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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

Electric Vehicle Sharing In Burlington's Near Future?

Electric vehicle sharing, smart grid technology, a district heat project and promoting energy efficiency across the city - those are the top priorities laid out in Burlington's Smarter Cities Challenge final report released this week.

The Smarter Cities Challenge final report lays out achievable, pragmatic steps towards Burlington’s ambitious, long-term climate goals. -Mayor Miro Weinberger

The report is the culmination of a three-week consulting project held last spring with a six-member team of IBM’s top experts.

The project was funded by an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant. Burlington was the smallest U.S. city and the second smallest city worldwide – after Geraldton, Australia – to take part in the challenge. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, members of the City’s energy efficiency team and IBM officials rolled out the reportand the City's response on Wednesday.

“The Smarter Cities Challenge final report lays out achievable, pragmatic steps towards Burlington’s ambitious, long-term climate goals,” said Weinberger.  “Burlington is fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in IBM’s worldwide effort to make cities smarter, more effective, and more responsive to their citizens."

The report suggests short, medium, and long-term tasks for the city to accomplish in order to achieve broad-based greenhouse gas reductions. Mayor Weinberger said he is committed to implementing the short-term tasks over the next 12 months, including the following steps for each of the four key recommendations:

  • Leverage the Smart Grid to inform citizens’ options and drive actionable insight toward conservation of all important resources by providing a consolidated resource consumption portal, combined with an event messaging system.

    Short-term steps
    Complete the Smart Grid, Advanced Meters rollout.
    Complete the Energy Engage user Web portal rollout, allowing customers to look at their electricity use throughout the month, better understand how they are using electricity, and set alerts to help manage their usage.
    Evaluate options for integrating gas and water meters into Smart Grid.

  • Optimize the McNeil Generating Station by establishing a project team whose goal will be to provide firm recommendations on the most effective future uses of the station.

    Short-term steps
    Continue and conclude the district heat conversation, resulting in a decision about the possibility of implementation.
    Reopen and conclude the biomass gasification conversation, resulting in a decision about the possibility of implementation.

  • Enable electric vehicle (EV) sharing program and integrate it into the existing public transportation system with links to nearby cities, helping to address traffic, parking, and greenhouse gas emissions challenges.

    Short-term steps
    Develop and test EV sharing program value proposition.
    Identify EV supplier.

  • Promote energy efficiency execution through the use of a team of trained community and student volunteers who proactively encourage an increased efficiency solutions adoption rate in City homes and buildings.

    Short-term steps
    Confirm experts to conduct efficiency programs training.
    Train volunteer teams.
    Encourage that more energy audits, both for electric and heat, are conducted.
    Set benchmarks and community goals for energy audits, both for heat and electric.

The IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.  The program assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city's leadership.

Amy is an award winning journalist who has worked in print and radio in Vermont since 1991. Her first job in professional radio was at WVMX in Stowe, where she worked as News Director and co-host of The Morning Show. She was a VPR contributor from 2006 to 2020.
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