New London, NH
Just as the rest of us have been focusing on Town budgets and personal finances, the New London Energy Committee has quietly been doing the same, working to raise awareness about energy consumption at the Town and household levels.
On Wednesday, December 8 at 7:00 PM, the Energy Committee will host its second annual “Button Up for Energy Savings” presentation at Tracy Library. Two energy experts from the Coalition for Energy Solutions of Quechee, Vermont, will discuss how simple home improvements such as building up insulation, sealing drafty windows and doors, as well as washing dishes by dishwasher rather than by hand can add-up to even as much as 2:1 savings on energy bills.
As you may recall, the Energy Committee was formed in 2007 following a vote by Town Meeting to “go on record in support of effective actions by the President and Congress to address the issue of climate change which is increasingly harmful to the environment and economy of New Hampshire and to the future well being of the people of New London.” Voters at the 2007 Town Meeting also asked the Board of Selectmen “to consider the appointment of a voluntary energy committee to recommend local steps to save energy and reduce emissions.”
The Energy Committee took that charge seriously and has checked off quite a few accomplishments over the last three years. The Energy Committee was behind the Board of Selectmen’s adoption in January 2008 of a no-idling policy for Town vehicles, with a goal of reducing Town operating expenses, lowering emissions produced by Town vehicles and improving air quality for residents and employees. The Energy Committee hoped that the adoption of this policy at the Town level would encourage all residents
to not leave their vehicles idling (which, by the way, is against State law, RSA 265:72) while running into the Post Office, Coop, the Library, and elsewhere.
In the fall of 2009, the Energy Committee wrote a new chapter for the Town’s ten-year Master Plan that focused on sustainability and the use of alternative energies. Putting its words into actions, the Energy Committee has been instrumental in pursuing energy audits for Town buildings and in obtaining a grant to convert Town building lighting to more efficient lamps (before the formation of the Energy Committee, Mark Vernon, who is now an active member, spearheaded the effort to identify and remove unnecessary street lights and convert the remaining lights to a more efficient lamp). Members of the Energy Committee also applied for and received a grant to study the possibility of using the dams in Elkins to generate electricity, and were key in securing a grant for the School District to offset a portion of the District-wide energy efficiency upgrade approved by voters in 2010.
Taking advantage of the competitive market for the supply of electricity, the Committee played a key role in the bidding and contracting for the supply of electricity at a long-term lower rate, which should save about 3% for the Town’s electricity supply over the next year. Currently, the Energy Committee is lobbying the headquarters of Hannaford Bros. to use the New London store in a pilot project to encourage the use of reusable bags over plastic bags.
We are pleased that Colby-Sawyer College is well-represented on the Committee, which has enabled collaborative discussions. For example, the College has suggested a meeting of the minds among folks from the College, Town and Hospital to explore the use of wind energy in New London. It would seem that we have enough to spare.
Surely, the New London Energy Committee is one of the most active town Energy Committees in the state, and we are fortunate for their interest and expertise. We hope you can attend the workshop on December 8 to learn what you can do in your own home to reduce energy consumption.
Five years ago this week the Town lost two colleagues, Ryan Haynes on December 1 and Bob Andrews on December 4. Words cannot express our lasting sorrow for these lives that ended too soon. In their memory, we urge you to drive carefully, thoroughly clean your windshields, be wary of road glare, and most of all, hold your families close this holiday season. Ryan and Bob, you are forever in our hearts.
Jessie Levine, Town
375 Main Street
New London, NH 03257
Phone: 603-526-4821 extension 13