The town of Keene has embarked on an ambitious plan to undertake a host of high impact energy actions, capably led by an all-volunteer team.
Acting on a recommendation from Supervisor Joseph P. Wilson, Jr., the town board passed a resolution establishing the Keene Clean Energy Group as a volunteer advisory and working committee dedicated to assisting the town in achieving clean energy goals.
Carolyn Peterson, a former mayor of Ithaca, and Dan Mason, a retired oil industry executive and a founder of the North Country Clean Energy Conference, are joined by Jim Bernard, Amy Nelson, Monique Weston, Jackie Bowen, Bunny Goodwin, and Josh Whitney.
“Everyone has a project they’re excited to be working on,” said Supervisor Wilson.
The town has been designated as a Clean Energy Community for having achieved these High Impact Actions:
- – Benchmarking: adopt a policy to report the energy use of buildings.
- – Unified Solar Permit: streamline the approvals process for solar.
- – Solarize: undertake a local solarize campaign to increase the number of solar rooftops.
- – Energy Code Enforcement Training: train compliance officers in energy code best practices.
The town hopes to receive a $50,000 Clean Energy Communities award. Possible projects include solar PV for three of their four municipal buildings; interior LED light lights; and energy audits, especially at the town water plant. Mason estimates he PV project alone is an opportunity to save $3,000 a year. Post-award, the group plans to work on LED street light conversion, EV charging stations, a town electric bus, and more. The group also plans to move forward with an effort to bring Keene into the Climate Smart Communities program and is already achieving single-sort recycling, a program requirement.
“The Clean Energy Communities award for a community our size is very significant,” said Peterson. About 11 percent of Keene’s approximately 450 year-round homes and businesses have solar installations, indicating a relatively high level of community engagement with sustainability issues.
To inform its policy direction and activities, the group has met with Mothers Out Front, a chapter of the national organization that raises awareness about climate change.