This coming Tuesday, March 5th, is Town Meeting Day in Vermont, when voters will head to their local polling places and weigh in on important local matters. In Montpelier, that will include a measure aimed at improving Montpelier’s energy efficiency.
It’s called the energy efficiency charter change, and it would allow the City Council to take action to help reduce energy usage in buildings, with the goal of decreasing the city’s overall carbon pollution.
The exact language of the measure is a short addition to the city’s charter that would allow the City Council to:
“(D) Enact ordinances enforcing minimum energy efficiency standards and disclosure requirements for existing and new commercial and residential properties that are generally consistent with State, Federal, and other energy efficiency standards and reporting systems.”
One key action the council would likely consider if the charter change is passed would be to require property owners to disclose the energy efficiency of their buildings when they’re up for sale or for rent, just as car manufacturers have to disclose the gas mileage of their vehicles.
In short, this is not just an issue of the environment and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, but it’s also about consumer protection. The energy profile of a home is a big part of the cost of living in it from month to month, an important factor to consider when buying or renting somewhere new. What’s more, just doing a home energy assessment substantially increases the likelihood that a person will invest in energy improvements to their home, which would result in a more efficient Montpelier as a whole.
Once the charter change is passed by Montpelier voters on Town Meeting Day, and then subsequently by the State Legislature, the City Council will begin discussing the details of these policies, and get input from affected parties all over the city. But for now, it is so crucial that you vote in favor of this measure this coming Tuesday so that those conversations can happen, and Montpelier can continue to move forward into an energy efficient future.