City of Keene Highlights Efforts to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Increase Energy Savings during NH Energy Week

From the City of Keene Planning Department

During NH’s 2018 Energy Week, March 12 – 16th, the City of Keene will present both the results of its 20-year greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction initiative as well as provide an update on the substantial cost avoidance gains resulting from its 5-year Energy Services Contract with Honeywell Energy Solutions.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Initiative

According to Keene’s 2015 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report, the City has achieved a 25% reduction in municipal GHG emissions from 1995 to 2015 as a result of the City’s ongoing energy efficiency, renewable energy and energy optimization projects. This number exceeds the original GHG reduction target of 20% set in 2004 as part of its Climate Action Plan. Keene’s landfill gas to energy system approved by City Council and installed in 1994 pushes this reduction figure even higher.  The system captures landfill gas, which is about 50% methane, and converts it to usable energy.  The methane gas reductions are particularly important due to the fact that methane is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2), according to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

“Keene was the first municipality in New Hampshire to join the Cities for Climate Protection campaign in 2000,” said Rhett Lamb, the City’s Planning Director and Assistant City Manager.  “Our goal has been to protect Keene’s quality of life and economic vitality and become a more sustainable city.  These same projects have reduced energy costs and strengthened Keene’s economic resilience in the face of a changing climate.”

At the broader community level, nearly 50% of Keene’s GHG emissions are on-road fuel use. Just over ¼ (28%) are from commercial and industrial uses followed very closely by 25% emissions from residential energy use.  A tiny fraction, 3% of Keene’s community GHG emissions are from solid waste generation and transportation.

Notable past projects which have contributed to the reduction in GHG emissions include the City’s Landfill Gas Capture (LFG) system, the City’s recycling program, hydroelectric turbines at the Water Treatment Plant, a geothermal HVAC system at the Public Works Department, the use of biodiesel for the City vehicle fleet and multiple energy efficiency projects.  Current projects include negotiations for a 1.2 megawatt solar array on the City’s municipal complex roof anticipated to reduce 1.8 million pounds of GHG emissions annually.  Additionally, a new 100% post-consumer vegetable oil (biodiesel) generator will begin generating 250 kW to power the City’s recycling center and transfer station this spring.

A summary document of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions 1995-2015 Report will be made available at the March 15th City Council presentation.  The report will be available for viewing and download at the City’s website. Keene’s Cities for Climate Protection Committee anticipates making their recommendations for a new GHG reduction target and additional renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy conservation initiatives to City Council later this spring.

Energy Services Contract Results

Also at this meeting, Honeywell Energy Solutions will update City Councilors on the cumulative cost avoidance gains from the City’s 5-year Energy Services Contract. It is anticipated that the lighting efficiency improvements, building envelope upgrades, energy management system and heating plant improvements along with the existing solar PV at City Hall will show that 683 tons of CO2 were saved per year with a total cost avoidance of $1,484,063.

Meeting Details
The Thursday, March 15, 2018 Keene City Council meeting will be held at 7 PM in Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of Keene City Hall at 3 Washington Street, Keene NH.

Additional Information
For more information on the City’s Energy and Climate Change Program, please visit the Cities for Climate Protection Committee webpage.

To learn more information about NH Energy Week, including the Monadnock Region Energy Forum scheduled for Monday, 4:30 – 6:30 PM, March 12th at Scores Sports Bar &  Grille, please visit

Green Energy Options Seventh In State To Earn B Corp Certification

Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

GEO1-b1ce9c89Co-owners Valerie Piedmont and Pablo Fleischmann have announced that their business, Green Energy Options, recently earned B Corp certification, making it the seventh Certified B Corporation in New Hampshire. Using business as a force for good, Certified B Corps create higher quality jobs, improve the quality of life in their communities, address challenging environmental problems, and inspire others to measure what matters most. Over 200,000 businesses globally use the B Impact Assessment to assess, compare, and improve their impact.

Green Energy Options is an outgrowth of a vision of building a life in harmony with nature that Piedmont and Fleischmann share. They opened their business a decade ago after more than two decades of living off the electrical power grid on their eight-acre homestead in Gilsum. The business initially focused on providing solar energy system design, installation and technical support and selling energy-efficient appliances. Green Energy Options has since developed expertise that led it to expand its business to include alternative home heating products – the best available brands of wood, pellet, and gas stoves; fireplaces, and inserts.

Piedmont, director of human resources, said, “Our five employees work as a team to give customers the knowledge they need to make fully informed energy decisions. We’re passionate about the impact that our business has on improving air quality in our region and increasing the amount of renewable energy produced and consumed. We’re a small business encouraged that, with the support of the wider B Corp community, we can be part of the big change in how energy needs are met more responsibly.”

1555416_10151873746682546_1941514848_nFleischmann added, “It’s not so much about the certification itself; it’s about continually measuring ourselves against its high standards, and those of other Certified B Corporations, so that we continue to develop a better business.”

Green Energy Options draws its customers from Keene and Peterborough, Brattleboro, VT, and the surrounding towns and counties. It recently moved from its 79 Emerald Street location to 37 Roxbury Street, where it occupies a larger space in a renovated building in a revitalized area of Keene. For more details, visit or call 603-358-3444.

Monadnock Food Co-op Goes 100% Renewable for 2018

co-op-staff-celebrating-solar-panels-768x776In addition to the Community Supported Solar array on their roof, a recent LED lighting retrofit, and use of “Polar Power” to pump cold outside air into their coolers, Monadnock Food Co-op also signed a contract with Constellation New Energy to source additional electricity from renewable sources for the 2018 calendar year, and beyond.

“We recognize that Climate Change is a serious threat to our suppliers, both worldwide and at home. From the floods and landslides that plagued organic banana farmers in Peru this spring, to the wildfires affecting California vineyards, and the drought that hit our state’s dairy farmers especially hard last year, the increasingly volatile climate that affects our global community is something our cooperative strives to avoid,” said Michael Faber, General Manager of Monadnock Food Co-op. “I am so proud that despite almost doubling our staff and sales since opening five years ago, we have been able to reduce our overall energy consumption over the past two years. We are also excited to be able to support the generation of wind energy to cover the electricity that is necessary to power our store.”

The Co-op’s agreement with Constellation New Energy allows the Co-op to buy Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from wind power for 100% of their estimated electricity usage beyond that produced by the rooftop solar array. For every unit of renewable electricity generated through wind energy technology, an equivalent amount of RECs is produced. The purchase of RECs supports renewable wind electricity generation and reduces conventional electricity generation in the region.

“As renewable energy becomes increasingly more price-competitive, we hope many other businesses in our community will join our co-op in investing in initiatives like the Community Supported Solar Project with Monadnock Sustainability Network, and in sourcing renewable power to meet their needs,” said Emerald Levick, Marketing Manager for Monadnock Food Co-op. “Working for the safety, security, and resilience of our community in the face of Climate Change will take every one of us, contributing in every way we can.”

More about sustainability efforts at Monadnock Food Co-op.

Keene Runs on the Sun

On November 7th, the Monadnock Sustainability Project created an installation at the Hannah Grimes Center CONNECT 2017 event.  The installation represented our vision for Main Street in Keene:

Recognizing its dependence on energy sources from far away — along with its vulnerability to increasing flooding risks from a warming planet — the City of Keene, NH goes “all in” and embraces Community Supported Solar to build resilience and reduce carbon emissions.

The Community Supported Solar model creates solar business partnerships that retains tax, investment, energy and labor dollars in the community — while providing access to solar to nonprofits, municipal buildings and low & moderate income households.

We’re putting unproductive roofs on Main Street to work, harvesting energy from the sun right here in our community.

Learn more about this model: Community Supported Solar.


Button Up Workshop

Button Up New Hampshire, the popular home energy savings workshop series, is coming to Keene, NH. The City of Keene’s Cities for Climate Protection Committee, the Monadnock Progressive Alliance’s Climate Action Team, the Monadnock Sustainability Network and Southwest Community Services are hosting this free workshop for residents.  The workshop will take place on Saturday October 7th at the Stone Arch Village Senior Housing Community Room at 835 Court Street in Keene, NH. Doors open at 9:30am with the presentation from 10:00am-11:30am. The workshops are being sponsored by NHSaves and coordinated by the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI). To check out the workshop flyer, click here.

Keene-ButtonUp-2017 flyer

RootSkills Conference: Coming to NH in November

The RootSkills Conference is an annual conference hosted by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. The RootSkills Conference brings together 300+ students, community organizers, nonprofits, and sustainable businesses who are working to address social justice challenges and improve community health, community resilience, and the environment in New England. Now more than ever, it is critical that organizers work together to build a shared vision for a more just and sustainable region!

Learn more about this year’s RootSkills Conference

November 30 , 2017 – December 2, 2017


Community Supported Solar Presentation


The Monadnock Sustainability Network is hosting a Community Supported Solar presentation at The Barn at the Harrisville Inn, Harrisville, NH on Thursday, March 23rd, from 6-8 pm.

We will discuss the new financial resource pioneered on the Monadnock Food Co-op.

Locally owned Community Supported Solar expands access to clean solar electricity. Find out how we can increase our energy independence and resilience; reduce our carbon footprint while boosting the financial strength of our communities.

The Monadnock Food Co-op (Co-op) is the host of the first locally owned community supported solar project in the Monadnock region. The 43.5 kW photovoltaic project, completed in May, 2016, is owned by Cypress Community Solar LLC which was formed to own the project and sell clean, locally harvested electricity to the Co-op. The company is owned by a group of local investors, who expect to sell the PV system to the Co-op within ten years.  The company and the Co-op have entered into a Power Purchase Agreement under which the Co-op will purchase all of the electricity produced by the project.

Most community solar projects are owned and controlled by developers or utilities. This locally developed, funded, owned and controlled project is Community Supported Solar, hopefully the first of many.  With the support of grants from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, MSN managed the AUNE research and the formation of the steering committee for the initial project. Then MSN published the NH Community Supported Solar Guide to be used by others to pursue a locally owned, clean, renewable energy system on their school, CSA farm, church or other site in their community.