Recipients 
On January 29, 2016, The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire announced the recipients of its 2015 awards for conservation excellence. The Conservancy presents these awards annually to recognize individuals, organizations and agencies that have made remarkable contributions to the Conservancy's work and to conservation in New Hampshire. 

One of the recipients includes the LES Work Group Member, the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association!  
From The Nature Conservancy:

CONSERVATION PARTNER
This award is given annually to one entity that has worked collaboratively and effectively with The Nature Conservancy, and in doing so has demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving safeguarding important resources.


The New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association (NHSEA) has become the go-to leader in the state on advancing clean and renewable energy policy.  Over the past few years, NHSEA and the Conservancy have partnered on a number of legislative accomplishments, including preserving the Renewable Energy Fund and building better and more effective communication and messaging on important energy issues.  NHSEA and the Conservancy have built a true partnership--working together to bring the business and economic case, as well as the environmental benefits of action on clean energy issues, to decision makers and the public.  Speaking together, our voices on energy issues can reach the diverse set of audiences that will need to be engaged in order to move forward on solutions to address climate change.



COVER Home Repair seeking Executive Director
COVER is seeking a dynamic, community-oriented leader to grow its impact and take up its mission of fostering hope and building community while completing urgently needed home repairs for low-income homeowners in the Upper Valley of VT and NH, including dozens of weatherization projects. Homeowners work alongside volunteers and staff on Home Repair projects and the ReCOVER Store is a gathering place and homebuilding resource for people of all backgrounds. Position description and application instructions available at coverhomerepair.org .

Upcoming Events
Green Eggs & New HAMpshire Environmental Policy Breakfast 
February 16, 2016 at 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord
Please join NH's environmental community on February 16th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord for our 9th Annual Environmental Policy Breakfast - a news-making, thought-provoking morning, and the greenest event of the year.  Questions? Contact Event Co-Chairs Jim O'Brien (jim_obrien@tnc.org) or Susan Arnold (sarnold@outdoors.org).  The event is free but please register here.

Spring 2016 Building Operator Certification
The Spring 2016  Building Operator Certification  course runs 8 full-day Fridays from Feb. 19 - May 20.  Join NH's other commercial and industrial facility managers who are reducing energy costs in their buildings.  NH's regulated energy utilities will provide a 50% tuition award to eligible participants.  Find out more about  BOC at LRCC , or see the  LRCC Energy Calendar  for registration details.

Curious About Solar? Part II 
Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Solar but Were Afraid to Ask.
Thursday March 3, 2016, doors open at 6:30 p.m.  
Hills Memorial Library, 18 Library Street, Hudson, NH
Presented by Chris Milner, an expert on solar energy for the home owner, including state rebates and federal tax credits. Representatives from the Hudson Inspectional Services department will discuss regulations, permits, and inspections. For information and optional registration, contact: HudsonSustainability@gmail.com

BPI Building Analyst Course
LRCC will hold its  BPI Building Analyst  course over 7 Thursdays and Fridays starting March 24.  This is THE course for energy auditors, and those who work in energy efficiency programs.  Take the course by itself, or also add BPI certification testing:  Written BPI Building Analyst testing - April 8 /  Field BPI Building Analyst testing - Mid-late April.  To register or for more information click to the 
LRCC Energy Calendar , and the  course descriptions , or contact  Andy Duncan , Energy Training Manager, tel. 603-366-5329.

Southwest Transportation Meeting 
Thursday March 24, 2016 
Hosted by City of Keene, NH
Don't miss  the  transportation workshop in the southwestern region of our state.  This day-long meeting will feature presentations from area fleet managers, and experts on petroleum reduction strategies.  RSVP here !  Registration is at 8:30 on March 24 th  in the Blastos Room located at 380 Marlboro Street, Keene, NH.

PAREI Book Club 
March 30th (Location and Time TBD)
The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative is happy to introduce the first PAREI Book Club and meeting date of the PAREI Book Club. The book is:   "Grass, Soil, Hope - A Journey through Carbon Country", by Courtney White.  This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability? 

Order your own copy, start reading at any time and there will be a discussion of the book on Wednesday evening, March 30th (location and time to be determined, we will let you know).
If you want to be part of the book discussion, please RSVP to  robbin@plymouthenergy.org
or call 603-536-5030.

8th Annual Upper Northeast Regional Summit - Save the Date!
Saturday, April 30, 2016 at the Mt. Washington Hotel
The NH Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council ( www.usgbcnh.org) is hosting the 8 th Annual Upper Northeast Regional Summit April 29 through May 1, 2016.  The Upper Northeast Region is comprised of Chapters from all New England states and Upstate New York.  NH LES Work Group members are welcome to attend! The majority of events will take place on Saturday, April 30 th . Discounted room rates are available for those interested in staying the night.  Stay tuned for more information!

Your Energy Questions Answered!

Question:

What can our energy committee do to ensure that new buildings and renovations in our community are looking into energy efficiency and renewable energy measures upfront during the permitting process?

Advice from Durham:

In Durham, NH our committee worked with our zoning and planning offices to develop an energy considerations checklist that is a required part of the permitting process and as such covers building and renovation and most major system upgrades.  In addition, we have a seat at the Technical Review Group and typically conduct a meeting with developers and builders to go through the list.   At the end of the meeting, we write a memo that goes to the planning board and summarizes the energy efficiency aspects of the project.  In doing so, we hope to save everyone in the process time and intervene earlier in the building process than code inspections, which often come as the project budgets get set in stone and stressed.  

Durham has adopted the latest published building code - ahead of state adoption which can lag by years - and adjusted our climate zone requirement to be more realistic as zone 6 which makes many of the normal efficiency and insulation steps mandatory and well documented in the code.  The check list concentrates all the value added features that often come up in public hearings and from members of the planning board, and helps the developer make the best possible presentation of benefits to the community their financial model can bear.  Sometimes this is just creative bike parking, a renewable energy system, or pedestrian amenities.

The latest version of the Energy Considerations Checklist can be found here.  This is definitely a work in progress and I would love to hear what others are doing and how we might contribute in the most effective and affordable ways possible.

-Charlie Forcey, Durham Energy Committee & Seacoast Energy Hub Coordinator

News from 
NH Regional Energy Hubs 
Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Team
On Sunday, Jan 24
th, over 100 residents and business owners from Franconia, Bethlehem, Easton, Sugar Hill, Lisbon, Lancaster and more joined ARET and O'Meara Solar at the 
Solarize Ammonoosuc Kickoff to learn how solar could reduce their energy bill and contribute to a cleaner environment.
  
Over half of the attendees signed up for a solar site visit before leaving the event and even more have signed up since. The program is scheduled to run from the Kickoff until May 1 st .

A Solar Open House on Saturday, 30th was attended by around 20 households, where O'Meara Solar gave a complete walkthrough of a rooftop installation and neighbors had an opportunity to chat among themselves about their on-grid, off-grid and other renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

More events are planned throughout the coming months to help small businesses and homeowners learn about solar and take advantage of this group purchasing opportunity.

* Saturday Feb 6 - 10:00am-Noon
    Easton Pastry & Preservation 
   "Solar Project Financing and Net Metering"
    Easton Town Hall

* Saturday Feb 13- 10:00an-Noon
    Solar PV Netzero Home  - Open House
    Szauter residence, 100 Longview Dr, Twin Mt 
    Call 846-8039 for more info.   

* Sunday Feb 28- 1:00-3:00pm
    Solar PV Pole-Mounted Array  - Open House
    Strange home 159 Franconia Mts Rd- Franconia

Mount Washington Valley Citizens for Energy Efficient Communities
The Mount Washington Valley Citizens for Energy Efficient Communities, one of NH's regional energy hubs, is planning to focus its efforts on municipalities and schools in the coming year. They plan to:
  • Develop a municipal energy efficiency presentation modeled on the successful Madison Town Energy Committee's work and the Gibson Senior Center lighting and button-up project, Local Energy Solutions, and other's success with the message that reducing energy usage saves money for tax-payers.
  • Visit and present to at least 6 of our 10 towns over the coming 8 months, identifying the champions and offering a menu of technical support to the towns and schools to accomplish building improvements in energy efficiency. This might include assisting with writing an energy policy, launching an energy committee, writing a grant to secure municipal building audit, scheduling visits by auditors or electric company or insulation company, compiling energy building usage (benchmarking), and keeping the town posted on tends and successes.
  • Coordinate finding the interested towns and schools volunteer assistance either from the MWVCEEC committee or other sources to provide the technical support 
  • Continue efforts to bring ground or roof mount solar to the High School or Middle School
Energy Solutions from Around 
New Hampshire
News from our Communities

Dummer
The Dummer Energy Committee is looking at putting a PV system up on the town library. The system would supply all the library's electric and with enough extra to use as heat to offset some of the oil consumed. The town selectmen are not willing to spend any money on it so we are looking for grant money to finance the entire project. The materials will all be supplied at wholesale prices and we are hoping to have all labor supplied (donated) by residents of the town. If anyone has any suggestions as to where we might apply your suggestions would be appreciated. You can send any suggestions or comments to Ed Solar at  egs65@hotmail.com .

Pembroke
The Pembroke Energy Committee during the past year reviewed projects to convert existing lighting in the Suncook Downtown area to LED.  The project entailed converting 14 pole lamps and 4 parking lot floodlights.  After reviewing proposals, the Committee recommended the proposal submitted by LighTec and the Selectmen concurred.  The project was founded using part of an energy trust fund created and funded at the 2016 meeting.  The project was recently completed and the Town expects to realize on-going savings in electricity costs.
 
Plainfield & Cornish
Are you ready for Solar?
(...Or just curious about  Residential Solar Electricity Generation?...)
 
Learn the essentials about...
  • How it works
  • Installation Options, including Do-it-yourself
  • What you need to know to go solar
  • Costs/incentives/payback
                        
Learn from your neighbors' experiences...
  • What were their reasons for going solar?
  • How are their systems performing?
 
Learn how we can work together to...
  • Conserve natural resources
  • Reduce our global carbon footprint
  • Affect climate change
  • Save money
 
Come to the Philip Read Memorial Library on Rt12A in Plainfield on Feb 18 at 7pm to learn more!
 
Sponsored by the Plainfield and Cornish Energy Commissions

Washington
The Washington Energy Committee (WEC) has acquired a thermal imaging camera to assist in its Washington Warm Neighbors (WWN) program. The camera  was purchased using funds from a New England Grassroots Environment Fund "Seed" grant. Committee members have attended 2 home visits with members of the Dunbarton Energy Committee to learn how to best use the camera and develop useful reporting tools. WEC will be conducting local home assessments during February and will be promoting WWN at Town Meeting in March.


LES Work Group Member Spotlight
Kate Epsen
Executive Director,  NH Sustainable Energy Association

What is your background in energy work?
I got a masters in international energy management and policy from Columbia and decided to get into local and state work rather than global energy work, but first I ended up consulting with utilities in Vermont and Arizona, then working on the regulatory side at the NH PUC, then moved into non-profit and advocacy work with NHSEA.  

What does NHSEA do to support local energy action in NH?
NHSEA works to be a resource on all clean energy issues in NH - from technology, financing, progams and policy issues. We give people the tools they need to make decisions on how to use energy and how to engage with energy issues that impact them.

What makes you passionate about this work?
Energy impacts all of our lives, and it matters to me how our lives impact one another. 

What do you enjoy doing when you're not busy supporting smart energy policies for the state?
I love to travel, read Russian novels, and bake cookies. There's nothing better than eating a warm cookie on a cold winter day. 

You Can Contact Kate About:
  • Net Metering / Group Net Metering
  • NH Renewable Energy Policies (RPS, RGGI, etc.)
  • Energy Efficiency in NH
  • Solar Energy in NH
Other Energy News
Nashua Panel in Favor of Tossing Solar Cap
(Story from The Nashua Telegraph)

NASHUA - A Board of Aldermen committee voted Monday to recommend eliminating the cap on property tax exemptions for solar energy systems.

The recommendation, if approved by the full board, would be the first change in assessed property tax exemptions for solar systems in Nashua since 1986. As the law stands, property owners who install solar panels to produce electricity can file for a yearly assessment exemption of $5,000. The new law would remove the cap on solar exemption altogether, meaning a solar array would not be included in a property's assessed value. Residents would be required to file the application for exemption at the assessor's office on a yearly basis. The aldermen's Personnel and Administrative Affairs Committee voted unanimously to recommend the change. 


About the Local Energy Solutions Work Group (LES Work Group)
Our mission is to provide collaborative guidance and technical support to Local Energy Committees & Commissions (LEC's), municipalities, schools, and other political subdivisions* seeking to reduce energy use, minimize energy costs, and/or reduce fossil-fuel consumption.  Consider joining our efforts: contact Leigh Cameron for more information on the LES Work Group's efforts and opportunities for participation
About Our E-Newsletter: The monthly Local Energy Solutions E-newsletter of the NH LES Work Group is compiled and distributed by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund on behalf of the NH Local Energy Solutions Work Group.  Learn more about the Grassroots Fund.
              P.O Box 611
              Newmarket, NH  03857
              leigh@grassrootsfund.org
              603-905-9915