By Stan Ward

Do you know:

• that there is a compost-powered hot water system experiment currently underway in Fayston? 

• that a study was completed of the total valley-wide electrical energy use for 2006, 2007 and 2008?

• where the Efficiency Vermont "Button-Up" workshops are being held this fall? 

All of these topics and many more may be found on the Mad River Valley Energy Wiki, a new website found at mrvenergy.org.

This new website is envisioned as a community-created "living document" to serve as the go-to reference for energy information in the Mad River Valley. Think Wikipedia, except focused on energy in the Mad River Valley.

Like Wikipedia, the website is intended to be "community-powered" in order to overcome the common challenge faced by many websites and information sources that become quickly outdated with no effective way to update the information. 

In the case of the MRV Energy Wiki, anyone at all can easily update an existing page or create a new article for the site. After some initial editing and adding of pages on the site, Waitsfield resident and town energy coordinator Dennis Derryberry said, "After last night's adventure on the wiki, I'm now feeling like it's very, very easy to use."

Topics covered on the website include grant funding and money-saving opportunities, active energy projects within The Valley, future project ideas for the community, a list of upcoming local events, and information on energy subcategories including solar, wind, energy efficiency, heating, biomass and more.

The website was launched on October 8. Over a dozen people have already contributed to the website. Jesse Stowell, a wind project development consultant who lives in Warren, said of the new Energy Wiki, "It is a central place where people can put their contributions. It's a great start."

As Stowell points out, the information on the website is just getting started.  The Energy Wiki needs wide participation and sustained community involvement to help it flourish and deliver its community-powered vision. Students, energy professionals, energy committee members, town planners, event organizers and energy enthusiasts are all invited and encouraged to contribute to the site.

Interested?  Check out the Wish List on mrvenergy.org to see how to help or bring energy ideas and knowledge to the site.

There will be a live demonstration and discussion of the Mad River Valley Energy Wiki as a part of the next Valley Futures Network Energy Group meeting on Tuesday, November 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wait House in Waitsfield.

Learn more at mrvenergy.org or contact Stan Ward at stan[at]mrvenergy[dot]org.

Ward helps leads projects that combine sustainability and information technology. He is active with the "Localvolts" Valley Futures Network Energy Group.