Sustainable & Resilient Monadnock Region

What if we plan to save a million dollars a year in energy costs?

Monadnock Sustainability Action Plan

In the Monadnock region, we spend around $350,000,000 every year on energy for buildings and transportation. Most of this money leaves the state to outside energy providers. Imagine if we could cut energy use by 30% through simple no to low cost strategies. We could reduce our energy bills and save a million dollars every year! It is in everyone’s best interest to reduce energy use and keep our energy dollars circulating locally.

The Monadnock Sustainability Action Plan is intended to reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels and to improve the environment and human health in the region. This Plan resulted from a three-year citizen inclusive process and so reflects the priorities and concerns of local people as well as best practices in energy use and conservation. This regional climate and energy action plan is a practical guide for all sectors to identify and take actions to reduce energy demands.

In our rural region, collaboration and partnership between different sectors of a community, as well as among communities, are essential to the success of effective projects. This Plan is a product of such vital networking and lays out a community development vision founded upon people, institutions and communities working together for our common good.




Based on a regional energy assessment, the Monadnock region spends approximately $350,000,000 on energy in our buildings and transportation needs. The graphs below illustrate the majority of our energy is used on the heating/cooling and electricity use of our buildings in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

If we reduced our energy by 30% through simple no to low cost strategies, we could reduce our energy bills and save the region $105,000,000 a year. It is evident from the table below that while New Hampshire is ranked low for the amount of energy we are consuming, New Hampshire ranks a lot higher for the amount of costs we are spending on energy. This clearly indicates it is in every New Hampshire taxpayer’s interest and benefit to reduce our energy use and keep our energy dollars circulating in our local economies versus leaving the state.

* Population Based on 2005 OEP Estimate
** Based on NH Energy Facts 2005 data from OEP – represents NH state figure

The Monadnock Sustainability Action Plan has been developed as a basis to advance the work of municipalities, businesses, non-profits, institutions, and citizens in the Monadnock Region toward reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels for energy and improve the environment and human health in the region. This Plan was created out of the work of the Cool Monadnock project. It was developed through a three-year collaborative process. Due to this inclusive process, it reflects the priorities and concerns of local citizens as well as best practices in energy conservation planning. It is intended to serve as a point of departure for Local Energy Committees/Commissions, local planners, and municipal authorities, as well as concerned citizens and businesses, to chart a course toward energy independence and seek out resources and partners to further their energy conservation goals.

This regional climate and energy action plan is designed to serve as a practical guide for parties working on behalf of municipalities and local energy committees, residential groups (including civic organizations, faith communities, etc.), businesses and non-profit organizations, and educational institutions, as well as cross-sector groups, to easily identify and implement actions to reduce their energy demands. In a predominantly rural region, the importance of collaborative efforts between different sectors of a community, as well as among several communities, cannot be over-emphasized. The diverse voices consulted in the development of this plan advised repeatedly that creating these partnerships could provide a powerful foundation to increase the networks and knowledge base necessary for effective projects, to create markets of scale, and to demonstrate demand for particular local policies that enable these energy conservation projects.

Chapter 1 provides a succinct summary of the three-year work plan that culminated in the drafting of this plan. Chapter 2 describes the process of gathering public input into the plan. Chapters 3-6 contain the list of suggested “actions” of this plan, broken down by sector (Municipal, Residential, Business, Education). There are sub-sections within each sector that organize energy-conservation actions by categories such as the built environment, transportation, natural resources, and financial tools. People looking for suggestions on how to take action on specific topics can quickly scan the sub-headings to find the most relevant actions. Many of the suggested actions are linked to web resources with more information about how to carry out that specific action. Additional information is included in the six appendices.

Chapter 1: Background to the Action Plan

Cool Monadnock

The Cool Monadnock project was a three-year regional approach to developing climate and energy solutions at the municipal level. Much of the impetus for the project came out of the 2007 Carbon Coalition campaign for municipalities to adopt local resolutions to implement climate change solutions. Noting that a high concentration of municipalities in the Monadnock region passed these resolutions, three partner organizations, that now form Cool Monadnock, developed a proposal to assist the communities to move forward with their stated intentions of proactively managing energy issues at the local level.

Cool Monadnock, a project of Clean Air-Cool Planet, Antioch New England Institute, and the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC), was designed to assist Monadnock municipalities in becoming project ready for energy conservation by taking an inventory of energy use for municipal operations and identifying priorities for energy reduction; supporting the development of Local Energy Committees and building member capacity through educational workshops and networking, and developing a regional climate and energy action plan to guide further municipal and regional steps toward energy management and independence. The project was primarily funded by a three-year grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

See the appendices for details on the activities carried out by the Cool Monadnock project and further information on the partner organizations.


Chapter 2: Community Consultation

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gatherings and Forum

The foundation of the Monadnock Energy and Climate Action Plan was a community consultation process to assess local priorities and capture ideas and insights from local citizens. The community consultation was not open-ended but instead started with the 2009 New Hampshire Climate Action Plan (NHCAP) as its point of departure. The NHCAP was developed through a lengthy state-wide citizen consultation process, spearheaded by the Department of Environmental Services, and organized and honed by science and policy experts. In order to create a regional plan that would reinforce and support the implementation of the NHCAP, the Cool Monadnock team began by selecting 17 of the 67 NHCAP recommendations. The 17 recommendations were selected based on their relevancy to the Monadnock Region and could be implemented at a regional or local level.

The Cool Monadnock team developed a template for a 90-minute group process designed to lead groups of 8 to 15 people to prioritize the most “feasible” and “effective” 2 of the 17 recommendations, and then generate specific ideas about how these recommendations could be carried out locally, and identify groups and stakeholders to take part in the implementation. The Cool Monadnock team then assembled a group of about 15 local “leaders” in September and October of 2009 to review the proposed community consultation process, learn how to host the conversations, and brainstorm venues for the conversations. Leaders included chairpersons of local energy committees across the Monadnock region as well as local planners, representatives of non-profit organizations and businesses known for their efforts to reduce energy costs and support quality of life, and local scholars.

Over the course of the winter (November 2009 – April 2010), the Cool Monadnock team and the group of local leaders organized and held 17 conversations known as Neighbors Helping Neighbors gatherings. Over 100 Monadnock citizens voiced their opinions through this process. A capstone event, the Monadnock Energy and Climate Forum was held on April 28, 2010. At this event, about 40 participants learned about the priorities that had been identified through the community consultation process and then broke into five groups to develop further recommendations about how to mobilize the regional community to reduce energy consumption and dependence on non-renewable energy sources. These groups developed ideas around the areas of education and outreach; renewable energy technologies; forests and farms; transportation and land use; and buildings.

Citizen’s Priorities

During each gathering, participants were asked to rank the priorities (individually and as a group – see Appendix D for the participant packets) according to which ones they considered to be most feasible and effective. The following table shows a summary of the aggregate results. Under each main recommendation, specific strategies are listed in their priority of importance based on the gatherings.

It is clear from the table above the priorities for action in this region involves increasing existing and new building energy efficiency. The majority of stakeholders expressed their preference to implement actions that would educate homeowners on how to reduce energy usage and to concentrate efforts on retrofitting existing buildings.

The second highest identified priority for the region was to reduce transportation energy and costs. The two highest strategies to accomplish this priority were identified as expanding bus service throughout the region and creating and maintaining growth patterns that reduce travel.

All of the above priorities have been incorporated into the action plan. The action plan has been organized in a topical fashion as well as in order of early action steps and longer range options. Some action steps were included that did not come up during the community consultation, but are found in other regional and municipal action plans and are known to be effective measures for energy conservation.

After each group had identified which recommendations or “approaches” to reducing energy costs they felt would be most feasible and effective, they then generated ideas about how – what specific projects, programs, actions, etc – to accomplish the top recommendations of their group. The Monadnock Energy and Climate Forum of April, 2010, contributed another very useful set of recommended actions for this plan. The detailed results can be found in Appendix E. Later analysis shows that actions and programs described under one approach for one group would often be described under another approach by a different group. Some of the recommendations were strongly supported within a particular gathering as well as across a number of gatherings, while some suggestions came up only once or twice.

To better guide the development of this plan, the suggestions have been organized according to the four sectors of the plan: municipal, residential, business, and education. The following chapters detail specific implementation measures to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions in the four sectors.

1 Leaders were to explain that “feasible” means something for which logistical barriers, such as finding finances, acquiring appropriate technologies, accessing technical assistance, etc, would be manageable, and “effective” means something that will significantly reduce energy use and carbon. Feasibility and effectiveness were emphasized as the prime criteria for all recommendations.


Chapter 3: Municipal Actions Sector

Municipal Sector Actions

Municipal entities play a key role in decisions that influence the level of energy consumption within their borders and beyond. The municipal government plays its role by setting both an example and a whole suite of policies and planning decisions that influence the businesses, institutions, and residents in their jurisdiction.

The Built Environment

Municipal Operations. All Monadnock municipalities are encouraged to develop an energy management plan for municipal operations.

  • Conduct a baseline energy inventory of municipal energy use, including an analysis of energy conservation priorities. (short term)2
  • Develop an energy management plan, identifying specific energy reduction steps, a timeline for accomplishing those steps, and comprehensive funding strategies. (short term)
  • Annual reports on progress, including follow-up inventories to measure energy reductions achieved. (short term and beyond)
  • The plan should recommend that any new construction, capital improvements, or renovation work of municipal owned buildings should be designed with energy conservation as the highest priority and reflect best practices in building science and high performance building, starting with goal setting and integrated design planning at the conceptual stage, with consideration of alternative and renewable energy sources for electrical power and heating. (short term)
  • The plan could recommend that BPI certification should be required for facilities managers, maintenance staff, or anyone responsible for building maintenance to ensure quality control. (short term)

2 Short term = 1-3 years; medium term = 4-8 years; long term = greater than 8 years to implement the strategy. Short-long term = on-going.

Municipal Buildings. With local taxpayers covering the cost of energy for municipal operations, municipalities have a great opportunity to reduce the tax burden by increasing the energy efficiency of their buildings. To increase building efficiency, municipalities are encouraged to:

Conduct a building audit. There are currently several options for undertaking building audits. Municipalities can hire certified professionals (BPI and/or HERS certification is recommended) to conduct either a decision-grade or an investment-grade audit. A decision-grade audit offers a complete picture of energy use in the building, including analysis of the building envelope and heating system. An investment-grade audit builds on the decision-grade audit with support in putting out bids for the recommended retrofits to the building. Another program currently available in New Hampshire is the Energy Technical Assistance and Planning program, which offers overview walk-through analysis of municipal buildings, leading to identification of top priorities for building energy conservation. (middle term to complete all municipal building stock)

Set operations policies. It is recommended that municipalities adopt operations policies in the very short term in order to save energy right away with little or no initial investment. Operations policies include:

  • Turning off all unnecessary lighting and equipment when not in use.
  • Using energy management software, power strips, or other methods to ensure electrical equipment is not drawing standby power when not in use.
  • Installing sensor-lighting.
  • Replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, LEDs, or other efficient technologies.
  • Replacing old equipment with Energy Star models.
  • Reducing the number of operating hours of offices.
  • Managing or programming thermostats to reduce heating and cooling demand.
  • Zoning heating areas of a building.
  • Closing off and not heating unused areas of buildings.
  • Shift electrical use to non-peak periods.
  • Winterizing buildings.
  • (short term)

Municipal Fleet. Vehicle fleets are typically the second-largest energy user in Monadnock municipalities. Municipalities have a number of options for reducing energy consumption from their vehicle fleet:

  • Track fuel use by individual vehicles. (short term)
  • Set vehicle operations policies, such as:
  • No idling
  • Setting efficient work routes, including not coming to the office for lunch
  • (short term)
  • Appropriately deploy vehicle fleet technologies such as:
  • Idle right units
  • GPS systems
  • Engine block heaters for emergency vehicles stored in cold buildings (medium term)
  • Incorporate renewable or more efficient fuels into vehicle fuel mix
    • Biodiesel
    • Compressed Natural Gas (may include multi-town co-op to set up a station) (medium-long term)
  • Replace older vehicles with more efficient vehicles that get high MPG and/or use alternative technology (i.e., hybrid vehicles). (medium-long term)
  • Become involved in the Granite State Clean Cities Coalition to learn more about fleet efficiency. (short term)

Street Lighting. Municipal lighting, including street lights, traffic signals, ornamental lighting, and other sources such as ball fields, is an area of municipal operations that can offer unexpected energy saving opportunities. It should be noted that per energy unit (Btu), electricity is more costly in New England than heating and vehicle fuels. Therefore, efficiency measures in street lighting often leads to very significant cost savings. Efficiency opportunities include:

  • Street lighting reductions. Identify unnecessary streetlights in the municipality and have them removed, or, reduce number of hours particular streetlights are turned on. (short term)
  • Fixture replacement. Replace necessary streetlights and signals with energy efficient technology, such as LED. (short-medium term)

Water Works. While expensive to upgrade or replace, water pumping stations, waste water treatment plants, and municipal drinking water systems can realize significant improvements in efficiency.

In those municipalities that operate wastewater treatment and public water supply systems, the infrastructure typically includes a number of pumping stations as well as other energy-intensive equipment. There is a great deal of opportunity for energy conservation at various stages in the system. Clearly, proper observation and analysis of the current system is the first step toward making appropriate upgrades to improve efficiency. See this program example from Connecticut, with a list of resources.

Green Power. The various options for obtaining electricity from more renewable and local sources require more long-range planning and larger investment, but offer important opportunities for energy security and independence, better control over energy costs, and significant reductions in carbon emissions. Municipalities should start now to chart a course toward increasing their access to electricity from renewable sources.

  • Develop a community-owned renewable power plant. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council recently released a short and helpful guide on community renewable opportunities and issues. (medium-long term)
  • Purchase renewable power co-operatively (medium term)
  • Lobby local utility to provide more electricity from renewable sources (short term)

Codes and Policies. Municipalities influence the energy efficiency of the local built environment through the setting of local codes and policies as well as through long-range planning activities.

Policy Review, Planning, and Zoning. Many policies and development plans have been adopted without consideration for the rising costs of energy, therefore many policies inadvertently inhibit the municipal government from taking appropriate actions to reduce their energy costs. To address these issues, it is recommended that municipalities:

  • Review the EPA’s Smart Growth Guide for guidance and ideas on how to do municipal planning with the goal of energy conservation or the Innovation Land Use Planning Techniques guide prepared by NH Department of Environmental Services in partnership with NH Association of Regional Planning Commissions, NH Office of Energy and Planning, and the NH Local Government Center.
  • Conduct a policy and land use audit to identify items that conflict with the goal to save energy. The Keene, NH Land Use and Energy Policy Audit is an excellent recent example. (short or medium term)
  • Update the municipal Master Plan with an energy chapter, or attention to energy conservation throughout the document. (short or medium term)
  • Consider zoning a concentrated mixed use area within the municipality such as the Sustainable Energy Efficient Development (SEED) District proposed in Keene. (medium term)
  • Create zoning that supports smaller homes and small home-based businesses. Land use planners have developed concepts such as Open Space Residential Design (clustered residential units with shared open space and habitat conservation) and Performance Zoning to work toward these goals. They may be applicable in particular Monadnock municipalities. (medium term)
  • Organize a Sustainable Design Roundtable across the region. This is an approach to exploring ways in which a state/municipality/region can actively promote sustainable design practices in public building projects and projects receiving government aid or oversight. (short term)
  • Encourage the development of quality work-force housing located near work centers. (medium to long term)
  • Conduct Health Impact Assessments, including assessments of potential carbon emissions impacts, of new project proposals and land use changes. Here is an example from the West coast.
  • Manage transportation demand within and around the municipality
  • Collaborate with the Monadnock Regional Transportation Demand Management Association (short term)
  • Create a baseline study of current commuting distances with a goal for reduction (short term)
  • Join other regions in a competition to reduce transportation demand and vehicle miles traveled (VMT)(short to medium term)
  • Get grant funding to carry out programs (short to medium term)
  • Instate a municipality-wide anti-idling policy (short term)
  • Green Building Codes. Municipalities can set codes for building standards that go beyond codes and standards applied at the federal and state levels. When updating building codes, municipalities should:
  • Dialog and partner with local builders, architects, HVAC engineers, local businesses and materials supplied manufacturers, Local Energy Committees, and other active citizens. (short term)
  • Review the best practices available in the wider market. (short term)

Financial Tools. Municipalities can influence local energy efficiency through a variety of financial tools. These tools include the grants and programs that the municipality can use for its own energy conservation initiatives as well as programs that the municipality can adopt and offer to its constituents. As a government entity, the municipality can also use taxes and fees to encourage or discourage particular activities, therefore influencing energy use patterns in the area.

Revolving Loan Funds and Property Assessed Clean Energy. These are financial tools whereby municipalities set aside capital and then loan it out to local residents and businesses to carry out energy efficiency projects or install renewable energy technologies on their property. Enabling legislation for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) was passed in New Hampshire in May of 2010. Under this legislation, municipalities are enabled to individually establish a fund to be used for PACE loans to residents and/or businesses in their jurisdiction. These loans, which allow residents and businesses the opportunity to access measures and technologies that will lead to significant energy savings, without having to lay out the high initial costs of purchasing and installing the technology. The loan from the municipality can then be repaid through an additional assessment connected to the payment of property taxes. If the property, along with the energy efficiency upgrades or technologies, is sold before the loan is repaid, the loan is transferred to the new property owner. More information on the PACE program in general is available here. Information about the program in New Hampshire is available here.

  • Pass local PACE adoption legislation and establish a revolving loan fund. (short to medium term)
  • Carbon taxes or fees. Municipalities can use taxes or fees to discourage or encourage people from activities that waste or save energy.
  • Assess a tax on businesses that use drive-through windows because it encourages their customers to idle their vehicles (short term)
  • Increase parking fees & provide free parking for car pool and alternative fuel vehicles (short term)
  • Provide other grants or financial incentives for local businesses and homeowners to reduce energy costs. Municipalities in NH offer property tax exemptions for solar energy, wind power, and wood heating energy. A list of current exemptions by municipality is available here. Those municipalities not currently offering a full battery of exemptions can expand their offerings to encourage alternative energy adoption. (short term)
  • Increase Access to Subsidies. Based on income guidelines, a segment of the population currently has access to energy conservation programs such as home weatherization to save heating costs. Municipalities can work to increase the number of citizens who can take advantage of these helpful programs.
  • Discuss with the state the potential to change income guidelines for home energy efficiency subsidies (short term)
  • Shift guideline from 200% to 250% of poverty level
  • Ensure residents have access to loans without large fees
  • Provide information to residents about how to apply for home energy efficiency programs from federal and state agencies, as well as the local utility (short term)
  • Provide bridge loans to fill in gaps between bank loans and resident’s needs for energy efficiency projects. Collaborate with local banks. (short-medium term)

Community Leadership. The municipal government holds a leadership role within the community from which it can launch community initiatives, recognize and publicize positive role models, and provide services to the wider community.

Energy Challenges. Energy “Challenges” are often volunteer programs developed by non-profit and other citizen organizations. However, municipalities play a key role by endorsing and promoting challenges, or in many cases, “joining” a challenge whereby a group of citizens in one town are set up to race against another town to see who makes the greatest reduction in energy use.

  • Join or endorse the “10% Challenge.” This is a voluntary program for businesses that is currently operating in Keene, NH. It offers guidance and recognition to businesses that measure and reduce their energy use. It is recommended the Challenge is expanded to allow for participation by businesses outside of Keene but in the Monadnock area. In order to implement this, it is suggested the Keene Chamber of Commerce consider assisting in administering the Challenge in partnership with the City of Keene. The Challenge could be expanded to include quarterly convening’s of participants in order to network, provide the latest information on energy reduction solutions and technologies, along with the creation of a web site that includes best practices of businesses in the region. (short term)
  • Join or endorse the New England Carbon Challenge. This is a web-based residential program that allows families to track and reduce energy use at home. Many New England towns have celebrated friendly “competitions” with one or more other community in which they challenge one another to a race to reduce the greatest proportion of energy use. Interested communities can go here to get started. (short term)
  • Create and publicize an annual award to recognize local home owners, landlords, and businesses that show the best models for energy conservation. (short term)
  • Schools. While New Hampshire public schools are operated by school boards (school administrative units), the funding for them is collected through property taxes. Therefore, the municipality is connected to decision-making related to expenditures and can open lines of communication and advocate for energy reductions in school operations.
  • Encourage local schools to adopt energy management planning including building audits, weatherization, and retrofitting. Several organizations that provide these services to schools can be accessed in the Monadnock region, including The Jordan Institute and TRC Solutions. (short-medium term)
  • Any new school buildings should be designed to the highest energy efficiency standards with consideration of alternative and renewable energy sources for electrical power and heating. (short term)
  • Encourage school district to audit transportation routes, vehicles, and fuels and plan for improvements to reduce energy use. (short-medium term)
  • Efficiency Technology “Bank.” Many Monadnock residents advocate having centralized “banks” that would maintain equipment that can be used by local residents and businesses to assess their energy efficiency and make small do-it-yourself improvements. It is usually suggested that the “banks” be housed in the local library, and the public works department. Items for residents would be stored in the local library while items for professional energy auditors such as a thermal imaging camera or blower door kit would only be available at the public works department for certified auditors.
  • Purchase a suite of energy efficiency equipment such as a “Kill-a-Watt” appliance energy use meter, a thermal imaging camera, a blower door kit, maybe a tall ladder, and make it available on loan to local residents or businesses. (medium-long term)
  • Educate Permit Seekers. Municipalities authorize new construction projects as well as major additions and upgrades by issuing permits. This provides a useful interface for educating the relevant public not only about new building code standards, but also about why and how to increase the efficiency of the proposed building project.
  • Provide education on building energy efficiency and optimizing building orientation (with or without a certification) along with any building permits. (short term)
  • Support Employee Travel Reduction. As businesses develop creative employment models, including more and more “telecommuting” or working from home, municipalities can take measures that better enable these more efficient models.
  • Ensure full internet coverage across the municipality (medium term)
  • Make public spaces available and affordable for occasional conferences and meetings (short-medium term)
  • Support shared vehicle programs such as ZipCar (medium term)

Public Transportation. Larger municipalities operate their own public transportation systems while smaller communities work with regional systems, often from private operators. As such, transportation in the Monadnock region involves individual municipalities to a degree, but also involves regional collaboration.

  • Partner with public and private regional partners such as the Eastern Monadnock and Cheshire County Regional Coordinating Councils for Community Transportation to expand public transportation service. The increased service should feature better accessibility, including more regional connections, as well as more interfaces with other transportation modes such as bike and walking paths (on-bus bike storage), park and ride, etc. (medium-long term)
  • Promote rider incentives such as affordable fares and frequent rider discounts as well as WiFi. In the current market, incentives help riders who have transportation options choose public transportation (which reduces energy emissions and improves community health). (medium term)
  • Lay the proper groundwork for an effective system: research local transportation demand, needs, and best practices; educate the community and create “buy-in”; obtain funding (a graduate student can help with grant writing). (short term)

Natural Resources. Municipalities directly and indirectly manage and impact the natural resources with their jurisdictions. They can take specific measures to promote the healthy maintenance and regeneration of the local natural resources, including working resources such as farms.

Preserve Farms and Forests. Municipalities, through their own commissions (i.e., Conservation Commissions) as well as in partnership with Land Trusts, conservation agencies, cooperative extensions, and other groups, play a key role in preserving the important resources of local farms and forests.

  • Conduct a natural resources inventory to assess what resources are currently present, as well as identify issues such as threatened water supplies or habitats, soil degradation, etc. (medium term)
  • Create a local farm policy to ensure farming is conducted in a manner that is sustainable within the context of the local climate, geology, etc and encourage conservation of prime agricultural soils in perpetuity. (medium-long term)
  • Promote thriving natural resources within urban areas by expanding municipal green space, tree planting, rain gardens, and community vegetable gardens. (short-medium term)
  • Promote farmer’s markets, agri-tourism, and farm education programs. (short-medium term)
  • Promote conservation planning on a municipal basis, identifying key natural resources for conservation. (mid term)

Optimal Waste Management. The health of natural resources is highly impacted by the policies and practices of waste management, which is handled by municipal entities or private haulers guided by municipal policy. Potential options include:

  • Make recycling mandatory, educate citizens on recycling, and instate zero-sort recycling. (short-medium term)
  • Capture energy from the landfill through systems like biochar and methane recovery. (medium-long term)
Chapter 4: Residential Sector Actions

Residential Sector Actions

Household decisions, including how people live in their homes, daily commutes and transportation decisions, and volunteer neighborhood activities, account for a significant segment of energy use. By the same token, efforts to reduce energy use at home have a direct impact on the people making the choices to save energy. The efforts and the pay-back are closely tied together.

The Built Environment – Direct Action

Energy Efficient Homes. A range of options are available to homeowners as well as renters who want to save energy at home with small to moderate investments.

  • Start by using a web-based tool such as to measure current energy use, plan personal energy reductions, and access resources. (short term)
  • Adopt behavioral measures to reduce energy use such as turning off lights, unused appliances, and turning down thermostats. Replace light bulbs and appliances with energy efficient technologies. (short term)
  • Weatherize your home. (short term)
  • Have a professional audit of your home. It is recommended that homeowners consider utilizing an energy auditor that is BPI certified to quality control. The following site has information on energy audits: term)
  • Hire qualified contractors to carry out deep retrofit projects. (medium term)
  • Build new homes to highest energy conservation standards or join (affordable) co-housing communities. (short term)

Energy Raisers. Energy Raisers are collaborative efforts to carry out energy projects in a number of homes. A group of local citizens, each of whom wants to make similar energy efficiency upgrades in their own homes, gather at one of the homes and work with a professional who teaches the whole group to carry out the work. The entire group provides the labor to carry out the work in the first home, as well as each of the other homes. Homeowners need only purchase the materials for the project. See the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative website for more information.

  • Convene an Energy Raisers group to do Home Weatherizations. (short term)
  • Convene an Energy Raisers group to install Renewable Energy Technologies (i.e., solar hot water heaters) (short-medium term)
  • Green Purchasing Co-ops. Groups of residents may be able to realize savings by purchasing energy conservation goods and services in bulk deals.
  • Create a co-op to purchase goods such as weatherization materials, renewable technology (such as solar panels), or renewable fuels. (medium term)
  • Negotiate bulk deals for services such as home energy audits. (short-medium term)
  • Investigate co-op models or other options for obtaining renewable electricity. (medium-long term)

The Built Environment – Capacity Building

Citizen to Citizen Education. Information about how to create a frugal personal energy budget is well suited to being shared through social and civic networks. Early adopters, advocates, and professional trainers can reach interested citizens through neighborhood associations, civic groups, social clubs, faith communities, service organizations like the Rotary, and other similar networks.

  • Share information and technical knowledge about resources and methodologies to help citizens reduce energy use at home. (short term)
  • Reach peer groups through gatherings (house parties), online communities (facebook, web-clouds, social marketing), local newspapers and newsletters, public events (like change a light day, local festivals), invited speakers and demonstrations, contests (like Biggest Loser or the New England Carbon Challenge), or by “peer pressure,” i.e., asking neighbors to turn off unnecessary lights. (short-medium term)
  • Landlords. Rental properties often run the risk of being overlooked for “unnecessary” upgrades targeted toward energy conservation. Especially when tenants are responsible for heating costs, the property owner does not perceive a motivation for energy investment. However, these investments will increase the value of the owner’s property, and property owners can protect that value by educating tenants.
  • Evaluate, weatherize, and retrofit rental properties to increase energy efficiency. (short-medium term)
  • Create a network of landlords to share information and resources. (short term)
  • Educate tenants on energy conservation practices. (short term)
  • Have tenants cover energy costs separately from their rent. (short term)
  • Citizen Advocacy. A key step in taking energy conservation actions at home is ensuring that the proper governmental policies and programs are in place to support and facilitate those actions.
  • Attend planning board meetings, select board meetings, City Council meetings, and any relevant sessions to advocate for codes and policies that support energy efficiency. (short term)
  • Contact decision-makers to advocate for financial incentives to help residents accomplish energy efficiency projects. (short term)


Reduce Personal Travel. Households can employ a variety of strategies to reduce the number of daily vehicle trips in a (single occupancy) personal vehicle.

  • Carpool. Use a web-based ride share community. (short term)
  • Reduce work travel by arranging to telecommute for all or some days. (short-medium term)

Natural Resources

Eat More Local Food. Our national food system uses energy inefficiently in two major ways. Conventional agricultural practices are energy intensive because they require large energy inputs for fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and large farming equipment. Secondly, large amounts of fuel are expended to transport farm produce long distances from where they are grown to where they are consumed. Household food choices have a strong impact on the amount of energy used to produce food as well as the impact that type of agricultural practices used for food production and the impact of that on the surrounding resource base.

  • Start a community garden with composting. (short-medium term)
  • Ask the municipality for use of public space.
  • Become a Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. (short-medium term)
  • New housing developments should have garden space. (medium-long term)
  • Start a permaculture edible forest garden. A NH-based example of regional support for this approach is from theNashua Regional Planning Commission. (medium term)
  • Advocate for Sustainable Land Management Practices.
  • Get involved in municipal land use planning. (short term)
Chapter 5: Business Sector Actions

Business Sector Actions

The business sector includes the wide spectrum of the world of work, including manufacturing, retail, services, non-profit organizations, faith based institutions, and agricultural businesses. All members of the business sector can make common contributions to energy conservation, while some contributions can best be made by particular segments of the business community.

The Built Environment

Reduce Energy Use In-House. The steps businesses can take to reduce energy use in-house depend in large part on the type of business in question. Many of the steps available are the same ones that people can take in their residential homes, assessing current energy use, adopting energy conservation behaviors, and weatherizing and retrofitting the buildings. In some businesses, more specialized considerations need to be made, including production procedures, technologies, and materials.

  • Join the 10% Challenge Program. The 10% Challenge is currently a voluntary program available in Keene, NH, which provides guidance and recognition to businesses that take voluntary measures to reduce their energy consumption. Monadnock businesses outside of Keene can work together to create 10% Challenge programs in their own towns or expand the Keene Challenge to the rest of the region. It is recommended in the municipal sector (Chapter 2) the Challenge program is expanded to create a network of participants with educational convening’s, networking opportunities, and examples of best practices. (short term)
  • Retrofit the place of business to improve energy efficiency. (short-medium term)
  • Install Smart Metering.
  • Install Motion Detector Lighting.
  • Join a green purchasing co-op to get bulk pricing on energy efficiency products such as renewable fuel, energy efficient (Energy Star) equipment and appliances, weatherization products such as insulation, and other products. It is important to note that biofuel is currently available in the region for medium to large heating applications. A short term action specific to this would include the education and outreach about this availability to businesses. (medium-long term)


Reduce Employee Work Travel. Employers can greatly reduce the region’s Vehicle Miles Traveled by structuring their employee’s work in a way that reduces travel and helping provide the infrastructure that will enable a reduction in travel for work.

  • Support Broadband expansion efforts in order to allow more people to work from home. (short term)
  • Provide affordable conference spaces. (short term)
  • Invest in a shared “ZipCar” system. (short-medium term)
  • Provide recognition to good models. (short term)
  • Structure employee schedules to reduce work travel. (short-medium term)
  • Efficient Work Travel Options. Where travel to work is necessary, employers can take steps to encourage that employees use efficient means to travel to work.
  • Set up a carpool or vanpool system for employees. (short term)
  • Create a parking space cash-out program. (short term)
  • Support Public Transportation. Businesses should participate in public discussion and planning of an effective public transportation system in the Monadnock region.
  • The Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association is the appropriate convener of regional discussions about public transportation.
  • Other groups should be involved in developing the transportation system, including Southwest Region Planning Commission, the Regional Coordinating Councils for Community Transportation, the Antioch and Keene State College Green Bikes Program, local biking and pedestrian groups, schools, businesses, private transportation service providers, and municipal representatives (Conservation Commissions, Open Space Commissions, Planning Boards, Local Energy Commissions). (short-medium term)
  • Encourage businesses and shopping centers on the outskirts of Keene to allow free parking spaces to be used for public transportation. (short term)

Community Engagement

Marketing and Public Awareness. The business sector is well positioned to influence and educate the public about energy conservation.

  • Start a “Go Green Monadnock” marketing campaign to raise awareness about reducing energy use and increase public “buy in.” (short-medium term)
  • Built networks of business partners and customers
  • Communicate a common message through business forums, Rotaries, NHBSR, etc.
  • Create a Monadnock Region “Green Alliance” like one in the New Hampshire seacoast region that is designed as a business-to-business mentoring program to promote sustainable and green business practices.
  • Industry Standards. Business entities are well positioned to help develop standards for energy efficiency in products, buildings, and processes.
  • Develop industry standards for energy efficient buildings. (medium term)
  • Professional Training. Energy efficiency careers, often labeled “green collar” jobs are a growing field of employment. The business sector can actively contribute to the development of this promising opportunity.
  • Provide funding, scholarships, and internships for students in green collar fields. (medium-long term)

Natural Resources

Re-Use Existing Facilities. The development of new business ventures should avoid converting natural habitat and prime agricultural land to industrial uses.

  • Plan to redevelop previously occupied properties when developing new business ventures. Specifically encourage Monadnock Economic Development Council to incorporate this into their mission. (medium-long term)
  • Forest and Agricultural Land Policy.
  • Develop a sustainable practices policy for forest and agricultural land. (medium-long term)
  • Identify natural resource assets in the area.
  • Gather input from farmers and the wider community.
  • Help develop agricultural commissions.
  • Educate the community and encourage citizen science. Work with natural resource professionals to encourage understanding and use of Best Management Practices.
  • Build a diverse network of partners: Monadnock Conservancy, the Model Forestry Policy Program, Land for Good, (these first three could be the champion organizers of the effort), Monadnock Farm and Community Connection/Cheshire County Conservation District, Hannah Grimes, Valley Food & Farm, Southwest Region Planning Commission, the Sustainability Project, Community Support Agriculture farms, The Forest Society (SPNHF), Ashuelot River Local Advisory Committee, The Nature Conservancy, Cities for Climate Protection Committee, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Cooperative Extensions, Antioch University New England, Keene State College, Franklin Pierce University, high schools, elementary schools, Harris Center, Working Families Win, and the Monadnock Sustainability Network.

Economic Incentives.

  • Invest in local carbon offsets – pay local people to maintain the ecological services of healthy working farms and forests. (medium term)
  • Create short and long term economic incentives to keep working farms and forests intact. (short-long term)
  • Gather and distribute information about the real costs of losing these resources.
  • Develop a local currency.
  • Work with partners including the grassroots as well as policy makers. Work with conservation commissions, Monadnock Buy Local, and Hannah Grimes.
  • Advocacy Networks. Natural resources and land issues tend to be out of the scope of the “public mind,” so it is more important to create strong networks and collaboration among organizations working on forest and farm issues.
  • Enlist educational institutions to hold forums and educational events. (short-long term)
  • Develop a network of organizations. Find a way to share calendars and contacts databases in order to better coordinate activities. Groups to engage include the Sustainability Project, educational institutions, Cheshire County Conservation District, Hannah Grimes (the first four would be good champions for the project), Advocates for Community Empowerment, Southwestern Community Services, Monadnock Developmental Services, Monadnock Family Services, Cheshire Mediation, Rotary Clubs, Cooperative Extensions, Faith Communities, Cities for Climate Protection Committee. The Monadnock Sustainability Network is planning a summit of leaders in sustainabity. Ensure the above organizations are included in the summit. (medium term)
  • Review various models of working on the issues (short-medium term)
  • Monadnock Conservancy land stewardship program
  • Internet based vs. Vital Communities model
  • Arts Alive model
  • Time shares

The Non-Profit Sector

Citizen Education. The non-profit sector is well positioned to provide adult education through non-traditional avenues.

  • Partner with school teachers and adult educators, planning boards and conservation commissions, land trusts, faith communities, employers, unions, government representatives, local energy committees, real estate agents and home owners, the Office of Energy and Planning, the Southwest Region Planning Commission, the local media, builders, local businesses, student “green” clubs. (short-medium term)
  • Partner with municipalities to enhance community education about local issues related to energy: (short-medium term)
  • Develop tools and information on local climate adaptation priorities and programs
  • Publicize local and regional success stories about energy conservation
  • Educate the public about various aspects of energy conservation (short-long term)
  • Why and how to increase energy efficiency
  • Currently available resources for reducing energy use as well as technologies
  • Latest information on renewable energy (solar, wind)
  • Sustainable forestry practices
  • Comprehensive information on bio-fuels (life-cycle costs, energy ratios, food crop displacement, transportation costs)
  • Up-to-date climate science information
  • Host Button-Up workshops on home energy savings.
  • Non-profit organizations can contribute to public education in a variety of ways (short-long term)
  • Make presentations or give workshops at institutions of higher learning (Keene State College, Antioch University New England, Franklin Pierce, River Valley Community College)
  • Prepare curriculum to be used by partner educators (adult educators, school teachers, professional trainers)
  • Hold or participate in conferences: the Green Building Open House, the Local Energy Solutions Conference, Biannual regional Local Energy Committee meetings, Local Energy Committee Roundtables, home shows, etc. (Vital Communities has a successful model of LEC roundtable discussions held several times a year).
  • Provide speakers, trainings, demonstrations, and forums
  • Release information through the media
  • Develop an internet clearinghouse for energy conservation resources and information (could check out ones like to see what’s out there already). This project could be done with partners like local contractors, the Home Builders Association, New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, nonprofits, Antioch student interns.
  • Engage in two-way conversations with the “targets” of educational efforts to ensure that the message/information is meaningful to them and leads to positive change.
  • Identify community champions, institutions, and partners
  • Engage students in service-learning projects
  • Consider using the Master Gardener model (affordable training plus public service house to impart or implement the knowledge that has been taught)
  • Advocacy. Many non-profit organizations have a specific advocacy mission related to supporting energy conservation.
  • Advocate for municipal, state, and federal policies that are favorable to energy efficiency and renewable energy (short-long term)
  • Campaign for increased incentives to help citizens, local governments, and businesses afford energy efficiency measures (short-medium term)
  • Partner with municipalities to advocate for enabling legislation and programs at the state and federal level for: (short-long term)
  • Carbon tax policies
  • A policy that favors the use of renewable energy in new government-owned infrastructure projects
  • A policy that homes that receive LIHEAP assistance must be provided weatherization
  • Accelerate rulemaking at the Public Utilities Commission for renewable energy installations
  • Create building standards and lighting standards that emphasize energy efficiency
  • Programs. Non-profit organizations also carry out programs to support energy conservation.
  • Provide recognition and publicity for good models of energy conservation. (short term)
  • Operate “Challenges” that guide groups and/or individuals on how to reduce their energy use and engage them in friendly competition with others to achieve energy conservation goals. (short term)
  • Provide services to measure energy use baselines for groups (such as municipalities) and provide them with guidance on prioritizing and reducing their energy use. (short-medium term)
  • Partner with municipalities and Local Energy Committees on regional projects such as: (short-long term)
  • Create a regional technical resource network
  • Create a regional “Green Center” that would be a one-stop shop for educational resources. (Peterborough attempted to receive funding for this with their Armory Maintenance Shed)
  • Provide weatherization services for low income residents
  • Develop a strategy for sharing resources and skills at the regional level (inventory of resources and skills)
  • Support the formation of Local Energy Committees/Commissions
  • Identify, create, or make available shovel-ready energy conservation projects
  • Advocate that municipalities are enabled to take advantage of low-interest loans for energy retrofits. This has two components: advocate for the availability of low-interest loans for municipalities; and pass warrants that allow municipalities to enter contracts for these loans without having to wait for town meeting. These loans would likely be on the performance contract model, whereby the loan is repaid through energy savings.

Electrical Utilities

  • Provide more incentives and grants to customers for energy efficiency. (short-long term)
  • Expand current programs. (short term)
  • Offer customers an option to purchase green power, expand the use of renewable sources for generating electricity. (short-long term)

Financial Institutions

  • Provide accessible loan and mortgage programs for energy upgrades and renewable energy systems (short-long term)
  • Provide microfinancing for Energy Star appliances (short term)
  • Participate in community discussions around renewable energy (short term)
  • PACE/Berkeley model
  • Cash neutral loans
  • Federal money
  • Start a venture capital firm (like the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund) to coordinate investment in green energy technologies. (medium term)

Real Estate

  • Educate home buyers about energy efficiency (short term)
  • Provide education to realtors through a possible presentation at one of their existing events about energy efficiency (medium term)

Builders and Contractors

  • Provide affordable audits or package deals for groups (short-medium term)
  • Regard inspectors as expert back-up to carpenters (short-medium term)
  • Expand training and re-training in the trades (short-medium term)
  • Help develop building efficiency standards (short-medium term)

The Agricultural Sector

  • Participate in Farmer’s Markets & Agri-tourism (short-medium term)
  • Invest in more greenhouses (short-medium term)
  • Train more farmers – spark interest in the field (short-medium term)
Chapter 6: Educational Sector Actions

Educational Sector Actions

The Built Environment

Public school buildings are often among the largest facilities in a community. There are ample opportunities to reduce energy consumption in public school buildings as well as in campus of higher education institutions.

Educational Buildings.

  • Undertake a baseline inventory and analysis of school energy use, with priorities to reduce current demand. Many school systems have worked with the Jordan Institute’s Granite State Energy Efficiency program. Another resource available at this time is the New Hampshire EnergySmart Schools Program operated by TRC Solutions. (short term)
  • Change the school schedule to reduce the number of heating days (short term)
  • Install solar panels and use them as a basis for technical education for students (short-medium term)
  • Develop a school based or participate in an existing rideshare program like CVTC’s rideshare board (list
  • Participate in the Safe Routes to School program to encourage and promote pedestrian and bicycling friendly infrastructure, policies and programs for students to safely walk and bike to/from school.


  • Limit the availability of school parking for students (short term)
  • Include information about vehicle maintenance for energy efficiency in driver education. (short term)
  • Enact anti-idling policies on campus. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services runs a school-related anti-idling program. Another guiding resource available online is The Idling Reduction Tool Kit. (short term)

The Educational Mission

Energy Conservation Curriculum.

  • Students at all educational levels will benefit from developing a solid base of knowledge about energy.
  • Work with non-profit organizations to develop and integrate energy efficiency into public school curriculum. (short-medium term)
  • Engage students in service-learning projects in the community. (short term)
  • High schools and institutions of higher learning should develop and offer professional training for energy efficiency careers. Include training in vo-tech programs. Keene State College has offered Building Analyst Training as a continuing education course and offers sustainable design components in their architectural program. More technical training on building science could be incorporated into trades programs such as the construction program at Cheshire Career Center and River Valley Community College. (short-medium term)
  • Community Education. Educational institutions can influence the wider community through their students in a variety of ways.
  • Host events like science fairs or a “Biggest Loser”-style contest that involves the parents of students and the wider community. Share energy information through school events and publications. (short term)
  • Develop models and research around energy and energy conservation including computer software, physical models, scientific models, public presentations and displays of the findings, and sharing findings through social media. (short-long term)


Appendix A: The Cool Monadnock Project

Foundational Climate Work in New Hampshire

The path to global warming solutions in the Cool Monadnock region starts with the Carbon Coalition.

The Carbon Coalition is a non-partisan coalition of citizens, scientists, businesses, students, communities and organizations, who came together to advocate for a national energy policy that protects our communities and environment from the ravages of global warming caused by carbon pollution.

The Carbon Coalition grew out of efforts by some of New Hampshire’s leading environmental groups, including the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, Appalachian Mountain Club, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Public Interest Research Group, and Clean Air-Cool Planet, a Portsmouth-based group specializing in solutions to global warming.

The Carbon Coalition took a major step towards reducing NH carbon emissions with its clarion call, in April 2003, for NH citizens to “put global warming and the damaging health and economic effects of carbon pollution high on the political agenda.” Just a few years later, the Carbon Coalition was the chief force behind the NH Climate Change Resolution, circulated in towns throughout NH in advance of the 2007 Annual Meeting. By May of that year, 164 NH towns had heeded the call.

Wasting no time, the Carbon Coalition created the Local Energy Committee Working Group (LECWG) to capitalize on the success of its climate change resolution initiative. The mission of the Local Energy Committee Working Group is to provide collaborative guidance and technical support to New Hampshire Local Energy Committees seeking to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions within their communities. Over 90 local energy committees (LECs) formed in 2007-2008.

Cool Monadnock Initiated

The same period saw the beginning of Cool Monadnock, a three-year joint initiative between Clean Air-Cool Planet and Antioch New England Institute. Cool Monadnock is a collaborative community mobilization effort, made possible by funding through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, that served the towns of the Monadnock Region that are members of the Southwest Region Planning Commission. The majority of the towns in this region passed resolutions at the 2007 Town Meeting to form local energy task forces (e.g., LECs) and to take action on greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. The goal of Cool Monadnock is to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions in the Monadnock Region.

Cool Monadnock Partner Organizations

Clean Air-Cool Planet is an action-oriented environmental group working directly with corporations, communities, and campuses to develop and implement voluntary greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts. A 501(c)(3) qualified non-profit organization, CA-CP works throughout the Northeast to provide practical solutions that demonstrate the economic opportunities and environmental benefits associated with early actions on climate change.

Antioch New England Institute (ANEI) is a consulting and community outreach department of Antioch University New England. ANEI promotes a vibrant and sustainable environment, economy, and society by encouraging informed civic engagement. It provides training, programs and resources (U.S. and international) in leadership development, place-based education, nonprofit management, environmental education and policy, smart growth and public administration.

Community Education, Networking and Workshops

With a plan to convert political resolution to action, Cool Monadnock held a kick-off event in Winter, 2008. By spring, additional events were providing community participants with the science of climate change. At the beginning of April, for example, Antioch New England Instituted hosted a lecture on Climate Change in the Northeast U.S.: Past, Present, & Future. Guest speaker was Cameron P. Wake, research associate professor with the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space at the University of New Hampshire.

In June, Cool Monadnock collaborated with EPA on a Community Energy Forum, held in Keene, NH at Antioch University New England. Attendees learned about the work of the Jordan Institute, a New Hampshire non-profit organization working to implement significant climate change solutions by reducing fossil fuel use in buildings. The forum moved from a discussion of rising carbon emissions and the potential effect in Southern New Hampshire to:

  • a review of NH energy cost data (showing upward changes);
  • an introduction to conducting a building energy assessment (using Portfolio Manager software);
  • a demonstration of how reducing energy costs and carbon emissions might both result from increased energy efficiency in public buildings (e.g., schools); and, finally,
  • an overview of ways to achieve greater efficiency.

In August 2008, the Carbon Coalition Local Energy Committee Working group and the NH Department of Environmental Services began a series of four regional round tables, one of which as hosted in Keene by Cool Monadonck. The round tables focused on a discussion of the Governor’s Climate Change Policy Task Force. The purpose of the round tables was to gather Action Plan input from Local Energy Committee members. Members’ ideas about content and implementation of an action plan were of special interest.

At a Breakfast Roundtable in February 2009, citizens, government officials, and community group leaders shared news, tips, and concerns about their energy efficiency efforts to date. They also gathered to hear Jim Gruber and Christa Koehler, directors of Cool Monadnock, tell them about new avenues for financial support of energy efficiency projects. Federal economic stimulus plan funds and monies from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) would be available for energy efficiency on a competitive basis.

Roundtable participants did some brainstorming around proposal ideas. The Cool Monadnock program offered assistance to those interested in submitting a proposal. Summary notes and a list of project ideas generated at the Breakfast Roundtable went out to all attendees.

Participants in the Breakfast Roundtable made the following recommendations for energy conservation actions (they have been taken into consideration in the writing of this Plan):


  • Municipal retrofits
  • A regional technical resource network
  • Regional “green centers” – Green Center would be a one stop shop for educational resources.
  • Weatherization of non and low income
  • Strategy to share regional resources and skills
  • First steps: committee formation, inventory and audits, forming an LEC
  • Home energy audits
  • Shovel ready projects identified, created and made available
  • Public transportation (including buses) for local and inter community
  • Buses that exist should incorporate bike racks for inter-modal transportation options.
  • Training for energy auditors and other programs to create green jobs in region
  • Weatherization workshops created for region
  • Energy Commissions created by state statute



  • More community education and awareness on conservation and energy efficiency
  • Education of forest resource importance
  • Education on real impacts of bio-fuels (travel distance, displacement of food, energy ratio)
  • Access to up to date climate science
  • Develop tools and information on local adaptation
  • Publicize success stories in region



  • Adopt State Climate Action Plan
  • State law for consideration of renewable energy in projects
  • Requirement for funding for weatherization for homes receiving LIHEAP money must have weatherization
  • Carbon Tax implemented
  • Accelerate PUC rulemaking (in process) for renewable energy installation
  • State legislation and policy created to provide initiatives for building standards and lighting
  • Ability to purchase green power from utility



  • Low interest or no interest revolving loan fund for energy retrofits. NH legislation would need to be amended to allow
  • Form Buying Group through possibly Cool Monadnock: For example insulation bought in large quantities, etc. This would require funding to Cool Monadnock to buy quantities in bulk to then be distributed to towns at low price due to bulk purchasing
  • Create state incentives for small communities to share certain facilities and resources on joint projects
  • Support location tax credits
  • Allow for a regional entity to disperse low interest loans to towns seeking funds to retrofit town buildings. Loans could be paid back as savings are accrued through reduction in energy usage. Loan would be structured to allow municipality to enter this type of performance contract without having to go through town meeting.


On May 20, 2009, the Cool Monadnock and the Keene Cities for Climate Protection Committee brought together resource people and local leaders and activists at a workshop titled From Data to Action. The resource people had expertise directly relevant to preparations in the Monadnock region to lower energy costs. Their areas of expertise included: audits and retrofitting of buildings, transportation and fleet management, streetlight reductions and retrofits, alternative energy technologies, and education outreach for behavior change.


Baseline Inventories for Monadnock Municipalities

In 2008 and 2009, Cool Monadnock assistants reached out to the 35 municipalities in the region and offered to assist each of them with creating a baseline inventory of their municipal energy usage. Over the course of the two years, twenty of the municipalities responded with the interest and local capacity (municipal staff and local volunteers) to be able to complete the baseline inventory process.

Cool Monadnock assistants worked with local citizens to review energy bills (electricity, heating fuel, and vehicle fuel) for all municipal operations (buildings, vehicle fleets, and street lighting) for one year, typically 2005. The data they collected included the cost of energy, as well as the number of units of energy used (gallons of fuel or kWh of electricity). This information was analyzed using the ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) Clean Air and Climate Protection software tool and the online Portfolio Manager software from the Environmental Protection Agency. Each participating municipality was provided with a report that described the relative amounts of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy costs of the municipal sectors as well as each individual municipal building. Each report gave specific recommendations about the priority actions the municipality can take to save energy costs.

Challenges experienced in the baseline inventory projects in 20 Monadnock municipalities were very informative to other inventory projects across the state. The Cool Monadnock team learned the critical need to gain the buy-in of local citizens, staff and officials who needed to really grasp the fiscal and strategic advantages of planned energy conservation. Another important challenge was dealing with the varied forms of billing from energy providers as well as record keeping within municipalities. In fact, experiences within the Monadnock region contributed to state-wide discussions with utility companies about stream-lining on-line access to energy data and possible mechanisms for moving municipal energy data directly into software tools.

The Cool Monadnock team completed baseline inventories for the following towns:
















Appendix B: Sample Town Report

Municipal Greenhouse Gas and Energy Use Baseline Report for Temple

This report is a summary of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use for the town of Temple, NH for the year 2005. The focus of this report is the municipal operations of the town, with special emphasis on town-owned buildings. It does not encompass residential, commercial, or industrial energy use. It has been prepared by the Cool Monadnock Project,[1] a collaborative project of Clean Air-Cool Planet, Antioch New England Institute, and the Southwest Regional Planning Commission. Data was gathered through the volunteer efforts of the Cool Monadnock Town Representative and analyzed by the Cool Monadnock team, using EPA Portfolio Manager software and Clean Air and Climate Protection software provided by ICLEI.[2]

Municipal overview

Town population: 1,554 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006)

Area of Municipality: 22.5 sq. mi.

Population Density: 69.8/sq. mi.

Number of municipal buildings: 4.

Total area of municipal building space: 10,108 sq. ft.

Average energy intensity of all municipal buildings: 43 kBtu/sq. ft.

Number of street lights: 1 (library, town hall parking lot)

Number of vehicles in fleet: 13

Number of municipal employees: 10

Total cost of municipal energy use in 2005: $31,991

Total municipal energy use in 2005: 2,163 MMBtu

Total municipal CO2 emissions in 2005: 159 tons


[2] For more information on EPA Portfolio Manager Software, see Information on CACP software is at

Municipal Sector Analysis

For each participating municipality, data was gathered on the operations of several sectors under the jurisdiction of the municipal government: the buildings, vehicle fleet, employee travel (how much municipal employees travel to work and other travel for municipal business), street lights, water and sewage, and waste. Different types of energy use were considered depending on the sectors, such as electricity use, heating fuel use, fuel for vehicles, and tons of waste. Where records were available, the costs of purchasing these energy sources were factored in to the analysis. The ICLEI software was used for the analysis of the aggregate data on all municipal sectors.

Table 1. Energy use, equivalent carbon emissions[2], and costs, by municipal sector (Source: Cool Monadnock inventory, 2008 Generated by CACP Software)                        


[1] The Clean Air and Climate Protection software presents energy use in MMBtus, which is one million British Thermal Units, a common measure of energy consumption (see

[2] According to the Clean Air and Climate Protection software, “Equivalent CO2 (eCO2) is a common unit that allows emissions of greenhouse gases of different strengths to be added together. For carbon dioxide itself, emissions in tons of CO2 and tons of eCO2 are the same thing, whereas for nitrous oxide, an example of a stronger greenhouse gas, one ton of emissions is equal to 310 tons eCO2.”


Snapshot of 2005 Municipal Energy Use, Emissions, and Costs by Sector

Graph 1a. Municipal Energy Use (MMBtu)

Graph 1b. Municipal Carbon Equivalent Emissions (tons)

Graph 1c. Energy Costs by Municipal Sector ($)

The three graphs illustrate the fact that the vehicle sector is the most significant sector in Temple in terms of energy use and energy cost, and especially in terms of carbon equivalent emissions. The vehicle sector comprised 52% of energy use and 57% of energy costs, but a full 62% of emissions. The building sector is the only other significant energy sector in Temple, using 48% of the energy and comprising 41% of the energy costs, as well as contributing 37% of the carbon equivalent emissions. While the waste sector does not generally contribute to energy use in towns, it did register as 1% of the town’s emissions and 2% of its energy costs. In Temple, the town’s four buildings and thirteen vehicles offer the greatest opportunities for energy savings. The Cool Monadnock project performed specific analysis on municipal buildings that is outlined in the following section. This information should be helpful in identifying which buildings within the building sector present the greatest opportunities for savings.

Building Performance: Energy Use, Emissions, Costs

Data was gathered for each individual building managed by the municipality. The following table combines data from EPA Portfolio Manager software (energy intensity, CO2 emissions) and CACP software (energy use). Data on costs were entered into the Portfolio Manager software. Graphs below illustrate the relative intensity of energy use and their costs among the buildings under the municipal jurisdiction.

Table 2. Carbon emissions, energy use, and costs, by municipal building (Source: Cool Monadnock inventory, 2008, Carbon data generated by EPA Portfolio Manager Program; energy use generated by CACP software)

1 – Carbon emissions on the EPA Portfolio Manager software are measured as carbon dioxide emissions only and do not include equivalents for other types of greenhouse gas emissions.


Snapshot of 2005 Energy Use, Emissions, and Costs, by Building

Graph 2a. Energy Use by Building (MMBtu)

Graph 2b. Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Building (tons)

Graph 2c. Energy Costs by Building ($)

Graph 2a illustrates that two buildings – the highway department garage and the municipal building/fire department – used the most energy at 41% and 37% respectively. The library and town hall used less energy at 14% and 8% respectively. However, the town garage appears to have had very low carbon emissions relative to the amount of energy used, as it only accounts for 6% of carbon emissions (and 7% of the energy costs) despite occupying 41% of the energy use. The municipal building/fire department, on the other hand, accounted for a full 58% of the carbon emissions and 52% of the energy costs despite occupying only 37% of the energy use. The library, with 14% of the energy use, occupied 21% of the carbon emissions and 25% of the energy costs. The town hall, with the relatively small 8% of energy use, accounted for 15% of carbon emissions and 16% of costs. The library, town hall, and fire department have higher proportions of carbon emissions compared to their share of energy use. A closer look at the data would explain that the proportions of energy use, emissions, and costs are affected by the fact that the town garage used primarily wood heat[1] which was obtained cost free to the town. Wood heat appears to provide a larger amount of energy with lower carbon equivalent emissions as well.


[1] The highway garage also shares a propane tank with the library. For the purposes of this study, we have estimated that 20% of the propane was used by the highway garage and the rest was used by the library. This estimate was made by the lead employee of the town garage.


Building Performance: Energy Intensity

Table 3. Energy Intensity, by municipal building (Source: Cool Monadnock inventory, 2008, Energy intensity data generated by EPA Portfolio Manager Program)

Snapshot of 2005 Energy Intensity by Building

Graph 3a. Site and Source Energy Intensity by Building (kBtu/sq.ft.)

Graph 3b. Site Energy Intensity and Average Site Energy Intensity for Type of Building (kBtu/sq.ft.)

Graph 3c. Source Energy Intensity and Average Source Energy Intensity for Type of Building (kBtu/sq.ft.)

Energy intensity is the most powerful tool that the Cool Monadnock Project has available for measuring the relative energy efficiency of particular buildings. Site energy intensity can be addressed through behavioral and energy conservation measures whereas source energy intensity would require alterations in the type of energy being used to power, heat, or cool a space. The best opportunities for saving energy on site would involve behavioral changes (such as keeping lights and computers turned off; turning down thermostats) and energy conserving technologies (such as motion sensor lighting). Measures to save source energy would include switching the type of fuel being used to heat or cool a space and asking your electricity provider to use green sources of energy.

In Temple, the building with the highest energy intensity in both categories is the library. The town garage has extremely low energy intensity numbers. All buildings in Temple have lower energy intensities than the average for buildings measured by Portfolio Manager. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to further reduce the energy intensities of the buildings and save energy and money in the municipal buildings in Temple. The relative efficiency of the town garage illustrates the possibilities available for further energy savings. The graphs also show that site energy intensity in the buildings is higher than source energy intensities, so the opportunities for savings can be found in behavioral changes on on-site updates that conserve energy.

Analysis: Priorities and Custom Recommendations

  1. Review existing Master Plan, Zoning Ordinances, and other town policies for inconsistencies with the goal to reduce energy usage
  2. Focus on the Municipal Building and Library for: Implementation of a behavioral change program based on the CA-CP guide. Then expand the program to all other buildings. See attached guide.
  3. Focus on the Library, Town Hall and Municipal buildings for increased energy conservation through weatherization, insulation and recommendations from Energy Audit on Municipal Building.
  4. Implement buying strategy of Energy Star equipment and Products and environmentally sensitive office products, and implement awareness campaigns to encourage “thoughtful” consumption of equipment and products.
  5. Evaluate ways to reduce fuel usage with vehicle fleet. This can be done by analyzing routes, usage, and a strict anti-idling policy.
  6. Find alternative energy sources to reduce escalating fossil fuel prices and emissions. Investigate payback for possibly installing: a small CHP unit, biomass heating system or geothermal heat pump.
  7. Create an Energy Savings Trust Fund to be used in the future for energy saving initiatives within a 5 year payback. Submit this Fund for majority vote at 2009 Town Meeting. Work with CA-CP to create this fund.
  8. Encourage recycling and composting to the extent possible, in order to divert the amount of municipal solid waste (organic matter) going to landfill.

Next Steps

As members of the Southwest Regional Planning Commission and the Cool Monadnock project, your municipality has access to support and guidance as you plan for the most effective and targeted energy saving measures. It is recommended that each town have a Local Energy Committee that will meet with the Cool Monadnock staff to review the findings of this report. The Carbon CO2alition’s New Hampshire Handbook on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change can be a resource on energy committee formation and energy efficiency options.[1] Through collaboration and consultation between the Local Energy Committee, the Board of Selectpersons or City Council, and Cool Monadnock, the town may identify the most effective and feasible projects that are likely to save energy and costs in the shorter and longer terms. With further collaborative research, the committee, with the assistance of the Cool Monadnock staff, can then identify any sources of financial support that will facilitate energy saving projects.




Greenhouse gas inventory approach

Data collection for this inventory involved collaborative efforts between the Cool Monadnock staff, which organized the data collection process over all, and the local town representative volunteers. With personal connections to their home towns, volunteers were better able to ascertain where to access certain data and to spend time at local offices sorting through bills and records. To collect the data in each town, data sheets were developed based on the software/program that was used for data processing. We used 2005 as a baseline year to collect the fuel and energy consumption information. Data sheets were sent to the town representative, who then collected and/or accessed the data. Follow-ups were done on a regular basis to make sure that the inventory progressed, the data collection process was effective, and the data needed was more or less accurately collected.

Data processing and data analysis

To process the data collected, we used two types of fuel and energy assessment software. The first was the Clean Air and Climate Protection (CACP) software used to quantify and estimate the amount of energy used and the greenhouse gases (GHG) generated from the energy usage. The CACP software allowed us to make community and government analysis of the GHG inventory. The second was the EPA Portfolio Manager Benchmarking Program, used to assess the energy consumption and GHG generated in specific buildings, based on square footage.

List of Acronyms

CACP                        Clean Air and Climate Protection (software)

CA-CP                       Clean Air-Cool Planet

EPA                            Environmental Protection Agency

GHG                          Greenhouse Gas

kBtu                          Kilo British Thermal Units

MMBtu                   Million British Thermal Units

SWRPC                    Southwest Region Planning Commission

Appendix C: Case Study of Temple, NH

TEMPLE, NEW HAMPSHIRE: Since establishing the Temple Economical Energy Committee (TEEC) in 2007, Temple has become a model of the growing movement to invest in community-level efforts to save energy costs and address climate change issues.


Temple was prompted to take action on energy through the climate change resolution at the 2007 Town Meeting. The Temple Economical Energy Committee was established as a result of the town passing the resolution. From its inception, the TEEC aimed to reduce energy use among Temple residents as well as within the municipal operations. They used the Smart Start Program from Public Service of New Hampshire to install energy efficient lighting in municipal buildings and they set up a booth at the Community Harvest Festival to educate residents about energy conservation and give out energy efficient CFL light bulbs. The TEEC has continued to deepen its relationship with the community by participating in major community events and providing recycling services.

Measure in Order to Manage

In the winter of 2008, the TEEC conducted a baseline inventory of energy use by Temple’s municipal structures and operations for the year 2005. While the TEEC began the data collection necessary to complete the baseline inventory study of the municipality, the inventory process itself afforded the TEEC opportunities to make important connections with department heads, selectmen, and municipal staff. The inventory used Clean Air and Climate Protection Software from ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and Portfolio Manager benchmarking software from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to compare energy use, energy cost, and emissions across the municipal sectors (buildings, vehicle fleet, street lighting, and water/sewage) as well as among buildings. The energy intensity of individual buildings was also assessed and compared to regional and national averages.

Board of Selectmen and Planning Board

The inventory allowed the TEEC to identify priority areas to address within the town’s operations. The TEEC completed an inventory report and presented the inventory results to the Board of Selectmen. The report pointed out that two of the town’s four buildings, the Municipal Building and the Library, appeared to be the highest priorities for energy-saving projects. In the spring of 2008, the selectmen agreed with the TEEC’s recommendation to have these two buildings receive in-depth energy audits, and the selectmen allocated funds for the audits.

Temple also elected to audit their town’s master plan and land use regulations. This Land Use and Energy Policy Audit process identified the inconsistencies, from an energy perspective, between the Master Plan, Zoning, Site Plan and Subdivision Regulations. The purpose of conducting an audit of a community’s planning documents and land use regulations is to ensure that future land use and associated recommendations in the Master Plan can actually be implemented under the existing regulations. This audit goes a step further and identifies energy and land use related issues that should be addressed in a future Master Plan update and regulatory changes that should be pursued. The policy audit findings were presented at a shared meeting of the Planning Board and the TEEC in February of 2009. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Planning Board invited the TEEC to meet again to begin addressing the findings of the policy audit which will include drafting an Energy Chapter for the Master Plan and adopting changes to local land use regulations. A draft Energy Chapter was completed by Clean Air Cool Planet for Temple and is under review and revision by the TEEC.

Throughout the fall of 2008, the TEEC coordinated a number of presentations and meetings to share and discuss the results of the inventory and building audits with the Board of Selectmen and citizens of Temple. The result of the policy audit was presented to the Planning Board as well and is scheduled for additional public workshops with Temple citizens for fall 2009. Based on results from the building energy audits, the TEEC in January of 2009 made formal recommendations to the Board of Selectmen to retrofit the Municipal Building and the Library to improve energy efficiency and conservation. The selectmen approved the recommendations, but the town did not have the funds necessary to support the work.

Careful Measurements and Planning Leads to Major Funding

With the inventory, building audits and policy audit as a foundation, the town of Temple submitted a proposal to the NH Public Utilities Commission for funds to complete the retrofits to the two municipal buildings, weatherize homes of low-income residents, educate residents about energy conservation, and run a pilot recycling project in the elementary school.

The proposal was among 84 very strong proposals submitted to the PUC. Temple’s proposal stood out because the early efforts to create inventories and set realistic goals, based on solid data, demonstrated their readiness to successfully complete their proposed program. This summer they were fully funded at $332,000.

Once Temple’s municipal retrofits are completed, the same software tools used in the first inventory will be used again to assess the savings in energy usage, carbon emissions, and financial costs. Even as early projects are completed, the TEEC and its supporters will continue to build on their successes, identifying deeper levels of energy saving opportunities, pursuing them, and measuring the results. Recommendations from the policy audit can provide residents with significant future energy and greenhouse gas reductions.

Appendix D: Participant Packet for Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gatherings

Monadnock Energy and Climate Strategies

Strategy 1: Save Money by Eliminating Energy Waste in Buildings

Approach a: Raise Energy Efficiency Standards in New Buildings

Potential Ideas: Revise local building codes and standards; offer energy efficiency incentives

Advantages: Long term energy cost savings

Challenges: Politics of changing ordinances and codes; increase in initial building costs

  • If every new building in our region were built 30% more efficiently
    • by 2025 we would save $45 million
    • by 2050 we would save $100 million
  • If every new building in our region were built 70% more efficiently
    • by 2025 we would save $55 million
    • by 2050 we would save over $200 million*


Approach b: Improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

Potential Ideas: Support, information and incentives for energy efficient renovations

Advantages: Significant future cost savings

Challenges: Possible barriers when retrofitting and possible rise in property taxes

  • If just 1170 homes a year were made 30% more efficient
    • By 2025 we would save $28 million a year
  • If just 2340 homes a year were made 30% more efficient
    • By 2025 we would save $65 million a year
  • In either case, by 2050 we would save over $70 million a year*


Approach c: Encourage Energy Efficient Technology in All Buildings

Potential Ideas: Make lots of information available on money saved with energy efficient appliances

Advantages: Long term cost savings

Challenges: High-efficiency equipmentis more expensive at first


Approach d: Help Building Managers Increase Energy Efficiency in Commercial Buildings

Potential Ideas: Have every building assign an energy manager

Advantages: The commercial savings can be passed down to consumers

Challenges: It can be hard to take time and staff away from regular work


Approach e: Help Everyone to Save Energy and Money in their Homes

Potential Ideas: Inform the public of easy energy saving methods through schools, churches, civic groups and other community organizations

Advantages: Everyone in the region saves money on heating, cooling and lighting their homes

Challenges: It may take time and money to get information out to people


Strategy 2: Use Less Energy for Transportation

Approach a: Increase Miles per Gallon (mpg) in Vehicles

Potential Ideas: Create local perks for efficient vehicle users (i.e. prime parking, reduced registration fees)

Advantages: Increased mpg saves money at the pump

Challenges: Higher initial sticker price of more efficient vehicles

  • Driving 20,000 miles a year and paying $2.60 per gallon costs
    • $2500 for a car getting 20.8 mpg
    • $1677 for a car getting 31 mpg
    • $1486 for a car getting 35 mpg*


Approach b: Encourage Energy and Cost Saving Traffic Behavior

Potential Ideas: Create a no-idle policy; make more roundabouts and one-way streets

Advantages: Less money wasted on gas while sitting in traffic

Challenges: Re-engineering traffic can be expensive


Approach c: Expand and Improve Bicycle and Pedestrian Passageways

Potential Ideas: Plan for more bike paths and pedestrian walkways in the community

Advantages: Reduce traffic congestion, energy use and costs while providing access to recreation

Challenges: May cause temporary disruption to traffic and neighborhoods


Approach d: Expand Bus Service

Potential Ideas: Improve local and between-town public transportation services

Advantages: If enough people ride, bus service saves money, reduces cars on the road and eases traffic congestion for everyone

Challenges: There may be an initial cost to the town; early organization of the bus services may be challenging


Approach e: Reduce Energy Use for Travel to Work

Potential Ideas: Encourage carpooling, telecommuting and 4-day work weeks so people can drive less

Advantages: Money saved and traffic congestion reduced

Challenges: Getting people and their work places on board

  • For each person added to the carpool, the amount spent on gas is cut by that number.
  • If you spend $1000 driving alone, then you will spend
    • $500 when driving with one other person
    • $333 when driving with two other people
    • $250 when driving with three other people*


Approach f: Encourage Growth that Require Less Energy for Transportation

Potential Ideas: Plan new housing in areas where there is public transportation; include pedestrian and bicycle paths to all new housing areas

Advantages: Saves money in transportation and provides incentives for people to move to the area

Challenges: Additional costs and time in development


Strategy 3: Protect Natural Resources and Ecosystems

  • The managed NH forest can offset carbon emissions but many acres are needed. Each year,
    • The average NH home needs 4.7 acres to offset its carbon emissions
    • A car getting 20.8 mpg needs 2.67 acres to offset its carbon emissions
    • A car getting 31 mpg needs 2.15 acres to offset its carbon emissions*

Approach a: Preserve Forests and Farms to Maximize Carbon Storage

Potential Ideas: Create policies and incentives that encourage land owners to protect natural vegetation for carbon sinks and habitat

Advantages: Improve the quality of our air and the quality of our communities

Challenges: There could be initial costs; some people want to develop the land


Approach b: Sustainably Manage Forests to Provide Local Goods and Services

Potential Ideas: Get people involved with the forests and aware of the recreation, timber, energy and ecosystem that it provides for our area

Advantages: The forest supports the local economy and the ecosystem in the short and long term, ensuring that our region will stay beautiful, habitable and more energy independent in the future

Challenges: Balancing the uses of the land against one another will be a difficult task


Approach c: Sustainably Manage Farms to Provide Local Goods and Services

Potential Ideas: Support local farms, farmers markets and cooperatives

Advantages: Less energy spent getting the foods to our region means more money saved for the buyers and sellers

Challenges: Community support


Approach d: Decrease the Amount of Waste Going to Landfills and Incinerators

Potential Ideas: Tax trash and use the funds to support recycling programs

Advantages: Space and cost for landfills and incinerators decreased

Challenges: It takes more time to separate trash and what is and is not recyclable is often confusing


Strategy 4: Promote Alternative Local Energy Sources

Approach a: Heat and Cool Homes and Businesses with Renewable Energy

Potential Ideas: Provide incentives for initial investment in new energy efficient technology

Advantages: Significant long term savings and energy independence

Challenges: Initial costs for new heating and cooling systems are high


Approach b: Generate Electricity at Homes and Work Places (Distributed Generation)

Potential Ideas: Create incentives for residents and businesses to install energy efficient electricity generation systems (like solar panels)

Advantages: Long term energy cost savings while creating little to no carbon emissions

Challenges: Initial costs of installing systems can be high


*The information provided is a summary of charts and graphs that were adopted for this document from other sources and are available to your upon request from your host.

Use this page to propose strategies and approaches that have not been included above.

Strategy 5:

Approach a:

Potential Ideas:




Approach b:

Potential Ideas:





Appendix E: Results from Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gatherings

Results from Neighbors Helping Neighbors Gatherings

Seventeen gatherings were held across the Monadnock region, with over 100 people participating in the process.

Gathering Results

Other Community Generating Ideas

  • Encourage compact development such as taller buildings that are closer together with one shared green space and stores on the bottom and housing on top, make sure there are lots of bike and pedestrian pathways
  • Create a “Solar Leasing Program” where the municipalities set up solar or wind at people’s homes, it still belongs to the city, the people lease, all profits go the city, they make money, the people pay less for energy and energy is greener
  • Barn-raising model: Have local educated people share their knowledge and expertise (i.e. survey others’ houses to see if solar hot water would be viable)
  • Using Micro-Financing for citizens to purchase Energy Star appliances
  • Zip car system – tap into the zip car system and neighborhood vehicle program (TEEC & BOS)
  • Promote local farms by supporting the development of farmers markets and other forms of agri-tourism
  • “Energy Roadshow”
  • ANE/KSC/HS set up contests/test-house where all/most moving parts capture energy (doors, cabinets, etc.)

The following four sections explain the priorities (high-medium-low) that participants in the Neighbors Helping Neighbors gatherings and forum expressed. They were not presented with the four sectors (Municipal-Residential-Business-Educational), however, this section is meant to demonstrate the level of priority participants gave to particular actions, while matching them with the categories in which the appear in the body of the Plan.

Municipal priorities

Participants in the gatherings and the forum strongly supported four actions to be taken at the municipal level to reduce overall energy demand or dependence on non-renewable energy:

  • Provide tax incentives (Property Assessed Clean Energy was named as an example) to property owners to install renewable energy technologies on their properties (such as solar panels, geothermal systems, etc)
  • Create a community-owned green (renewable) electrical power generation project and/or cooperatively purchase electrical power from renewable sources
  • Pass local green building codes and building energy efficiency standards
  • Expand public transportation

Ideas for municipal action that received moderate support from gathering and forum participants included:

  • Assess fees (or taxes) for carbon-emitting activities
  • Create compact development districts (such as the proposed SEED district in Keene[1])
  • Create and/or participate in voluntary “Challenges” that encourage residents or businesses to take voluntary action to increase their energy efficiency (i.e., the Keene 10% Challenge)
  • Create energy chapters in local Master Plans
  • Retrofit municipal buildings
  • Set aside more municipal green space
  • Promote farmer’s markets and agri-tourism
  • Assess areas of the municipality to determine what type of development is optimal for that area
  • Reduce the number of operating days for municipal services in order to reduce energy demands
  • Provide residents with grants to pay for home energy audits
  • Make zoning rules that encourage smaller homes
  • Encourage local schools to invest in energy efficiency
  • Have an urban tree planting program
  • Use biodiesel in the municipal fleet

Ideas for municipal action that received less support included:

  • Educating those seeking building permits about energy efficiency
  • Having a municipal collection of energy efficiency equipment (such as thermal imaging cameras) that could be loaned to the public
  • Make zoning rules that support more home-based businesses
  • Make affordable conference space available to people so that it is easier for them to work out of the home (but have a place for occasional meetings)
  • Start a biochar project at the landfill
  • Provide zero-sort recycling and make recycling mandatory (educate the public about the program)
  • Provide grants and incentives for green heating appliances
  • Ensure the whole municipality has access to the internet
  • Recognize good models
  • Support a ZipCar system and a grocery delivery system

Residential Priorities

The far strongest priority affecting citizens at home is that they should receive and share education about energy efficiency. Participants offered ample suggestions about the social and civic groups that ought to serve as platforms for exchanging information about energy efficiency, including faith community groups, neighborhood associations, local energy committees, and others. Informal adult education could take the form of bringing in presentations, trainings, and discussions that may be presented by non-profit organizations or governmental agencies. Participants named adult education as one of the top priorities to implement energy goals in the areas of distributed generation, home energy conservation and increasing energy efficiency in existing buildings, and preserving farms and forests.

The second energy saving action priority for the residential sector was to support the local food movement. Participants suggested promoting home and neighborhood gardening, municipally supported composting programs, and organizing training (through organizations like the Cooperative Extension) for home gardeners.

Actions for residents that received mid-level support included:

  • Marketing, or spreading the word to people through newsletters, web-clouds, school-based communications to parents, using social networking (Facebook, etc), about how to save energy costs in the residential sector
  • Organizing residential contests, such as the New England Carbon Challenge, or something like “Biggest Loser,” allowing families or neighborhoods to compete to see who reduces their energy use the most
  • Lobbying municipalities, state government, banks, utilities, or other businesses or organizations to provide more financial incentives to make the purchase of energy conservation appliances (efficient heating systems, green energy technology, or geothermal systems, etc) more affordable
  • Cooperatively purchasing green power at the neighborhood level, or cooperatively purchasing home energy audits, or bulk quantities of items such as insulation and energy efficient light bulbs
  • Holding or participating in public events to reach out to the general public with information about energy conservation
  • Organizing and training landlords to improve energy efficiency in their properties
  • Organizing “Energy Raisers” based on the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative model to help neighbors weatherize homes and/or install green technology

Other ideas for the residential sector included:

  • Citizens getting involved in municipal master planning and advocating that the municipality plan for energy demand reduction
  • Advocate that realtors be trained to educate home buyers about energy conservation
  • Set up a neighborhood “lighting watch” and ask neighbors to reduce their outdoor lighting when it is excessive
  • Develop and move in to affordable co-housing communities
  • Create and join a web-based ride share program

Business Priorities

Participants in the community consultation focused less on the business as well as the education sector than they did on the municipal and residential sectors. The action items that gained the most support in these areas were:

  • Engage in cooperative purchasing with other businesses to buy green power, heating fuel, green power technology (solar panels) and materials for increasing energy efficiency in their places of business
  • Increase public transportation. Private transportation companies should increase the services they offer and other businesses should advocate for and support the amplification of public transportation systems

Mid-level priorities in the business sector for the participants included:

  • Advocate that utilities amplify their offerings of incentives for purchasing energy efficient equipment, and take advantage of the current offerings to upgrade the business’ equipment
  • Network with other businesses to exchange information about energy conservation through business forums, Rotaries and other professional networks
  • Engage in a public marketing campaign to publicly promote energy efficiency and tie one’s business in to the efforts
  • Invest in energy conservation research and development and in energy retrofits
  • Inventory energy use at one’s business – audit the built environment of the business
  • Provide training to support careers that contribute to energy conservation including, enhancing the energy-related knowledge of building professionals, construction managers and inspectors, and inspiring and training young farmers
  • Redevelop previously occupied properties rather than using habitat and open space when starting up new business ventures

Action items for the business community that received less support included:

  • Reducing employee travel by encouraging telecommuting and carpooling as well as making affordable space available to other businesses that may need space for meetings
  • (Those in the building industry) help local officials develop green building standards
  • Retrofit the place of business with smart metering and smart systems, such as motion detector lighting, to save energy in the building
  • Get grants to do larger retrofitting projects

Educational Priorities

Participants in the consultation process were interested in education mostly in terms of education for adult citizens about how to save energy. Even when conversations were directed to the education sector, the top priority for participants appeared to be educating parents through their children about saving energy costs at home. With this being the top action item for participants in the area of schools, others that followed included:

  • Installing solar panels at schools and using them as an educational tool for students (as well as energy for the school)
  • Holding energy science fairs
  • Adjusting the school schedule to reduce how many heating days are used
  • Get schools involved in a competition to reduce their energy use or increase their recycling program (compete against another school)

Participants also discussed a need to increase the technical training opportunities in the region to prepare people for green jobs. As noted in the business section, training for building science and inspection as well as farming were mentioned (though it was not specified whether local educational institutions should provide this training).


[1] See details under Municipal Actions in the Plan (p. 12)

Appendix F: Local Resources and Potential Partners

NH Energy Wiki

This is a gateway, on-line forum for NH professionals and volunteer Local Energy Committee members to share information and resources for energy-related projects. It features space for each municipality to share their energy conservation projects, news from the LEC working group, an archive of LEC newsletters, resources for communities working on energy conservation projects and more. For information on how and why to form a Local Energy Commission in your municipality, link here:

NH Energy Committee Handbooks

Volume l: This guide gives New Hampshire citizens a brief introduction on how to help mitigate climate change at the local level. Community-scale activities such as energy benchmarking and efficiency upgrades will not only reduce your town’s fossil fuel emissions and fuel-related costs; they will also make an important public statement about your values and priorities.

Volume II: This volume is provided to help local governments and energy committees or commissions measure and manage their energy consumption. Volume II explains how to obtain your energy data, what tools and software exist, and includes a chapter focused on financial resources available to communities.

Cool Monadnock (CM)
A three-year joint initiative between Clean Air-Cool Planet and Antioch New England Institute. CM is a collaborative community mobilization effort working to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the Monadnock Region. Visit our website for information on energy-related events and resources in the Monadnock region and updates from some of our communities. The Cool Monadnock presentation on the Regional Inventory:

Clean Air-Cool Planet (CA-CP)
Dedicated to finding and promoting solutions to global warming. CA-CP partners with companies, campuses, communities and science centers throughout the Northeast to help reduce their carbon emissions. CA-CP showcases practical climate solutions that demonstrate the economic opportunities and environmental benefits associated with early actions on climate change.

CA-CP Community Toolkit
Community climate solution to assist communities in implementing sustainable policies and projects. This web-based “how-to” guide for municipal staff and elected or appointed representatives provides: step-by-step project guides, important contacts, financing mechanisms, cost implications, and model ordinances.

Antioch New England Institute (ANEI)
A consulting and community outreach department of Antioch University New England. ANEI promotes a vibrant and sustainable environment, economy, and society by encouraging informed civic engagement. It provides training, programs and resources (U.S. and international) in leadership development, place-based education, nonprofit management, environmental education and policy, smart growth and public administration.

NH Southwest Regional Planning Commission (SWRPC)
The mission of the SWRPC is working in partnership with the communities of the Southwest Region to promote sound decision-making for the conservation and effective management of natural, cultural and economic resources. One of New Hampshire’s nine regional planning agencies, The Commission covers a planning district made up of 36 towns and covering approximately 1,000 square miles comprising the Southwest Region of the State.

NH Climate Action Plan

The Climate Change Policy Taskforce, a diverse group of regulators, scientists, business leaders, utilities, and environmental groups, is charged with recommending quantified goals for reductions of NH greenhouse gases. The group has also been further with recommending specific regulatory, voluntary and policy actions, based on stakeholder input that the New Hampshire government, businesses, industry, and residents can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

NH Sustainable Energy Association
Educates NH citizens about sustainable energy and advocate for favorable NH sustainable energy policies.

The Jordan Institute

The Jordan Institute works to implement significant climate change solutions by reducing energy use in buildings. They offer workshops in building energy efficiency, consult on energy efficiency standards, and work with municipalities, schools, businesses, and residents to improve the efficiency of their buildings. The Jordan Institute Presentation on Climate Change Solutions and the Built Environment:

Local Energy Committee Working Group
Provides collaborative guidance and technical support to New Hampshire Local Energy Committees seeking to reduce energy use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions within their communities.

New Hampshire Community Energy Project
Devoted to the distribution and sharing of information. Germinating during the series of statewide sessions for local energy committees, this idea began to take form during the meetings as discussion focused on how to keep everyone informed.

New England Carbon Challenge
A joint initiative of the University of New Hampshire and Clean Air – Cool Planet, both recognized leaders in climate mitigation and solutions. Works to educate, inspire, and support sustained reductions in residential energy consumption.

Carbon Coalition
A non-partisan coalition of citizens, scientists, businesses, students, communities and organizations who’ve come together to advocate for a national energy policy that protects our communities and environment from the ravages of global warming caused by carbon pollution. The website has a link to sign up for the monthly LEC newsletter.

NH Local Government Center

The LGC is a resource for local governments, providing programs and services that strengthen the ability of New Hampshire schools, municipalities and county governments to serve the public. Legal support, legislative advocacy, training programs and risk management services are a few examples of LGC offerings. LGC also publishes a variety of educational and informational materials.

NH Office of Energy and Planning

An Executive Department in the Office of the Governor, the OEP promotes energy sustainability and works to ensure energy security in the state. It offers many energy-related community services. The website is a source of information on funding for energy related projects.

NH Public Utilities Commission

The PUC is the commission vested with jurisdiction over NH utilities. They administer the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) program, funding projects throughout the state to increase energy efficiency and independence.

Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA Region 1 has been an important leader and partner in the work to reduce energy demand in New Hampshire. Most residents and businesses are familiar with the EPA through their EnergyStar program that offers incentives for home and business energy efficiency upgrades and standards for energy efficient appliances. The Cool Monadnock project used the EPA Portfolio Manager Benchmarking Tool to assess the energy efficiency of municipal buildings in the Monadnock region:

Blog: Climate Action

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