Sustainability Pledge Benefit

Sustainability Pledge Benefit

One of our core values at Middlebury is a commitment to leadership in environmental stewardship and sustainability. As a way to support this value and to celebrate our recent achievement of carbon neutrality, Middlebury is encouraging employees to reduce their personal carbon footprint by taking advantage of this Sustainability Pledge Benefit. Note that this benefit is available only to employees of Middlebury College.

*For households with multiple Middlebury employees, we will accept up to 2 Sustainability Pledge Benefits.

The Sustainability Pledge Benefit encourages Middlebury employees to reduce their household and transportation carbon footprints by:

  • Learning about actions that can be taken by individuals to reduce carbon emissions from energy use at home and/or transportation choices,
  • Pledging to take first time actions to reduce carbon emissions from a list of actions which can be reimbursed through the pilot program, then waiting for confirmation from us to go ahead nad make your purchase,
  • Taking your pledged first-time action and then submitting an application for reimbursement with proof of the action or purchase.

The Sustainability Pledge Benefit In 2017

Middlebury will offer employees up to $200 towards qualifying sustainability purchases or actions. Employees whose household incomes are eligible for 3SquaresVT benefit can receive up to $250 towards qualifying sustainability purchases or actions (see table below for information regarding eligibility).

NOTE: this benefit is available to ALL Middlebury College employees, including those who do not receive benefits.

This benefit is made possible by a generous gift from a local donor to support carbon neutrality at Middlebury College. It is being offered until the funds are used up. Sometime after that limit is reached, we will assess the impact of the benefit program. A key part of the assessment will focus on whether the employee plans to continue the benefit they were reimbursed for without the Sustainability Benefit subsidy (e.g. renew membership in a CSA (community supported agriculture)).

Middlebury is partnering with Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) to offer you this benefit. Middlebury is part of a larger consortium of Vermont employers who are offering similar benefit projects including: VEIC, National Life of Vermont, Ben and Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, and King Arthur Flour.

How to Access the Sustainability Pledge Benefit

Getting reimbursed for your Sustainability Pledge Benefit is a 3-step process:

1. Review the tips on how to reduce household and transportation carbon emissions.

2. Choose one or more of the actions and purchases that are eligible for the benefit below and sign the pledge to reduce carbon emissions and the specific actions you will take. Fill out this form: FilePledge Form

3. Return the form to the Office of Sustainability Integration, room 111 in the Franklin Environmental Center at Hillcrest. **Wait for confirmation from us before making your purchase -- this is a first come, first served process so submit your pledge as soon as you can!** The pledge has been very popular--while we still have funds available at this point, we don't want anyone to make their purchase without first checking that there is funding left for a reimbursement!

4. Take your qualifying action and/or make your purchase and complete the reimbursement form with proof of purchase and eligibility. Fill out this form: Benefit Reimbursement.

After submitting the form and proof of purchase/action you will receive your reimbursement, minus income taxes, in your paycheck shortly after. Note: proof of purchase must be dated between May 4th and June 5th 2017 to be eligible.

Qualifying Sustainability Benefit purchases

The following lists provide information about qualifying sustainability purchases and actions. Note that the maximum benefit available for each participating employee is $200. Employees whose households receive 3SquaresVT benefits can receive up to $250 towards qualifying sustainability purchases or actions.

Partial Reimbursement

The following items are eligible for a reimbursement of 50% - up to the maximum benefit of $200, or 75% reimbursement up to the maximum of $250 for employees whose household incomes are eligible for 3SquaresVT benefit – see table below for information regarding eligibility.

• Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share purchase. Update: the Middlebury Wellness Committee has made funds available that enable us to provide an additional $50 to the reimbursement for any employee who joins a CSA for the first time.

• Food Hub shares/purchases.

• Membership in a local food cooperative.

• Bulk food purchase from a farmer.

• Seeds, soil, small food plants, fruit trees or native trees for planning and growing for family consumption.

• Composting equipment or service.

• Rain barrel or other water conservation vessel for gardening.

• Clothes drying racks or other devices for drying clothes without electricity or fossil fuels.

• Cost of classes, workshops, etc. related to home gardening and/or eating vegetarian

• ZipCar membership or similar.

• A $50 reward for switching from commuting to work by single occupancy vehicle work to one or more of the following alternatives five or more times over a one-month period:

  • carpooling,
  • biking,
  • walking, or
  • public transport

You will be asked to sign a statement of verification and optional: submit a photo showing you engaged in those activities.

Full Reimbursement

The following items are eligible for 100% Reimbursement - up to the maximum benefit of $200. Employees whose household incomes are eligible for 3SquaresVT benefit can receive a maximum of $250 reimbursement – see table below for information regarding eligibility:

• Bicycles (for the employee to use for going to work).

• ENERGY STAR appliances, windows and doors, high efficiency heating and cooling products, smart thermostats and other energy efficiency products eligible for a rebate from Efficiency Vermont – see complete list of products eligible for residential buildings here.

• Low flow and energy efficient water devices.

• A home energy efficiency audit conducted by an Efficiency Vermont listed contractor – see here for info.

• Complete a home energy upgrade project (example: a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR project).

• Renewable-energy systems (solar, wind, geothermal).

• Electric lawn mower purchase.

NOTE: we will accept a signed contract for efficiency upgrades, renewable energy system installation and other longer term items as proof of purchase to establish eligibility for the reimbursement. We will hold the appropriate amount for benefit payment and issue it when a receipt showing completion of the project is provided.

Not Eligible for Benefit: bike accessories or apparel, bike and car repairs/maintenance or parts, grocery store purchases, butcher’s/farmer’s market purchases, gardening equipment.