North Quabbin Energy Planning Meeting — August 14, 2013
Fifteen people attended a pot luck supper and gathering in North Orange on Wed., August 14th. After a delicious meal and some outdoor exploring of vegetable garden, Steve Kurkoski facilitated a meeting to plan for Garlic and Arts Festival and get town energy committee reports.
Some Notes from Discussion: (See www.northquabbinenergy.org/wordpress a copy of notes)
Garlic and Arts Festival – Oct. 5-6, 2013: Janice and Steve are once again coordinating the workshops at the energy tent (or Local Living). Janice reviewed the list of workshops being offered (see website for information on workshops). She also talked a bit about having Hal Gillam and Hunt’s Farm people at Main Stage for a short presentation about the solar farm going online and then being available at tent to answer questions (not a definite yet). Mike Dubrosky may also be available with solar on a trailer to do experiments with kids (depends on weather, etc.)
- Theme for NQE Table – Some ideas included: “Buy Local/Save Energy,” “Grow Food Not Lawns” (Kill a lawn mower). We decided to go with “Grow Food Not Lawns”. There was also a discussion about having a NQ map to show wind, solar, vegetable and meat producers with local food brochures. The question of where we buy food was discussed. Aimee talked a bit about the Athol Community Garden (cost of $20 per raised bed), and Cathy talked about the idea of regional food economies. After this discussion the following tasks were agreed to: a) Cathy will work on questions to go with the wheel (#1-10) that focus on food issues; b) Linda and Pat will look for N. Quabbin map used in past or a new one; c) Aimee will bring vegetables (pumpkins, etc.) along with a photo display showing lawns into gardens; d) Refrigerator magnets made by Paul for prizes.
- Literature and Activities at Table: We will have local food brochures and other information, wheel with questions and will also check with Brian about winsert demonstration (Paul and Pat will check on this)
- Volunteers for Table: A sheet for volunteer sign up was circulated. This sheet will also be circulated via email to large e-list and core group again. Helping with set up on Friday: Paul, Aimee, Pat and Norm will help Steve and Janice. Helping with break down on Sunday: Cathy, Bruce, Judy and Donna.
Energy Savings for Seniors Fair – Thurs., Sept. 12, 2013 – Pat reported that NQE had been invited to participate in this event at the Athol Senior Center. We will only have a very brief time to introduce ourselves as a citizens’ group and emphasize our mission of conservation first, then efficiency and then renewables. Franklin County Home Care is doing all the publicity so we just show up (10-12 noon). Paul, Pat, and Aimee agreed to represent NQE. We will also bring a winsert to show and be available to answer questions after all the short presentations. Janice will get graph regarding electricity use to us, and Pat will get NQE bookmarks printed.
Seed Saving Event in Petersham on Wed., Aug. 28th: Linda announced this event and passed around a poster. It is from 7-9 at the library in Petersham and the public is invited.
AOTV (Ch. 13) Community TV and NQE films: Pat reported that Carol Courville contacted her about summer interns doing a video for AOTV about businesses and renewable energy projects in the North Quabbin region. Pat will work with the interns to do some of the filming. People talked about including homes and the library, and that may be something for a later program. Aimee (and perhaps her son Brian) and Paul said they were interested in the AOTV training and will be sent registration forms (trainings on Sept. 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1 and 15).
Carbon Foot print and meat eating: Steve reported on studies showing that eating meat rather than vegetables has a higher carbon footprint. There was a short discussion about the carbon footprint of eating beef and other meats that are from other regions and other countries.
Food Brochure: Linda reported that we still had a lot of copies left. Most of the cost was covered by local cultural councils and then about $100 from NQE kitty. This exhausted the money that NQE has. We discussed several options for next year but did not make a decision. Some of the options included: 1) printing a new version every other year; 2) going to some kind of non-print version with libraries getting a good copy they could reproduce; 3) printing in black and white (cheaper than color); insert updates in 2013 versions for 2014 and then new version in 2015. We decided to revisit this project in the fall after the Garlic and Arts Festival.
Reports from Town Committees:
· New Salem – Bruce reported that New Salem received a $25,000 grant for an air source heat pump to heat the library. After becoming a Green Community, the town has been successful in getting other grants.
· Orange – Pat reported that the town energy committee will be working on possible energy conservation in the schools (elementary schools and Mahar) in the fall. In the spring the committee finished negotiating with Borrego Solar to get a Netmetering contract with an off-site project in Warren. The Selectboard signed this re-stated contract in May 2013.
· Athol – Aimee reported that Athol received their second Green Communities grant for $270,000. This will help with the library addition in terms of making building green and an Energy Management System for town buildings. Aimee also reported that the new elementary school is in the planning stages, and she is attending meetings for that project.
· Royalston — Donna reported that Royalston is still working on getting Green Community designation and hopes to finish the application for the October 30th deadline. Royalston is working with the Montachusetts Regional Planning Commission to get technical help with zoning bylaws and expedited zoning for solar. Bart Bales is doing some of the technical work for Royalston at a cost of $2900. The Special Town Meeting on October 18th will be used to vote on the Stretch Code. Donna stated that “someone” will help with Criteria 3 – the energy reduction plan for the town.
· Warwick — Janice reported that the Warwick committee has a report from Bart Bales (cost $900) to help the committee draft a statement to the Pioneer Regional School District Building and Grounds Sub-committee about the energy-savings work needed on the Warwick Community School (Gr.K-6). Warwick town meeting approved $25,000 to insulate the highway building which was a salt barn. Currently the Warwick committee is doing research on what type of insulation will work. There is now some question about using spray foams and problems with blowing agents. Cellulose may be a better alternative.
· Petersham – Linda reported that Petersham is in the first stage of work concerning getting Green Community designation. Bart Bales just finished a thorough energy audit of town buildings and will give a complete report to the town sometime this fall. This will help Petersham make decisions about what work to do in the future to get an energy reduction for town buildings. Prism did lighting upgrades in the town buildings and the school this summer.
Wendell, Phillipston – no reports (no town energy committee members present).
Meeting adjourned about 9:15.
Next Planning and Business Meeting set for Wed., Oct. 16, 2013 at 7 p.m. at Millers River Environmental Center in Athol.