RUTLAND — Green Mountain Power and Castleton College, which recently opened Castleton Downtown directly across Merchants Row from the GMP Energy Innovation Center, are expanding their collaboration on community and economic development.
“Since we’ve had office space adjacent to each other, the opportunities to work together, formally and informally, have blossomed,” Castleton President Dave Wolk said. “Both organizations are focused intently on the ongoing revitalization of Rutland, and we have common interests in Vermont’s future that are bringing us together on a daily basis.”
Wolk and GMP President-CEO Mary Powell have signed an agreement specifically to focus jointly on recruitment of new businesses and young professionals, a small-business development contest and GMP’s eHome and eBusiness program.
“While collaboration with a multitude of organizations and institutions continues on a variety of fronts aimed at improving the socio-economic future of Rutland and making Rutland the Energy City of the Future, this partnership will help create even greater focus on areas of common interest,” Powell said. “We have been working very closely together for several months, so we decided we should formalize our collaborative efforts.”
For example, Castleton and GMP officials have been cooperating on and sharing ideas on business growth and recruitment for several months, including the effort to bring Phoenix Books to Rutland. The college and energy company have also begun to examine a host of ways that Castleton could become a model for energy transformation on its campus and in downtown Rutland, where its presence is growing. The Castleton Downtown offices also include the expanding work of the Center for Community Engagement, Center for Schools and the Polling Institute.
“Both organizations see a future that relies much more heavily on locally produced energy, greater resiliency and greater customer control, and we plan to work together toward those goals,” said Lyle Jepson, Castleton’s dean of entrepreneurial programs. “Similarly, we have shared goals on providing opportunities for young professionals and recent graduates here in Rutland County.”
GMP’s eHome and eBusiness initiative is a holistic energy renovation program to benefit customers. Through eHome and eBusiness, GMP is leading the way nationally to help people save money, enjoy greater comfort and reduce fossil fuel use. The effort includes an energy makeover that can include a heat pump water heater, heat pumps for heating and cooling, weatherization and LED lighting. It also includes innovative automation controls to see energy use in real time and allow for control of thermostats, outlets, lights and heat pumps.
“We’ll work together to examine how eHome and eBusiness can benefit larger institutions, starting with Castleton College,” GMP Vice President Steve Costello said. “The college is already a progressive leader in the use of renewable technologies, from small-scale wind to solar, and we’ll look into a host of solutions that can reduce cost, improve resilience and cut the college’s environmental impact. We’re hopeful that the effort will provide a model for other schools, colleges and institutions.”