Neighborhood Map of forthcoming Hillside East in South Burlington; the all electric, fossil fuel-free homes are being designed and built for resiliency in partnership with Champion Member Green Mountain Power. (Image courtesy of Hillside at O'Brien Farm)

VBSR Member News Round Up – 6/7/23

Green Mountain Power (GMP): Thanks to the efforts of Champion Member GMP, the next phase of South Burlington development will be all electric, fossil fuel-free homes. The company will build the backup battery microgrid undergirding the neighborhood of 155 homes and will install the rooftop solar arrays and Tesla Powerwall backup batteries in every house. Hillside East (the name of the development) homeowners will pay GMP a monthly fee for the batteries and rooftop solar, all part of a larger resiliency goal. Learn more here.

Champlain Housing Trust: The Champlain Housing Trust’s Vermont Farmworker Housing Repair Loan Program is poised to make a difference through renovations. The program makes it possible for dairy farmers to provide good housing for their migrant workers without taking the risk of sinking a lot of their own money into renovations. The program offers loans to farmers who want to improve the housing they provide workers. Learn more here.

University of Vermont and VPIRG: In partnership with VPIRG, UVM’s Sustainability Learning Community visited the Vermont State House recently for a tour and to meet with legislators on climate advocacy. The Sustainability Learning Community is rooted in exploration, environmentalism, and developing a sense of place. Through the program, Gold Member UVM provides pathways for civic engagement opportunities that include environmental justice, advocacy, and education. Learn more here.

Chittenden County RPC and Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission: The U.S. EPA recently announced $7,250,000 from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfields sites in Vermont while advancing environmental justice. Recipients include VBSR members Chittenden County RPC (Winooski) and Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission (Woodstock). They will be a part of the largest investment in brownfields history. Learn more here.

Ben & Jerry’s and Casella Waste Systems: PurposeEnergy recently committed to building a new biogas processing plant in partnership with Champion Member Ben & Jerry’s in St. Albans. The biogas project will produce renewable energy through treatment of organic waste produced from food and beverage manufacturing in Northern Vermont and Upstate New York. Champion Member Casella Waste Systems is also a partner in the project which will sequester phosphorus in addition to other organic content. Learn more here.

Voi Health: Voi is a Mission Daybreak Promise Award recipient, making the health innovator part of a $20 million grand challenge to reduce Veteran suicides instated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA called on innovators to develop suicide prevention solutions that meet the diverse needs of Veterans and Voi’s validated suicide risk assessment tool designed to detect near-term suicide risk was honored. Learn more here.

The Alchemist: The Washington Post featured Champion Member The Alchemist in a recent piece about breweries capturing carbon from the beer they brew. If you took part in last September’s VBSR People.Planet.Prosperity Speakers Series “Businesses Putting Their Waste to Work” at The Alchemist then you got a peek at the techniques developed by NASA that capture the naturally produced CO2 – reducing carbon footprints and the cost of beverage carbonation. Another benefit? Tighter carbonation and a cleaner flavor profile. Learn more here.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids: Did you know Sean Lawson never imagined brewing would be his day job? He was settled into his role as a forest ecosystem health program manager here in Vermont, making beer as a hobby. With that kind of environmental pedigree, no surprise, then, that the company’s focus on people and planet has stayed so strong through their growing Social Impact Program (SIP – get it?). A recent VinePair “10 Things You Should Know About” article sheds light on this and more as Champion Member Lawson’s Finest Liquids continues to pursue their goals of carbon reduction, community support and more. Learn more here.

Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD): CSWD recently announced the winners of their 2023 Recycle Rally Challenge. This friendly competition challenges schools in Chittenden County to raise awareness about resource recovery, conservation, and proper waste management. This year, CSWD also recognized the school who made the biggest changes in their school with the inaugural Changemaker Award. To find out who was honored, learn more here.

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF): A new report puts forth a regional goal of producing and consuming 30% of New England’s food needs in the region by 2030. Commissioned by the New England State Food System Planners Partnership, a collaboration between Vermont Farm to Plate (administered by VSJF), five other state-level organizations, and Food Solutions New England, it outlines the role New Englanders can play in making the region’s food system stronger and more self-reliant. Learn more here.