Valley News Business Writer
Published: 9/9/2021 2:54:03 PM
Modified: 9/9/2021 5:47:57 PM
HANOVER — Green is not just for vegetables. The Hanover Co-op announced on Thursday a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, joining a growing list of companies and organizations from town governments to automakers in pledging to convert to a green economy.
The Co-op board of directors said it has contracted with Winooski, Vt,-based nonprofit environmental consultant Vermont Energy Investment Corp., which runs Efficiency Vermont, to help “move from individual programs to a strategic process aimed at reducing emissions to net-zero in the next nine years.”
Co-op General Manager Paul Guidone described the plan as “ambitious” because it advances by 10 to 20 years the “net-zero” timeline of many other pledges. He said the Co-op will adopt a phased-in approach to gradually eliminate carbon emissions.
That will include everything from adopting new forms of technology, such as environmentally friendly refrigerants and low-energy LED lighting, to switching out its gas-powered fleet to alternative-powered vehicles.
VEIC will undertake an energy audit of Co-op operations to determine how much energy it consumes and will develop an “action plan” for the Co-op in how to reach net-zero carbon output by 2030, Guidone said.
Guidone said the green initiative will focus on areas the Co-op can control within its operations but acknowledged that there are limited options in what it can do in sourcing electricity from power utilities, which rely on a variety of power systems to generate electricity for the grid.
“We’ll be looking at putting in solar where we can,” Guidone said, noting that, for example, the Co-op gets a $30,000 rebate on its power bill at the White River Junction store for using the excess solar power that is available from the store’s landlord.
“It’s not much, but it’s a start,” Guidone said. “We’ll be looking at all forms of energy efficiency, what can be done, what is practical to do.”
John Lippman can be reached at [email protected]