The Vermont Climate Action Communities (VCAC) program is designed to help Vermont municipalities achieve deep energy efficiency savings, reduce local emissions and participate in the transition to a clean energy economy, improve resilience in the face of climate change, and provide locally supported renewable energy generation for municipalities and the communities they serve. Led by VLCT in partnership with a wide range of support organizations, Vermont Climate Action Communities offers technical assistance, training and information to help municipalities plan and take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, municipalities may choose to join the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition. The Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition is a group of Vermont municipalities, non-profits, colleges and universities, businesses, farms, and other community organizations which are committed to reducing their carbon emissions and help Vermont meet the U.S. pledge to reduce 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 26-28% by 2025. The VLCT Board of Directors voted to join the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition at its board meeting on June 19, 2017
Municipalities are in a unique position to drive efficiency, resiliency, and renewable energy improvements – not only for their own energy use but through their influence on future development and their on-going relationships with the residents and businesses within their community. Municipalities consume energy for buildings, treatment facilities, street lighting, and vehicles. Municipalities influence new development and re-development through both municipal planning and the permitting process. Finally, they have on-going relationships with every resident and business within their jurisdiction through the provision of a wide-range of municipal services.
Under the Vermont Climate Action Communities Program, municipalities are encouraged to make a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and then track their actions on the Community Energy Dashboard. Municipalities are encouraged to undertake actions in four broad categories: 1) municipal energy use, 2) local policy development, 3) energy and climate change resiliency planning, and 4) residential and business engagement. Program success will be based upon achieving measurable improvements through increased efficiency and renewable energy generation.
The goals of this program are to:
- Encourage municipalities to undertake actions that reduce climate impacts through efficiency and renewable energy and are in line with both state and national goals;
- Provide a range of support services to help municipal officials, staff, and volunteers develop local action plans that establish goals and implementation priorities, and identify concrete steps for achieving these goals;
- Track and evaluate community progress toward achieving municipally stated goals; and
- Encourage development of an energy plan consistent with Act 174 requirements.
How Municipalities Can Participate
- Elected officials approve participation: It is critical for your Selectboard or City Council to approve your municipality’s participation in the Vermont Climate Action Communities Program. This can be done simply through a vote of your legislative body , reflected in minutes of the meeting where action was taken, or a vote to adopt a resolution supporting its participation in the program. A sample resolution is available.
- Register your municipality and make your pledge: Go to the Vermont Climate Pledge Coalition campaign page on the Community Energy Dashboard and click on “Participate in this Campaign.” Then, complete the registration information for a new participant. By registering your municipality, you are pledging to reduce your municipality’s 2005 greenhouse gas emissions levels by 26-28% by 2025.
- Develop an action plan: the plan should establish measurable goals and identify priority actions. This plan can build upon or be incorporated in energy plans being developed under the Act 174 energy planning process. The plan should address all energy sectors, including electrical, thermal, transportation energy use, and climate action resiliency.
- Pledge to take action: Based upon the priorities identified in the energy action plan, pledge to take specific actions by going to the Community Energy Dashboard and identifying actions your municipality pledges to undertake.
- Implement actions: Select from a range of actions addressing each of the four buckets of: municipal energy use, policy development, energy and climate change resiliency planning and action, and residential/business engagement.
- Record your actions: Once you have completed the actions, go back to the Community Energy Dashboard and click on “Complete”.
Scope of Assistance
VLCT, along with its partners, will assist municipalities in a number of ways, including:
- Guidance: a menu of efficiency, renewable energy and climate resiliency options, a catalogue of available technical and financial resources, and related case studies. (sample municipal resolution) (more resources coming soon)
- Technical assistance: Partners will provide one-on-one assistance on specific technologies, policies, and options;
- Training and workshops: Regional educational workshops that will get into the nitty-gritty of designing and implementing specific programs; and,
- Recognition: provide recognition to municipalities that meet their goals.
Key partners for this effort include:
- Efficiency Vermont
- Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network
- Energy Action Network
- Vermont Council on Rural Development
- Vermont Association of Planning and Development Agencies