November 12, 2008

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network Meeting #8 11/12/08 Notes

Project Staff:
Erin Baker-Industrial Engineering, Ben Ewing-Industrial Engineering UMASS, Catherine Miller-Sustainability Planner PVPC, Tony Dover-Sustainability Planner PVPC

Members Present:
Paul Lipke-Sustainable Step New England (SSNE), Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Cooperative (HRMC), Larry Ely-Pioneer Valley Relocalization Network, Jeff Brown-Ridebuzz, Sue Bridge-Conway, Pam Howland, Bill Bickley-Sustainability Coordinator Westfield State College, Suzanne Bowles-Remineralize the Earth, Karen Ribeiro-Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Michael Konig-Westfield State College, Patrick Dufour, Nancy Hazard- Greening Greenfield Co-Chair, Chris Mason- Energy Officer Northampton, David Eggleton, Andrew Glace- Constellation Energy, Lynn Benander- Coop Power, Darren Jones-Coop Power, Marijoan  Bull-Westfield State College, Tom Benjamin, VHB

Each member present shared a brief overview of their organization and recent work on sustainability.


  • 11/22/08 Green Jobs conference/event in Springfield:
  • 11/23/08 Green Rainbow Party Conference in Leominster 9am-5pm; Call Larry Ely for more info or tabling opportunities 413-256-6044.
  • Greenfield completed baseline GHG inventory on 29 municipal buildings using ICLEI software.
  •  If you have an event, article, announcement, etc. that you want published in the newsletter send it to Tony Dover or call 413-781-6045. Members will receive a reminder notice about the newsletter submission deadline. Next newsletter will be out early January.

Reminder: New Members see for background information. If you have not yet submitted your information to the web developer, please email for a member input form.

EPA Grant Effort Updates:

Green Building Decision Support tool DATA- Ben Ewing

Ben presented the green building model of the decision tools. The member questions/suggestions:

  • Consider aggregating numbers for town/city/community or region to compare.
  • Add primer/introduction for users to gain background. Consider audience.
  • Can we look at how choices impact economy?  Lots of interest in community scale impacts.
  • Need to add implementation page or action steps after user calculates sustainability. The “what next” question should be answered with some detail.
  • Ask/Add geographic data about user. Zip code.
  • Next model suggestion to calculate – Transportation
  • Link to other websites that address city scale – so don’t have to reinvent wheel.


If anyone has ideas for data sources, local programs for renewables installation or support, or anything else they’d like to see included in the model, please email Ben Ewing at

Indicators of Sustainability in the Pioneer Valley- Erin Baker

Erin presented update on indicators. She wants the members to go to pvsustain website and look at indicators/rationales/examples; then take a survey voting for your most favored indicators.

  • Looking to have 18 total indicators.
  • The final list of indicators was complied and posted on
  • An online survey (survey monkey) for both members and the general public was drafted to tally votes on preferred indicators.

The member questions/suggestions:

  • Use layman vocabulary for legibility for all users. (Ei.- metrics= measure)
  • Create competition-with prizes- between communities/organizations/companies/etc to potentially get more (and diverse) survey responses.
  • Give examples of measurements or scenarios for better understanding of Indicator.
  • Change title- too long

Network Business- Direction of Network:

Eric Weiss: The network needs direction, and event, or something to focus energy and talent. We are an informational network, a clearinghouse; we need to position the network to move into grants, money, funds for future sustainability. We need to produce something. How can we do this?

  • Member comments/suggestions highlights:
  • Karen Ribeiro- host a “sustainability week” get colleges involved.
  • Larry Ely- We need to identify with lots of organizations not just colleges; get more organizations involved for better representation of sustainability.
  • Suzanne Bowles- Celebrate our region in a way that represents/reaches out to ALL of its members in every class…. don’t just focus on colleges.
  • Paul Lipke (PL)- religious institutions need to be involved.
  • Catherine Miller – We could host an all day professional event and a day for general public.
  • Chris Mason asks “what is the vision/mission of the network, informational…networking?”
  • PL- Both. Informational AND networking.
  • Lynn Benander (LB) – “We’ve jumped into the solution without knowing what the problem is. Members are so busy; this is a networking, rejuvenation space for me”. We need a brand.
  • Catherine M- there over 100 members in the network. Host an annual network 1 day retreat, rejuvenate and share with like minded individuals.
  • PL- Need a working group for funding.
  • Patrick Dufour- Need a business model plan.
  • LB- recruit 30 organizations to put in $1000 a year.
  • Eric Weiss Summarizes:
  1. The steering committee needs to meet in the next couple weeks and finish some of the things all ready started-    mission statement, vision, business plan, etc.
  2. Clarify Identity of Network
  3. Research committees that were started and the members on each (website, steering, membership) and get them to start meeting. This will get folks involved more too and may be a catalyst to get others involved.
  4. Consider forming funding committee.
  5. Some of these items will be on the agenda of our next network meeting in January.

NEXT Meeting—January 14, 2009 TBD (either Northampton -new LEED certified Senior Center or Hadley).

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