All around Vermont, communities are seeking to become more resilient and thrive in a changing world and climate.

VCRD’s Resilient Communities Program (formerly known as Climate Economy Model Communities) supports three to five communities per year working on local climate action solutions. Through this program, we provide assistance with community engagement processes, strategic planning and/or project implementation. We have gathered numerous applications as of November 7, 2022 and have lined up work for 2023. At this time any additional applications are being accepted and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Criteria for selecting communities to partner with in 2022/23 will include a mix of following:

  • Energy burden mitigation
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase renewable energy consumption
  • Collaboration, representation, and equitable engagement across diverse stakeholders (including the municipality)
  • Increase human, built and natural resilience
  • Strengthening the local climate economy – jobs created, revenue, revitalization
  • Appreciation that a vibrant climate economy should directly address the challenges faced by low-income household community members
  • Interesting problems that can model solutions for other towns
  • Connection to utility efficiency and renewable energy programming and scalable opportunities
  • Leveraging grant funding opportunities

Eligibility Requirements and Selection Criteria

VCRD will offer targeted facilitation, strategic planning, and project support through direct partnership with a community committee, organization or leader working on local climate action solutions. Resilient Community projects should result in significant energy reduction, address the needs of low-income household community members, and engage partners willing to assist with implementation. Projects must have a place-based community as their focus (an individual or group of town(s), village(s), or other municipal entity).

Eligible Entities Include, but are not limited to:

  • Town Energy Committees
  • Energy Coordinators
  • Other municipal leadership, or
  • Climate Catalysts leading in their community

Basic Eligibility Requirements:

  • Tangible direct connection to a place-based community in Vermont
  • Direct connection to an existing group in that community
  • Commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions/energy use​

Program services could include, but are not limited to:

  • Facilitation and Community Engagement Services:
    • Technical assistance for designing a community engagement process
    • Facilitation of events, meetings or other relevant convenings
  • Communication and Outreach Planning:
    • Communication outreach/education planning around climate economy initiatives
    • Communication strategy for specific populations and stakeholders
    • Identifying and engaging diverse stakeholders
  • Strategic Planning:
    • Strategic planning for a climate and/or energy related committee or organization around a relevant topic such as energy infrastructure or transportation
    • Vision and goal setting
    • Identifying and prioritizing action steps toward implementation of goals
    • Community energy, buildings, transportation, and/or other asset and shortcoming mapping and assessment
    • Community Resiliency Hub strategic planning and assessment
  • Project Implementation Support Services:
    • Assist in developing baseline energy usage and generation data to provide communities with grounding as they set energy targets
    • Funding resource identification and fundraising support for an existing energy project
    • Action steps outlined including partner connections for technical assistance such as municipal building energy efficiency and weatherization, alternative heating/cooling systems retrofits, and/or community renewable energy development.

As an example of services, VCRD facilitated a prioritization process with the Energy Coordinator based at the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and the energy committees of the six towns he works with. VCRD and the Energy Coordinator co-developed a process to focus and ultimately prioritize the joint work for the Town Energy Committees over the next year. After an online survey to individuals that ranked 18 action ideas, the next step was an evening gathering that included robust conversation around the top 10 action ideas. Through an interactive prioritization process, the group distilled the Town Energy Committees’ collective work to focus on the Residential Building Energy Standard and a ​Climate Action Guide for residents and businesses. The Town Energy Committee representatives left the meeting energized, united in their priorities, and with momentum to work together on the regional approaches to reducing energy use in their communities. Conversations between VCRD and this group are ongoing as needed to identify additional access to resources and support for the successful implementation of their projects.

Feel free to contact Laura Cavin Bailey, Climate Economy Program Manager, at [email protected] or (802) 223-6091 with any questions.

“VCRD was an invaluable resource as we worked to prioritize the actions identified in our Climate Action Plan. They helped us thoughtfully determine the two actions, out of a plan with almost 70, that the six participating towns would collaborate on over the coming year. Without their expertise, we would probably still be trying to figure out where to start! Instead, we have begun to confidently move ahead with implementation.”

Geoff Martin, former Intermunicipal Regional Energy Coordinator based at the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission