High Meadows Fund-Sponsored Convenings
High Meadows occasionally convenes thought leaders and practitioners to learn from each other or from research and to seek new ideas and strategies for achieving our shared goals. Reports resulting from research HMF has supported can be found on the Learning Resources page.
May 9, 2016
Residential Energy Efficiency Update: Multifamily and Low-Income Homes
This meeting brought together stakeholders to discuss progress and challenges in improving the efficiency of Vermont's multifamily and low-income housing stock.
March 7, 2016
Residential Energy Efficiency Update: Single Family Homes
This meeting brought stakeholders together to discuss progress and challenges in improving the efficiency of single family homes.
February 2, 2016
Building Resilience in Vermont: A Conversation Among Funders
In collaboration with the Resilient Vermont Network, High Meadows hosted a discussion among foundations, government agencies, and non-profits who have supported resilience building initiatives in Vermont.
November, 2015 - January, 2017
Watershed Groups Convening
High Meadows has awarded planning grants to support resilience-building initiatives on a watershed scale in 6 Vermont watersheds; see more detail here. We expect to bring these groups together three times over the course of the 18-month grant period in order to provide coaching related to common challenges and encourage grantees to learn from each others' work. The first convening, in November of 2015, focused on communications and community engagement.
May, 2015 - January, 2016
Community Based Energy Groups Convening
High Meadows hired Steffi Lahar to guide a strategic planning process for community-based energy and climate efforts in Vermont. Participants from Efficiency Vermont, Energy Action Network, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Sustainable Energy Resource Group, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network, Vermontivate!, and Vital Communities came together to discuss how to better coordinate their activities and serve local energy initiatives.
Reunion of the Thermal Efficiency Task Force
The High Meadows Fund hosted a reunion convening for participants in the 2012 Thermal Efficiency Taskforce, originally convened by the Vermont Department of Public Service. The purpose of the all-day gathering was to provide an update on progress that has been made (or not, in some cases) on the task force's original recommendations and to identify opportunities for further collaboration and/or advocacy in improving the thermal efficiency of Vermont buildings.
March and May, 2013
Overcoming Cost and Confidence Barriers to Thermal Energy Efficiency
We reviewed market research commissioned by High Meadows and discussed ways to improve the experience of energy efficiency retrofits for customers. Further market research may be needed, especially with respect to understanding how to provide greater confidence in the projected savings - a key factor homeowners indicated would make a different to them. A web-based financing platform to support a smoother "kitchen-table" financing discussion between contractors and customers is needed. High Meadows went on to provide a grant to Efficiency Vermont to pay for further market research and pilot a few forms of savings guarantees.
December, 2011 - April, 2013
Transportation Stakeholders Gatherings
These six, quarterly meetings focused on shared learning and networking among stakeholders working to reduce single-occupancy vehicle use and vehicle miles traveled in Vermont. Responsibility for convening these meetings has been transferred to Vital Communities, supported by funding from VTrans.
Seamless Path Stakeholder Group
Information and planning session for a broad group of stakeholders on the topic of home energy improvement. This group stopped meeting once the Thermal Energy Efficiency Task Force was established by the Department of Public Service in 2012. The task force's final report was completed at the start of 2013 and is available online.
Lender Follow-Up Convening
Discussion of thermal energy efficiency financing options and what we learned from research conducted by the Vermont Law School's Institute for Energy and the Environment. Representatives of banks, credit unions, state officials, and the state treasurer were in attendance. High Meadows determined our focus should be on building consumer demand in order to garner more interest on the part of the lender community.
Home Energy Efficiency Improvements Behavior Change Convening
A half-day working session on how to accelerate the pace of energy efficiency improvements in Vermont homes. Drawing from research and reports by the Vermont Law School and the Regulatory Assistance Project, High Meadows presented a framework for a "seamless path" for homeowners to move along, from drafty homes to comfortable homes that are less expensive to heat. HMF also spoke to the current off-ramps from the path; hassles, confusion, uncertainty, and costs. The event focused on establishing a consistent message for outreach, using language that resonates with homeowners. Event speakers also drew on national research and the Vermont-specific marketing research of Efficiency Vermont.
Smart Commute Behavior Change gathering
Two interactive learning and networking gatherings that applied creative thinking and problem-solving to specific transportation-related challenges the Upper Valley Transportation Management Association (UVTMA) is addressing. UVMTA is working to help employers reduce their employees' reliance on single occupancy vehicles with the goal of reducing traffic, parking, and transportation costs while improving air quality and benefiting the environment.
Convening on Behavior Change
As follow-up to the February convening, High Meadows hosted an invitational conference addressing how to move beyond "raising awareness" toward sparking new actions and changing habits, such as choosing more efficient and nonpolluting modes of transportation, weatherizing homes, composting food scraps in schools and other institutions, etc. This event included afternoon breakout sessions that focused on specific case studies based off of actual challenges Vermont organizations are facing related to behavior change. Positive feedback on these breakout sessions led High Meadows to host case studies with actual organizations that wanted help addressing specific challenges.
Community Energy Efficiency Convening
A convening of 80 stakeholders (nonprofit leaders, contractors, legislators, state agencies, energy committee members, faith-based organizations, human services agencies, funders, etc.) to discuss barriers and solutions to reaching Vermont's state goals.
Participants identified the following needs:
- Comprehensive plan outlining how to meet Vermont's goals (move from 2,000 retrofitted homes a year to 12,000 homes a year);
- Public policy changes to support energy efficient changes;
- Easy access to clear and compelling information about energy efficiency; and
- Options for financing beyond subsidies and grants.