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The Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) invites communities interested in developing local solutions that reduce carbon emissions and increase economic vitality to participate in the 2019 Climate Economy Model Communities Program. A collaboration of VCRD, Efficiency Vermont, Vermont’s utilities and other partners, the program works with two communities annually to help build and implement locally developed projects that increase economic opportunity, affordability, and resilience in the face of climate change. The program kicked off in 2017 and is working or has completed work in Pownal, Middlebury, Randolph and Swanton. A summary of the efforts can be found here.

“Many Vermont towns are grappling simultaneously with two big questions: how can they strengthen their local economy and how can they do their part as a community to tackle climate change? The Climate Economy Model Communities Program binds these two questions together and helps towns identify and push forward projects that achieve both goals.” said Paul Costello, Executive Director of VCRD. “The Model Communities Program also provides an important opportunity to address the needs of low and middle-income Vermonters who face significant financial burdens as they try to pay for electricity, heating, and transportation fuels. Participating towns and partners have rallied together to develop a strong portfolio of local projects. New communities selected for the program for 2019 will be able to build upon this great platform of work as they chart their own path.”

“At Efficiency Vermont we believe that town-level action is key in Vermont's efforts to reduce energy usage and energy costs,” said Rebecca Foster, Director of Efficiency Vermont. “The Model Communities Program capitalizes on this potential by bringing citizens together to develop and implement local solutions. The unified and organized local teams that emerge from this program are strong partners as we work to unleash greater energy savings for homes, businesses, schools and municipalities across Vermont.”

“Randolph had a strong record of accomplishments related to renewable energy development and home weatherization before we applied for this program,” noted Gary Dir who coordinated Randolph’s application for the Model Communities Program. “The Model Communities Program has taken our work to the next level. At a time when we are grappling with some major threats to our downtown, the program has helped to unify us and to get things moving in a positive direction. We are achieving immediate results, but also long-lasting change that is so important for the long-term economic and social health of the region.”

VCRD Project Director Jon Copans released a Request For Proposals soliciting applications from communities that are interested in participating in the Model Communities Program for 2019. Communities will have until January 18 to apply. The RFP and details about the program can be found here.