From the General Manager, Feb. 18, 2022

Solar panel in parking lot

Greetings from the Co-op! We are excited to announce that this week our co-op purchased two solar arrays that will offset most of the electricity that we use to operate our facility. The arrays are six years old and located in Addison County within Green Mountain Power’s grid. We purchased them in accordance with Co-op bylaws from SunCommon after a six-month due diligence process evaluating the financial, legal, and technical details.  

The arrays will provide us with both financial and environmental benefits. The Co-op will receive a significant reduction in our electricity bills for at least 20 years, allowing us to recapture our investment and more. At the same time, we will be using electricity from a truly renewable source, helping us toward our goal of carbon-neutral operations. (Last year, the Co-op was responsible for 136 tons of carbon dioxide through our energy utilities, with about 10% of that coming from electricity and the rest coming from propane for heating and cooking.) Furthermore, we will be retiring the renewable energy credits associated with the arrays meaning other companies will no longer be able to generate that increment of pollution. 

Many thanks to the council, Finance and Carbon Neutrality Committees, and staff who helped with this project. We are proud to take this step forward in minimizing our carbon footprint as a cooperative. 

With the encouraging COVID-19 trends, we are able to plan for some operational adjustments. We anticipate that beginning March 1: 

  • The Co-op will be open 8 am–8 pm daily.
  • We will resume our normal special order program in all departments.
  • In Prepared Foods, we will offer counter service (made to order sandwiches and coffee drinks and sliced meats and cheeses to order) 10 am–2 pm and our food bar 11 am–6 pm everyday. Breakfast sandwiches will be available on our hot bar while supplies last beginning at 8 am. Note we will not be taking phone or catering orders. 

In terms of our mask policy, the City ordinance is in effect until at least March 9. Beyond that, we plan to use the CDC guidance of 50 COVID cases/100,000 local population. As of this writing, the rate for Washington County is 197 cases per 100,000. 

We recognize that the coming months may be difficult given people’s varying perceptions of safety and tolerances of risk. Of course, Co-op staff and council will stay on top of developments and trends and adjust as needed to provide a safe shopping and working environment. 

Thank you for supporting our co-op.  

Kari Bradley, General Manager