Spring 2017 Seminar (section A) Explores Energy Equity

Our theme for the Spring 2017 ENVS 0401 Section A is Energy and Equity, and we will be working on four projects in student teams of 4-5 students each.   Our projects focus on inequality, energy burdens, housing, transportation, financing, and associated policy questions as part of Vermont’s rapidly evolving energy landscape and plans for transition to a low carbon future.  Historically, low-income homeowners have not been actively included in efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in the state. This is particularly problematic given that the low-income population faces disproportionate burdens regarding housing and the cost of energy; households below median income spend around 10% of their annual income on electricity and heating fuel, while those above median income spend 5% or less on energy.

Our partners this semester include the Vermont Energy Action Network and Efficiency Vermont.  Energy Action Network is “is an active network of nonprofit, business and government leaders working to transform Vermont’s energy economy by focusing on 4 leverage points: capital mobilization, technology innovation, regulatory reform, and public engagement.” Efficiency Vermont was founded in 2000 “as the nation’s first energy efficiency utility.  Their work advances sustainable energy solutions for all Vermonters through education, services, and incentives, and promotes efficiency as a clean, cost-effective, and local fuel source.”

For full project statements, click here.