Energy Steering Committee
- Gerry Runte
Term Expires: June 30, 2022
45 Fall Mill Road
York, ME 03909
Email Gerry Runte
- David White
Term Expires: June 30, 2019
6 Caddy's Way
York Beach, ME 03910
Email David White
- Harry Mussman
Term Expires: June 30, 2021
3 Cycad Avenune
York, ME 03909
Email Harry Mussman
- Elizabeth Kinzly
Term Expires: June 30, 2021
2 Thunder Hill
York, ME 03909
Email Elizabeth Kinzly
A Note from the Chair
In 2008 the York Board of Selectmen signed the US Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement and sent to voters a Green-Building ordinance developed by high-school students that would apply LEED standards to new Town buildings. Voters approved the new standard and an ordinance allowing small wind turbines on residential and municipal properties.
The next year the Board formed the York Energy Steering Committee (ESC) to identify opportunities for energy conservation and efficiency upgrades in Town buildings. The mission of the ESC has evolved over time and was officially revised in 2017.
The ESC mission is to advise the Board of Selectmen on matters of energy policy and assist the Board in reducing York’s carbon emissions.
Under the direction of the Board of Selectmen, this work includes:
1. Research and recommend strategies, policies and projects to the Board of Selectmen that will achieve energy conservation.
2. Research and recommend strategies, policies and projects to the Board of Selectmen that use renewable energy.
3. Provide public information, education and outreach on energy conservation and renewable energy.
The Committee meets with the Board of Selectmen periodically to present information and discuss policy matters. A workshop is scheduled with the Board on March 26, 2018.
Since its 2009 start, the Committee has spearheaded the following work:
2010 -2015: With $400,000 of funds approved by voters and grants of just over $25,000 the ESC undertook an energy study and oversaw energy improvements to the Town Hall, Grant House, Beach Police Station and both Fire Stations. Improvements included attic, basement, wall and pipe insulation, air-sealing, vent louvers, roof fans, LED lighting upgrades and a pellet boiler for the Grant House. Some rafters and siding even needed to be replaced.
The ESC secured an additional grant of almost $100,000 that funded a 28 KW solar array on the Beach Fire Station. When the Fire Department renovated the second floor the ESC assisted by updating the insulation and installing heat pumps powered by the solar panels. The ESC secured $11,120 in Efficiency Maine rebates that were returned to the general fund; and each year the solar panels earn a modest Renewable Energy Credit (REC) that goes to the general fund.
2016: “Keep York Warm” low-income weatherization program was launched in partnership with York Community Services (YCSA), Habitat for Humanity York County, Rotary International and Efficiency Maine. The program received statewide recognition for innovation at the 2017 Efficiency Maine Annual Conference and has been adopted by Habitat as a model for continuing weatherization work in York County.
2017: The LED Streetlight Conversion project was approved by the Board of Selectmen in April, 2017. It is expected to reduce York’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to less than one-fourth current levels, reducing costs by about the same. Installation is scheduled to be complete by September, 2018.
The Energy Chapter addition to York’s Comprehensive Plan was approved by voters in November, 2017 after a successful collaboration of the ESC and the York Planning Board and Planning staff. (see http://www.yorkmaine.org/DocumentCenter/View/1324)
ESC members participated in building committees for the High School Auditorium, the new Police Station, and the Long Sands Bathhouse, helping the committees design energy efficiency into their plans and providing information and resources.
2018: We will be busy with the LED streetlight conversion, but the past year was an important transition point. In the past, the ESC managed special projects funded by voters aimed at improving municipal buildings. In the future, we must foster an energy-conscious culture throughout our municipal organization by structuring energy concerns into our everyday decision-making –- from purchasing policies and building plans, planning and budgeting, to how to reduce our energy needs and transition to clean energy sources. And we must get the tools of making smarter energy decisions out to the public; that’s where the real opportunities are to reduce the collective carbon footprint of the homes, businesses and vehicles in our town. Some initiatives are described below.
Most energy-smart decisions are based on sound design and do not necessarily cost more, or are offset by savings over the life of a building or product. However, if an upfront investment can be shown to produce energy efficiency and more economical operation over the long run, the ESC may recommend the investment and show an estimate of carbon reduction and cost savings.
-We need the participation of all our decision-makers and Town staff as well as citizens to make the new Energy Chapter of our Comprehensive Plan come alive. An Energy Fair for the public is planned for the spring of 2018. Information workshops and training are options for Town staff and boards.
-We are reviewing our ordinances and permitting processes to ensure they are friendly to solar and clean energy.
-We are reaching out to the School System and Water and Sewer Departments to explore possibilities for collaboration.
-We propose an update to the 2011 energy study that would take stock of how York’s energy use has been affected by the work done to date and what the best next steps are, including an assessment of opportunities in the greater community beyond municipal operations.
-We are applying for a Vista volunteer who would work with the vendor chosen to update the 2011 energy study, assist with measuring our energy use and reporting it to Town officials and to the public. The work would focus on assessing the needs of the low-income community, where the impact of energy costs is greater, such as how to make energy efficiency and savings more accessible. The Committee would like to also provide an internship for a York High School or Middle School student to work with the Vista volunteer.
-York is a member of ICLEI, Cities and Town for Sustainability, and through ICLEI, part of the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, a global effort to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. We would like to take more advantage of ICLEI’s resources and expertise to help York reduce its carbon footprint and add our work to the efforts across the globe. Today, towns and cities lead the way.
The ESC is a standing committee of 7 members appointed to 3-year terms, and also welcomes nonmember volunteers who are interested in being involved in a more limited way. Formal decisions are made by a vote, but in practical terms we make decisions by agreement.
Currently there are no openings on the Committee but we welcome you to attend a meeting and get involved anyway – you can participate in every way except when we need a formal vote on something. If you would like more information, contact us. We would love to hear from you and would be happy to come to your organizational meeting to talk about the work of the Committee.
Rozanna Patane, Energy Steering Committee Chair