EECBG proposal for W MA

Hi all: Thanks for your efforts to develop our competitive proposal to the Feds for $5 million dollars to do more energy efficiency and conservation in western Mass.

Attached is my first very drafty effort.

The directions from the Feds are in italics. Eventually we can delete them from the proposal and they won’t count against our 10 page limit.

Right now I am suggesting we apply for Topic 2. We can apply for both topics—I suggest you all make time between now and 9 am on Monday to thoroughly read the 72 page funding opportunity announcement found at:

And I am NOT kidding.

We have a lot of work to do and PLENTY of time to get it done!

If you can’t make the meeting, and I have already heard from a bunch of people who say they cannot make it, no problem—we will assign you tons of work to do. Just kidding—want to make sure you are actually reading this note. Send me your thoughts and ideas and I will share them with the group—or reply all and send them to everyone.

Have a nice productive weekend. And feel free to invite people to our meetings who can make our grant proposal better.


Catherine M. Ratté
Principal Planner-Sustainability
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

street address:
60 Congress Street

Springfield, MA 01104-3419

November 18, 2009

PVSN Meeting:
Wed, Nov. 18, 2009 
Location: Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton MA (next to Woodstar)

Meeting Agenda:
8:00-Breakfast and informal networking
-Formal Networking
9:00 First Class Networking Software Presentation/Discussion
10:15 EPA Project Update–Indicators of Sustainability

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
November 18, 2009 Meeting Minutes
Media Education Foundation (MEF) Hampshire Co–Northampton

Present: Catherine Ratté-PVPC, Nancy Hazard-Greening Greenfield and World Sustain, Paul Lipke-Health Care Without Harm, Rich Roth-Earththrives, Richart Keller-new to region, Planner, Craig Marden-HAP Housing, Jono Neoiger-Conway School, Regenerative Design and W. MA Permaculture Guild, Meg Vickery-guest curator of Sustainability show at UMASS, Rochelle Prunty-River Valley Market, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative, Patrick Dufour, Kirsten Bonanza- Earthrives, Rose Zdybel-UMASS, Sue Bridge (Conway Board of Health), Jeff Rosen-PV Eats and Solidago Foundation,  Rick Taupier (UMASS -), Sandhya Sundararagaran (UMASS Graduate Student – Indicators), Tom Rossmassler-now with Energia-new worker owned Energy Service Company in Holyoke

Informal Networking 8-9am:
Following the informal networking between members, network chair Eric called the meeting to order.  The meeting began with each member sharing a brief overview of their organization and their work on sustainability

Member Updates:

Karen Ribeiro-working with Partners for Greener Building-women owned cooperative getting started in Westfield.

Meg Vickery-“Greening the Valley-sustainable architecture in the Pioneer Valey” opens on 2/10, including a “green Lounge” designed by Lorin Starr and another architect to showcase green building materials.

Rick Kellart-moved to Valley from Providence to PV co-housing, has worked as a land use planner among many other professions-securing certification from BPI-Building Performance Indicators, has done energy auditing, worked with low income populations on housing issues, and on solid waste and recycling-also has experience with indicator projects with the Annie E. Casey foundation

Jeff Brown-Ridebuzz-still working to get more people into fewer cars. One empty seat to the sun every 2 days! Promoting individual ride-sharing and also ride-sharing to events.

Craig Marden-HAP Housing The big green affordable housing project funded by MTC is winding done-ends in June 2010. He is teaching an energy efficiency course at UMASS and also working with the Putnam Voc tech school in Springfield showing students how to do energy efficiency retrofits.

Patrick Dufour-psychologist in the Valley committed to collaborative work


Jono Neiger-Conway School of Sustainable Design and W. MA Permaculture Guild and Permaculture Institute of New England (PINE)-starting a demo/training center on a piece of land and it might be in our region…

Sue Bridge-Conway Board of Health and local sustainability activist. Over 3 years has taken 8 scruffy acres and built an off-grid cottage, 1000 sq ft, very light and sunny, electricity and heat from the sun with a little wood back up, radiant heat and 1.5 years in an edible landscape. Town-using a community action fund to help people in lower 1/3 of income scale to make their properties more energy efficient.

Sandhya-mechanical engineering major working on her thesis evaluating potential electricity storage facilities and is working on sustainability indicators for Network. Previously worked with CEERE performing energy audits.

Eric Weiss-Chair of Network-works at Hill Town Resource Management Collaborative (HRMC), 10 towns in Hampshire and Franklin counties collaborating on solid waste and recycling and now branching out to include all sustainability issues. New Hingham school looking at siting a wind turbine at the school

Rochelle Prunty-River Valley Market-open for 1.5 years-working to enhance the local food system with a sustainable business-have solar PV.

Betsy Powers-also with River Valley Market

Kirsten Bonanza-sustainability consultant in the area-just completed Master’s in Sustainable communications and socially responsible business-eager to co-create sustainable solutions

Rose Zdybel-PhD student in Industrial Engineering with a focus on operations research with Professor Erin Baker, working to finish green building decision support tool.

Catherine: spending a lot of time facilitating regional application to Feds for competitive Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds and also helping member municipalities apply for state administered EECBG funds. PVPC is working on commuter rail, getting bikes on buses in Hamdpen county, helping Hilltowns apply for CDBG funds, doing Master Plans in member municipalities and promoting smart growth and balanced transportation.


Sustainable Step New England (SSNE) is officially closing its doors

The Network will have its First annual Member’s Only retreat/dinner on 12/2/09-with guest speaker Woody Tasch-one of the founders of the “slow Money” movement.

Network Work:

Presentation on First Class-Patrick Dufour walked members through a demonstration of the capabilities of First Class software to facilitate collaboration. First Class is a tool. Kirsten pointed out that Antioch and Goddard colleges have been using First Class and are moving off them. Goddard is going to use Google groups-it is free. First Class would allow members of the Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network to work remotely together-members present supported the need for the Network to be able to more effectively collaborate between meetings and encouraged staff and volunteers to seek funding to do this (if funding is necessary) Rick Kellart, Jeff Brown, Eric Weiss, Rick Taupier, Kirsten Bonanza and Catherine Ratté volunteered to form an ad hoc IT group to look into the issue.

Rick K. volunteered that in his years of association with the Annie E. Casey foundation they never settled on any collaboration software, but it was and is a perennial issue.

In addition to software to collaborate, the Network wants to look into simulation tools to publish data-all of these ideas are ways to get people to use the web-site, but members present were clear in stating that they do NOT want technology to drive our purpose. We want project-based collaboration.

Possibilities: First Class, Google groups, WiserEarth, Basecamp, Microsoft Project (deemed ‘horrid’ by one member present), Wolfram for simulations, among others….

EPA Deliverables:

Rose Zdybel (UMASS) Update of the Decision Support Tool

Continues to work on tool to make it inspirational and user friendly.

Sandhya Sandararagaran (UMASS) Indicator update

Sandhya presented preliminary data (see powerpoint on web-site)

Member comments:
need to see data description; DEP has muni data on waste-problem is that it is self-reported

If we could it would be great to have previous 10 years along with ‘baseline’ year so we’d have a sense of regional trends

Look into the Sustainable Indicators Network

Town Clerks should have records of “doing business as” to count local businesses???

Catherine (PVPC) update on Skills Bank and Art of Sustainability

Art of Sustainability: at PVPC offices and moving to Shelburne Falls in January.

Next Meeting 01/13/10 at Co-op Power offices in Greenfield


Prior meeting minutes are here Normal 0

Sept 9, 2009

Pioneer Valley Sustainability Network
September 9, 2009 Meeting Minutes
City of Chicopee Department of Public Works

Present: Tony Dover-PVPC, Catherine Ratté-PVPC, Nancy Hazard-Greening Greenfield and World Sustain, Eric Weiss-Hilltown Resource Management Collaborative, Patrick Dufour, Kirsten Bonanza- Earthrives, Rose Zdybel-UMASS, Andrew Glace- Long Island Energy Partners, Sue Bridge (Conway Board of Health), Rudy Perkins (Publisher Sustenance Today website & Project Manager Affordable Housing development organization) Madeleine Charney (UMASS Librarian- Co-host Program ), David Mager (Author-writer), Sara Holmes (recent Environmental Studies Graduate),  Marcia Eagleson (Worcester State University), John Engel (Life Migrations),  Rick Taupier (UMASS -), Sandhya Sundararagaran (UMASS Graduate Student – Indicators), Tom Rossmassler (HAP), Jim Barry (DOER Regional Coordinator)

Informal Networking 8-9am:
Following the informal networking between members, network chair Eric called the meeting to order.  The meeting began with each member sharing a brief overview of their organization and their work on sustainability

Member Updates:

Nancy Hazard: Greening Greenfield- Greenfield has new Mayor who seems to be pro sustainability issues- too early to know for sure. GG applied for EPA “Communities Showcase grant” (not funded). GG website has been updated/completed and ICLEI inventory is now posted and available online.

Jim Barry: met with Greenfield Mayor and the city, along with all the other western MA municipalities he has met with so far, wants to become the 1st green community in commonwealth. Jim is the newly appointed DOER western mass regional coordinator for Green Communities providing assistance/outreach to municipalities.

Andrew Glace (formerly with Constellation Energy)- has started a new ESCO. Located in Amherst.

Sarah: just graduated from Environmental Studies program and looking to get involved.

Kirsten:  working with Earthrives to offer website access to environmental groups; Collecting articles, events, and press releases about sustainability and posting on want to be a clearinghouse for sustainability organizations/ issues/news/events.

Sue:  more of the same: still working on zero energy home and 7-8 acres of Permaculture landscaping.

David Mager: Writing book” Street smart sustainability…” looking for stories on sustainability being cost effective.

Madeleine Charney: works at UMASS library- research – offers her services of research and resources to the network members. She just started a sustainability list serve passed around signup sheet if interested in joining. Co-host of radio program Farm to Fork-about local food and agriculture; broadcasted every other Tuesday 6:30-7:30pm on 103.3 FM- Valley free radio.

Rudy Perkins:  Has published a new website that tackles what it will take to sustain regions for long term.  Researches new experiments and innovative thinking about sustainability.

Marcia Eagelson: significant activity happening at the Worcester State-here to see what’s happening next door.

Catherine and Tony: PVPC facilitating regional performance contract with interested member communities to engage services of an Energy Services Company-11 municipalities are participating with 2 regional school districts. Also providing Green Communities assistance to 10 municipalities to help them meet the 5 criteria to be certified as a “green Community” thereby making them eligible to apply for significant funding from the State to become even more green.

EPA Deliverables:

§         Rose Zdybel (UMASS) Update of the Decision Support Tool

The energy costs have been updated, emissions have not been updated. Currently working on a technical instructions document covering a general overview, usage instructions, and importance of conserving energy and reducing emissions.  Rose passed out a draft for members to review and give feedback. A copy of the draft will be on the PVSN website. She asked that members email her at with comments.   She will be documenting assumptions and link them to citations in Ben’s thesis.

Member comments:
Someone asked when the tool will be available, and was reminded that the tool is up and has been up on our website for a number of months. PVPC needs to do a media release about the availability of the tool as part of the membership drive-outreach and invitation to the Fall/Winter Retreat dinner party/celebration with Woody Tasch.

Someone asked if the tool could be made “real time” with links to data websites updated regularly for actual price of energy etc-and the answer is No! not with the current funding available.

The energy average should be BTU/per square foot. It’s a standard measure.


§         Rick Taupier (UMASS) Indicator update

Rick introduced his graduate student intern who will be working on populating the baseline indicator data- Sandhya Sandararagaran. 18 indicators for 69 communities is very time consuming. Rick underestimated the amount of time needed to collect all the data. It is Important to categorize data by municipality. Some indicators are easily accessible like waste data and others are not- for example “health status” has more than one variable to aggregate and “homelessness rate” is difficult to find statistics.

Member comments:
Combine indicators with the work PVPC is working on for Plan for Progress- contact Molly Jackson Watts. Catherine offered to set up a meeting.

How will network maintain indicators? suggestion- “Adopt an Indicator campaign” – members choose an indicator to help maintain over time.

Once we have baseline send out press release, maybe create competition between regions.  Boston has an indicator project, Austin does too.

§         Catherine (PVPC) update on Skills Bank and Art of Sustainability

She will send out final draft of skills bank inventory to members.

Art of Sustainability: being hosted in Ashfield for month of September and Montague for October.

Network Business:

§         Patrick Dufour gave brief overview of First Class:

It is a networking platform that will give an opportunity to move to a higher level of functionality. There will be a more detailed presentation given at the next meeting-for additional information, members can go to this website: .

Member comments:
The future of the network could be information sharing association not an organization with a specific mission or political stance.

Add bi-line “PVSN an information sharing organization”

Energy falls out between meetings; this software could be a way to keep up the energy.

Function of network is communication. Public facilitation around sustainability.

§         Catherine (PVPC) Update on Fall Retreat:

Woody Tasch of Slow Money Alliance has accepted our invitation to speak at the PVSN’s first annual Fall Retreat.  We’re waiting to hear back on a date (between September – November).  It will be a Cocktail party/dinner for members only. There will be a cost.

Member comments:
Lets plan a meeting before the dinner (Fall retreat) for network business related issues.

Let’s use this event as a membership drive opportunity. “Become a member and attend first annual retreat”.

Membership is on calendar year. Need to finalize membership fee structure.

Next Meeting 11/18/09 (because scheduled date of 11/11/09 is a Holiday) in Hampshire County-may be combined with Retreat dinner…