By Sustainable Woodstock
A 2019 report authored by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries announced that planet Earth “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency.”* In 2020, the Woodstock Select Board, Village Trustees and voters at Town Meeting passed a Climate Emergency and Action Resolution, with a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. Woodstock only has eight budget cycles to meet this goal, which means that starting now the town will need to reduce its emissions by 12.5% each year.
Sustainable Woodstock asks that you, the voters, take urgent action to address climate change now. On Tuesday, March 1st, 2022, voters will have the chance to support carbon reductions in Woodstock. By voting yes on a ballot question to finance the cost of making energy improvements to Town facilities, we can reduce the town’s emissions by close to 12%, keeping the town on track to meet its climate commitments. The language of this proposed ballot measure (Article 23) will read:
“Shall bonds or notes of the Town of Woodstock in an amount not to exceed $660,200, subject to reduction from available state and federal grant-in-aid and loan forgiveness, be issued for the purpose of financing the cost of making greenhouse gas emission mitigation and abatement improvements to Town facilities, the cost thereof attributable to such improvements made to the Town’s wastewater treatment facility shall be paid from sewage charges?”
Energy Efficient Investments (EEI), an Energy Services Company that was selected through a competitive bid process, has worked with our Intermunicipal Regional Energy Coordinator Geoff Martin to identify opportunities in Woodstock’s buildings for lowering energy use and moving off fossil fuel. These projects would represent a major step toward the town’s climate commitments, and would also result in better building performance and increased occupancy comfort and health. Approximately one-third of Woodstock’s emissions come from heating municipal buildings, and this sector should be the focus for near-term emission reductions.
The primary focus of the proposal is installing heat pumps in municipal buildings to substantially offset, and in some cases eliminate, the use of propane for heating. The heat pumps could reduce the town’s propane use by up to 10,000 gallons per year. (At the current market price of about $3.50 per gallon—and rising—this represents a savings of $35,000/year.) The proposal also includes adding direct digital controls for managing the HVAC systems throughout Woodstock buildings. The controls will allow the buildings to be managed through a centralized, online platform, and will ensure that the buildings’ systems are running optimally. Finally, the project would include LED lighting upgrades wherever needed, and some minor weatherization and weather stripping.
Sustainable Woodstock supports the Town working with EEI to implement the above improvements for the following reasons:
- As an Energy Services Company, EEI’s proposal for each building is comprehensive and coordinated. Rather than working with different contractors for each component of the projects (i.e., hiring an engineer to design the mechanical systems, an HVAC company to install the mechanical systems, an insulation company to weatherize, etc.), EEI has designed the projects holistically, and will manage the installation of each component in-house.
- EEI provides a savings and performance guarantee. Through a performance contract, the town will have certainty that the new systems will save at least as much energy and money as guaranteed in the contract. Additionally, the performance contract incentivizes EEI to install the systems correctly the first time and proactively make adjustments to systems as needed.
- EEI has successfully designed and implemented energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for customers ranging from the Teago General Store in Pomfret to the City of Manchester, NH. It is a reputable company that has the expertise to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and will allow Woodstock to make necessary progress towards the net-zero by 2030 goal at the pace demanded by the climate crisis.
- Woodstock has committed to climate action through various plans and resolutions, including a Climate Emergency and Action Resolution passed in 2020, with a goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. The longer we wait to address our climate action goals, the more it will cost the citizens of Woodstock to do so over time.
Failing to take action this year simply means that the town will need to redouble its efforts the following years, pushing the imminent need for action off to an undefined future time at which we will need to spend significantly more to accomplish the same goals. If we are going to achieve our town’s goals of reducing carbon emissions, and follow through on our commitment and obligation to make the world a better place for future generations, now is the time to take action. This March, please vote yes on these important and timely energy improvements to Town facilities.
Contact Sustainable Woodstock with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org