During 2015, the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee (MEAC) organized many events to increase public awareness of climate change and to promote actions leading toward a solution. Our goal is to make Montpelier a Net Zero city by reducing energy use and having our energy provided with renewables. Transportation is a big part of our climate impact. MEAC is working to reduce the number of cars in the city and the fossil fuels used to run them.
A series of talks on net-zero homes was sponsored by National Life, the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee, and Efficiency Vermont. This series was very well attended, with approximately 50 people coming to listen to Li Ling from Efficiency Vermont and several guest speakers. At each of these events, a table with literature was provided to share brochures of interest to attendees, including brochures on city-to-city bus service and “Go! Vermont“.
In March, the MEAC sponsored an event specifically targeted toward young adults. The movie “Years of Living Dangerously” was screened at Sweet Melissa’s. Sweet Melissa’s is a bar and local music venue. At this time, CarshareVT was getting ready to start up in Montpelier, so the startup plans were announced before the movie showing. Brochures and informational cards on CarshareVT, city-to-city bus service, and “Go! Vermont” were also made available and discussed.
Montpelier has both a Winter and Summer farmers’ market. The energy committee had a table promoting CarShare, City-to-City Bus transit and “Go! Vermont” in January and February at the Winter market. In April, CarshareVT brought two cars to Montpelier. To help promote this important launch, MEAC had a table at Summer Markets in April and July. In addition we have been writing letters to the editor in local papers (), and contributing to articles to spread the word about CarshareVT in Montpelier. The link to a recent article in The Bridge is .
The efforts heretofore described promote the lifestyle and critical infrastructure needed to address the climate impact of transportation. Car sharing allows people to get where they need to go without owning an expensive automobile. Also, studies have shown that when drivers pay each time they use a vehicle, they drive less. Promoting the use of existing and new public transportation is also important. Availability of public transportation reduces vehicle miles traveled. In Montpelier, these programs also help reduce the need for parking spaces downtown. With continued promotion and outreach in the transportation sector, the Montpelier Energy Advisory Committee is helping our city reach our NetZero goals.