Municipal Energy Resilience Program

The Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP) is a new grant program funded by Vermont Building and General Services (BGS) and administered by regional planning commissions to help communities become more energy resilient.

Passed on June 2nd, 2022, Act 172 (As Enacted link) authorized MERP $45 million to support dependable and sustainable connections to critical municipal services for all Vermonters. Buildings owned by cities, towns, fire districts, incorporated villages, and all other governmental incorporated units except for school districts are eligible for the program.No local match is required for this funding.

The Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP) will provide staff support, application and technical assistance, and funding to help communities become more energy resilient, reduce energy use and operating costs, and curb greenhouse gas emissions by promoting renewable energy, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, weatherization, thermal improvements, fuel switching, and enhanced building comfort in municipal buildings and facilities.

The program will provide the following funding opportunities:

  • Free building energy assessments
  • Up to $4,000 grants for energy resilience community capacity building
  • Up to $500,000 grants for building renovation projects for weatherization, thermal efficiency, and supplementing or replacing fossil fuel heating systems with more efficient renewable or electric alternatives.
  • Revolving loan program to support future retrofit needs beyond Implementation grant funds. This program will be developed following the successful launch of the other program components that have a spending deadline.

A quick review of the program and template selectboard approval language is available here: Template Selectboard approval. An FAQ is also available by clicking HERE.

Learn more about each component of the program in the tabs below:


The Community Capacity Grant application is now open!

Click here to complete the application.

These grants provide up to $4,000 to support energy resilience community capacity building. This is a non-competitive grant, all towns that apply with an applicable project can expect to recieve this grant. Funds granted must be expended by December of 2024.  Selectboard approval for proposed projects is required, meaning any applicant should have approval included in the selectboard meeting minutes. Potential uses include:

  1. Direct mailings to residents regarding efficiency programs, weatherization programs, and/or rebates
  2. Translation of energy efficiency outreach materials into other languages
  3. Hire a consultant or grant writer 
  4. Pay for standing racks to hold handouts on energy efficiency programs in municipalities and hardware stores
  5. Host a community energy fair or similar public energy event
  6. Training for municipal officials/town staff on energy efficiency topics (basics of weatherization, heat pumps etc.)
  7. Host a public informational meeting about energy resilience (provide refreshments, print/distribute materials etc.)
  8. Start an energy committee

To use these funds efficiently applicants are encouraged to develop projects shared across multiple municipalities.

The application is now open, click here to complete the application.

To learn more, review the draft Grant Agreement for these funds.

Free Energy Assessments


Towns can apply for building assessments of any municipally owned building except schools. These assessments will provide recommendations and cost estimates for HVAC and thermal envelope improvements, weatherization, renewable energy equipment, battery storage and EV charging equipment. Two levels of assessment are available:

Level 1: Walk-through assessment.

Time Required ~ 1.5 hours

Level 1 provides a phased scope of work, estimated costs, timeline for the recommended improvements designed to reduce operations & maintenance costs, enhance comfort and reduce energy intensity. These may include improvements to the thermal envelope, HVAC systems, and fuel-switching to renewable heating systems.  Additional analysis and recommendations for siting of renewables, EV charging and battery storage feasibility are also provided. All recommendations include an estimate of equipment lifecycle costs and consumption data.

Pros: Shorter duration, no documents required

Cons: No blower door testing, not applicable for future loan programs

Level 2: Investment grade audit

Time Required ~ 4 hours

An ASHRE Level 2 investment grade energy audits cover all items in a Level 1 assessment with the addition of a blower door test to measure are leaks. During this test, which can take an hour or more to complete, contractors will close all exterior windows and doors and require that traffic in and out of the building be restricted in order to get an accurate reading. This assessment requires the town to provide the following information at the time of application:

  • Electricity use – last 5 years (monthly)
  • Fuel use (oil, gas, propane, wood, etc.)- last 5 years (monthly)

If available, the following information is beneficial but not required:

  • Mechanical and electrical plans, drawings, maintenance manuals
  • Architectural drawings
  • Lighting schedules
  • Reports from past energy audits and a list of any improvements made since
  • Building control system points list
  • Building maintenance programs, operations and maintenance manuals, training programs, capital improvement programs
  • Plans related to the broader facility, campus, or complex (e.g., underground utility lines, property acreage, parking lots)

Pros: Enhanced savings calculations, blower door test included, applicable for loans

Cons: Longer duration, additional documentation

If the town is aware of vermiculite in the building, please be sure to state this in your application because it may impact what level of assessment is available to you.  Covered municipalities may apply for multiple assessments of either level. 

Covered municipalities may apply for either assessment. Both are free and will qualify for a MERP Implementation Grant. Consult with your RPC or technical support provider for assistance in selecting the right assessment for your municipality!

Click Here for a Handout

Implementation Grant

Each municipality can apply for a maximum of $500,000 for building renovation projects regarding weatherization, thermal efficiency, and supplementing or replacing fossil fuel heating systems with more efficient renewable or electric alternatives. These funds can be split across several eligible buildings under one project grant application.


All Addison County municipally-owned buildings are eligible for the MERP programs. Any municipal building that qualifies and receives an energy assessment through the MERP program is eligible for implementation funding. 

To receive MERP Implementation funds the town must comply with the following:

  1. The covered municipality has access to high-speed Internet as defined in the State’s Telecommunication Plan set forth in 30 V.S.A. § 202c or a plan is in place by 2024 to ensure access to high-speed Internet (participation in a Communications Union District qualifies). All Addison County municipalities comply with this requirement through participation in Maple Broadband Communications Union District.
  2. Any building that is assessed is compliant with the American Disabilities Act at the time the project is completed. If the building is not accessible when assessed, the town may request to use up to 20% of the Implementation Grant to perform accessibility upgrades.

Project Prioritization

This grant is a competitive program. However, about $35 million dollars has been allocated for these implementation grants. Therefore, we can expect at least 70 communities (more than 1/4 of the state!) to be granted some level of funding.

The scoring matrix for applications has not been developed but will prioritize communities with high energy burden and low administrative capacity. Additionally, BGS will seek to distribute funds with evenly across the state and with preference for small communities. Beyond these community characteristics, applications will be evaluated on emissions reduction potential, and community benefit.

Energy burden is defined as the proportion of income spent on energy, including heating, electricity, and transportation. The MERP program is using the 2019 Efficiency VT Energy Burden report as the standard for this portion of the priority scoring. The list below shows where your town falls on the energy burden scale.

High Energy Burden

  • Whiting (13%)
  • Goshen (12.3%)
  • Bristol (11.9%)
  • Ripton (11.3%)
  • Orwell (11.2%)
  • Panton (11.2%)

Moderate Energy Burden

  • Shoreham (10.7%)
  • Bridport (10.6%)
  • Middlebury (10.6%)
  • Vergennes (10.3%)
  • New Haven (10.1%)
  • Salisbury (10%)
  • Ferrisburgh (9.7%)
  • Leicester (9.6%)
  • Lincoln (9.3%)
  • Starksboro (9.2%)

Low Energy Burden

  • Addison (8.8%)
  • Waltham (8.7%)
  • Weybridge (8%)
  • Cornwall (7.9%)
  • Monkton (7.7%)

MERP Timeline

The timeline below is subject to change as the program develops:

  • March 8th 2023 – Applications open for $4,000 Community Capacity Grant
  • April 2023 – Applications open for free Energy Assessment
  • January 2024 – Energy Assessments must be completed
  • Spring 2024 – Applications open for up to $500,000 Implementation Grant
  • December 2024 – Community Capacity Grant and Implementation Grant funds must be obligated.
  • December 2026 – All Implementation Grant funds must be expended
  • December 2028 – All funded projects must be completed

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