On Nov. 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Office announced the winners of the FY’21 “Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Vehicle Technologies Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment” funding opportunity. Included in this year’s round was the Topic Area of “Electric Vehicle Workplace Charging.” One of the announced winners was the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition and their EMPOWER proposal – “Equitable Mobility Powering Opportunities for Workplace Electrification Readiness.”  

Vermont Clean Cities Coalition (VTCCC) at UVM’s Transportation Research Center is one of the 30 DOE Clean Cities Coalitions that will lead the boots-on-the-ground implementation of a new national workplace charging alliance. The work will begin with a year’s convening of diverse transportation electrification representatives that will share experiences, listen and craft a program that will encourage participation by workplaces in diverse communities across America. The project team is receiving $3,970,539 in federal funds while providing over $1,000,000 in cost share from non-federal sources. 

The EMPOWER project will accelerate the interest and support for workplace charging nationwide using a national landing page/funnel and website that will house our tools, resources and information, along with consistent messaging, tactics and coordination with national data and utility partners. This project has a primary goal of advancing employer commitments for workplace charging programs and installations. Secondary goals include collecting and advancing electric vehicle charging research and increasing career pathways in the EV charging industry for underrepresented communities. 

Major project partners working with VTCCC include Burlington Electric Department, Green Mountain Power, and Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission.  

To learn more or get involved in Vermont, contact us: poneillv@uvm.edu     

To learn more about the EMPOWER project, emailempower@cwcleancities.org  


Walk to Shop Program

"Walk to Shop" logo in green lettering. There is a green person pulling a shopping trolley



A people-powered movement to advance a walking culture

                                                      Green Shopping Trolley      Users cross a street with green shopping trolley

Have you seen one of the new lime-green shopping trolleys around Burlington? These stylish trolleys have made their way into the hands of Burlington residents thanks to the “Walk to Shop” initiative spearheaded by Net Zero Vermont. The program rolled out in the spring of this year. Working with their community partners, Net Zero Vermont is offering the trolleys at a reduced cost of $35 to residents interested in making more shopping trips by foot. There are further reduced rates for income-sensitive individuals or households.

The program seeks to support existing and current walkers to travel more efficiently for necessary short trips by walking instead of driving to their destinations. Most Burlington residents live within a 15-minute walk of their nearest grocery store, though many are unaware of this. The trolley serves as an important accessibility tool allowing a greater range of people to make these short shopping trips by walking and having the ability to carry up to 40 lbs. comfortably in one trip.

    demonstrating to users how to use the trolley  walk to shop pop-up event

Net Zero Vermont has held several demonstrations and pop-up events at grocery stores around town as well as at the Farmer’s Market over the summer. People are excited to take the trolleys for a test roll and are surprised by how easy it is to move a heavy load of groceries. Once an individual has decided to take the plunge and purchase a trolley, the program’s ask of them is simple: use the trolley 1-2 times a week to replace a trip they normally would have made by car and then provide feedback about their experience through a survey. User feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with users praising how light and agile the trolley is when filled with groceries, how it takes up less space and is easier to use than larger and heavier metal grocery trolleys, how they love that they no longer must “arm-wrangle” bags of groceries into the house but can easily just pull the trolley inside, and how they’re excited to be walking and feel more a part of their community by doing so. Participants range from those over 50 seeking to make lifestyle changes, to younger people living in small apartments downtown who are interested in more sustainable transit options, to those without cars who are already dependent on public transit and walking. 

The benefits of the trolley for individual shoppers are numerous, but the program is also concerned with the greater impact that supporting increased walking for short trips will have on Vermont’s transportation system, greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, and our communities overall. Walking is often left out of the sustainable transportation planning conversations, but as an efficient, convenient, affordable, and equitable option, it needs to make its way into those policy and planning discussions as a viable alternative to single-occupancy vehicles, so that our communities as a whole are driving less.

When the focus shifts to walking instead of driving for short trips that are 20 minutes or less, a number of benefits and opportunities open up. It creates a more connected active-transportation network and infrastructure, where people are able to safely and seamlessly walk from their homes to shops and amenities, as well as connects with biking infrastructure and public transit for longer trips. Walking creates a number of interconnected environmental, economic, and social co-benefits.

triangle graphic

Environmental Benefits 

  • Contributes Zero emissions 
  • Improves air quality
  • Keeps development dense, preserving open and natural space
  • Decreases fuel and emissions (numbers are national):
    • $575 million in fuel costs saved per year
    • 2 million metric tons of CO2 emission saved per year (equivalent of taking 400,000 cars off the road)

capacity of a single 10-foot lane by mode at peak conditions with normal operationsThe capacity of a single 10-foot lane (or equivalent width) by mode at peak conditions with normal operations.

Economic Benefits

  • Increases foot traffic and shopper frequency to local stores which boosts local economies
  • Reduces demand for new parking spaces 
  • Decreases wear and tear on roadways resulting in fewer maintenance costs
  • Walking infrastructure has low capital investment costs and potential high rates of return

Social, Health and Equity Benefits

  • Expands access to the one-third of Burlington’s seniors who don’t drive
  • Is more ergonomic than shopping bags and doesn’t exacerbate back problems
  • Increases social activity and community safety
  • Increases independence and access for those without cars
  • Increases physical activity for improved health outcomes
  • Improves health benefits and related cost savings (numbers are national)
    • $5 billion in health benefits due to improved air quality
    • $4 billion in avoided deaths and reduced health care costs because of increased physical activity

The “Walk to Shop” program is an opportunity to shift short, utilitarian trips from driving to walking and to increase support for more active transportation infrastructure. By supporting people in making the choice to walk, the program is helping to shift the behavioral and attitude changes that are necessary to encourage policy changes that include walking as a viable and important transportation option that will help Vermont achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and to make its transportation system safe and equitable for all Vermonters.

Building on the program’s success in Burlington, Net Zero Vermont is working to expand the program to more Vermont towns, with Rutland potentially being next. 

For more information about the program, contact:
Stuart Lindsay: stu@netzerovt.org
Phil Hammerslough: phil@netzerovt.org



PBS’ MotorWeek to Highlight Vermont’s Electric Lawn Mowers



PBS’ MotorWeek to Highlight Vermont’s Electric Lawn Mowers

Burlington, VT: PBS’ MotorWeek is coming to Burlington’s Waterfront this Friday, August 14, from 9-11 am to film a feature on the electric lawn mower movement that is sweeping through Vermont.

In 2018, the Vermont Clean Cities Coalition at The University of Vermont’s Transportation Research Center worked with Steven Wisbaum, owner of Eco-Equipment Supply Co., Green Mountain Power (GMP) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to compile data on fuel consumption rates for commercial lawn mowers.  The data revealed that one electric lawn mower:

  • Displaces between 500-1,000 gallons of fossil fuel
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 5 – 10 tons per year in Vermont

Accordingly, GMP developed the first-in-Vermont purchase incentive for commercial electric lawn equipment. GMP’s incentive program helped spawn incentives from utilities around the state for their customers to purchase electric mowers. Since Vermont’s utilities started offering these financial incentives, commercial and residential electric mowers have grown in popularity amongst the state’s residents and contractors. In addition to utility incentives, Vermont State Employees Credit Union (VSECU), a credit union for everyone in Vermont, offers low-cost financing residential electric mowers through their VGreen Loan program. VSECU also offers business loans for electric mowers at 3.75% fixed rate for a 5-year term.

MotorWeek’s film crew will be at the Burlington Waterfront this Friday, August 14, to get footage of the City of Burlington’s Mean Green Rival-60, 36 horsepower zero-turn electric mower, as well as to hear from various users and supporters of electric mowers. Representatives from the Burlington Electric Department, Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront, and Churchill Landscapes will all be on hand to share their experiences with electric mowers. MotorWeek is a year-round, half-hour television show that is broadcast nationally on over 200 PBS network affiliates. The show originated in 1981 and has been on continuously ever since.

Bi-State Electric Vehicle Connector Re-Cap

October 16, 2019

On September 27th, VTCCC co-hosted the Bi-State Electric Vehicle Connector, an event targeting fleets, businesses and municipalities in the Upper Valley of Vermont/New Hampshire, and showcasing the electrification of transportation, technology and equipment. Our Coalition collaborated with Granite State Clean Cities Coalition to plan a full day agenda, including panel presentations, vehicle and technology exhibitions, and more. Check out the event page to review panel presentations and more details from the day!

Nearly one hundred participants shared in the opportunity to connect and reflect on EV efforts and advancements. The vendor display showcased electric vehicles, utility vehicles and lawn equipment, charging stations and solar technology, and even a BYD battery electric bus, for event attendees to demo. Special thank you to our Sponsors and Vendors, Presenters and Moderators, who made this event possible!


VTCCC Announces Nissan LEAF Rebate for UVM

July 18, 2019

The Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, in coordination with the University of Vermont and Nissan North America, is thrilled to announce a rebate of up to $5,000 for the purchase of a 2019 Nissan LEAF for students and employees of UVM. This rebate can be used in addition to the $7,500 Federal tax incentive and other state and local benefits, totaling $12,500 or more in savings on the 100% electric Nissan LEAF.

To take advantage of this exclusive offer, eligible UVM affiliates need to bring (i) a copy of the rebate flyer, (ii) proof of eligible residency, and (iii) proof of current employment or student status at UVM to a participating Nissan dealership. This exclusive offer ends September 30, 2019. See your local participating Nissan Dealer for complete details.

VTCCC Supports Regional Effort to Transform our Transportation Sector

January 10, 2019

On December 18, 2018, a coalition of nine states and the District of Columbia, including Vermont, announced their intent to design a new regional low-carbon transportation policy proposal that would cap and reduce carbon emissions from the combustion of transportation fuels, and invest proceeds from the program into low-carbon and more resilient transportation infrastructure. Find the announcement here and advocate responses to announcement here.

The T4VT Coalition, which VTCCC is a member of, is excited about the commitment by Vermont and other states, working as the Transportation Climate Initiative, to thinking regionally about the environmental impacts of our transportation system.  In Vermont, transportation is currently the least renewable energy sector and the largest source of pollution in the state, generating 42% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Harnessing market-based solutions, as well as fostering regional collaboration, are extremely important considering how much of our energy/GHG comes from transportation, and considering the pressing problem of climate change.

We know that transportation is a complex system, influenced by key factors like the locations of our homes, jobs, schools, and businesses, as well as by people’s socioeconomic status. As a system that we have built over many years, it will take time and strategic investment to shift. 

A cap and invest system could provide some of the revenue needed for that investment. Investment is essential not only for new technologies like electric vehicles and on-demand ride sharing, but also for housing in villages and downtowns, as well as walking and biking infrastructure.

T4VT sincerely hopes this important conversation and process will be an open and transparent one. We look forward to monitoring the progress of this project and to reviewing and commenting on the proposal.

Transportation for Vermonters is a broad coalition committed to increasing the affordability, access, and sustainability of Vermont’s Transportation System. Its members are AARP-VT, American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Vermont, CarShare Vermont, CATMA (Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association), Local Motion, Renewable Energy Vermont, Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club, Vermont Clean Cities Coalition, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and the Vermont Public Interest Research Group.

Summary of Vermont’s Proposal for VW Trust

November 20, 2017

The Proposed Vermont Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP) for the VW Environmental Mitigation Trust was released November 29 by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (VANR). The proposal outlines how Vermont’s allocation of the trust, totaling $18.7 million, will be spent on projects to reduce NOx emissions from mobile sources. The overall goal of the proposal is three-fold:

    1. The first part being to reduce NOx emissions in the most cost-effective way, prioritizing projects that provide the lowest cost per pound of NOx reduced.
    1. The second prong of the goal is to incentivize all-electric or other NOx mitigating alternatively fueled heavy-duty and transit vehicles.
    1. The third prong is to maximize public and private investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure by using 15% of its of trust allocation (the maximum allowed under the Trust Agreement).

The majority of proposal’s funds (43%) will be allocated to replace on-road heavy duty diesels with new a diesel or alternative fuel engine. Another 31% of the funding is allocated to replace diesel non-road equipment, such as forklifts and airport ground support, with electric-powered equipment.  This portion of the funding can also be used towards projects under Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA), which allows a larger variety of emissions sources and projects to become eligible to apply for funding, such as idle reduction technologies.The plan covers up to 75% of the replacement cost for non-government and up to 100% cost for government equipment and vehicles. Since the plan prioritizes the cheapest NOx reduction per lb. rather than considering life cycle costs, new diesels may rank more competitively than other alternative fuels, unless there is a special carve out for them. The rest of the trust is allocated for light-duty electric vehicle supply equipment (15%) and for locomotives and marine vessels to be repowered with new diesel or alternative fueled engines (11%).

The proposal also gives priority to projects located in areas that receive a disproportionate quantity of air pollution from diesel fleets (e.g. truck stops, rail yards, constructions sites, etc.), and areas that are most vulnerable to negative health impacts of diesel emissions (e.g. schools, medical facilities, etc.). The specific emissions benefits from each eligible category (based on current EPA exhaust emission standards for NOx) are as follows:

    • Heavy duty highway vehicles (examples include eligible large and medium trucks, school buses and transit buses) may provide up to a 96% reduction in NOx emissions per vehicle, based on replacing a model year 1992 diesel engine with a model year 2017 diesel engine.
    • Locomotives, replacing the oldest (Tier 0) engine with the newest (Tier 4) engine may provide up to an 89% NOx reduction per engine.
    • Commercial marine vessels, an upgrade or repower of a ferry engine may provide up to an 80% NOx reduction for each vessel.
    • Non-road equipment (forklifts and airport ground support equipment) replacements may provide up to a 100% reduction in NOx tailpipe emissions per piece of equipment, based on replacing a diesel engine or piece of equipment with an all-electric model.
    • Non-road equipment (under the DERA option) replacements, depending on the type of equipment and engine power rating, may provide between a 20% and 95% reduction in NOx emissions for each engine.
    • EVSE installations will promote the expansion of the electric vehicle market in Vermont by providing the infrastructure critical to the more widespread adoption of these vehicles. This expansion will help to mitigate NOx emitted by the light duty vehicle fleet, which is the largest contributing sector in the state. Exact NOx emissions benefits from each installation will vary, depending on utilization of the installation, the type of vehicles charged and the source of the electricity used to charge the vehicles. Replacing a light-duty passenger vehicle with a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) or a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) may provide a 40 – 76% reduction in NOx emissions.

VTCCC has submitted our official written comments on the proposal. Read our letter to ANR here: VTCCC VW Letter

Update 2/20/2018: In addition to the recommendations made in our letter to ANR, we recommend that any VW monies going towards new diesel or diesel replacement has a bio-diesel warrantied engine up to a B20 blend.