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2015 News

News items from 2015.

2015 News
Date News Item

American Community Survey Five-year Data

The Census Bureau American Community Survey has released its latest five-year data, with detailed demographic, economic, social, and housing data estimates for the period 2010 through 2014. Data compiled for all New Hampshire towns and cities can be downloaded from the New Hampshire Municipal Data page.



The US Census Bureau has released a new version of QuickFacts, a simpler way of getting data from the Census than American Factfinder.


2010-2014 New Hampshire Housing Report Now Available

The Office of Energy and Planning has released "New Hampshire’s Housing Supply: Current Estimates and Trends - December 2015", showing the numbers of building permits issued by the state’s municipalities for the period 2010 through 2014. The report reveals that total building permits issued were the most so far this decade. While permits for single-family housing units retained the largest percentage statewide, the number of housing units permitted for multi-family construction showed a significant increase over previous years.


Plan NH announces Municipal Technical Assistance program for housing options

Plan New Hampshire, in partnership with New Hampshire Housing, is pleased to announce the creation of a new initiative, the NH Municipal Technical Assistance Program. Its purpose is to provide funding for municipalities who wish to increase housing options for households with diverse needs and income levels.


USDOT proposes to remove restrictive design guidelines that make safer streets more difficult to build

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) took an encouraging and surprising step this week to make it dramatically easier for cities and communities of all sizes to design and build Complete Streets that are safer for everyone by easing federally-mandated design standards on many roads.


Governor Hassan Announces New Hampshire Fuel Assistance Program to Open November 16

Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that the New Hampshire Fuel Assistance Program (FAP), which helps vulnerable Granite State families with their heating bills, will open early this year on November 16.

Also known as LIHEAP or the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, FAP provides assistance to New Hampshire families and seniors whose annual income is at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For a family of four this year, that means an annual maximum income of $48,500. The average FAP benefit for eligible families this winter, based on the federal grant award, is expected to be approximately $650.


Major Project to Map NH’s Landscape Completed

Concord, NH – New airborne technology known as light detection and ranging (LiDAR) is being used to accurately map land surface elevations across more than half of New Hampshire, from Massachusetts to Quebec. This major data collection project represents a partnership between the State of New Hampshire, US Geological Survey (USGS), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the White Mountain National Forest. The project footprint adjoins several areas of the state where LiDAR data already exist with an additional 5,200 square miles along the Connecticut River and around Lake Winnipesaukee. As a result of this project, enhanced elevation data is now available for more than 80 percent of the state, bringing the USGS 3D Elevation Program Initiative closer to achieving its ambitious goal of mapping the entire country in 8 years.


"Button Up NH" Home Energy Savings Workshops

Learn basic building science concepts and the basics about air sealing, insulating, and conservation measures that reduce fuel and electricity use in workshops now through December.


Celebrate ENERGY STAR Day on October 27, 2015!

Saving energy saves you money and helps protect the climate - ENERGY STAR makes it easy. See some simple ways you can get involved and start celebrating.


PUC review of NH's efficiency programs pdf file

As part of its ongoing oversight of the electric and gas ratepayer-funded CORE energy efficiency programs (DE 14-216), the NH PUC has announced a review of utilities’ proposal regarding 2016 programs this Fall. More info can be found at the docket page in the PUC’s "virtual file room."


New! Revised! Community Heart & Soul Field Guide Available

The 2nd Edition of the Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide from the Orton Family Foundation is available for free download. In it you will find: more tools and resources; new success stories; tips throughout that provide helpful, practical insight into Heart & Soul.


International Walk-to-School Day Set for October 7, During Walk-to-School Month

International Walk-to-School Day is scheduled for October 7, 2015, during Walk-to-School Month. It will be the 19th consecutive year for the walking program. Young bicyclists will again be are the focus of Bike-to-School Day and Month, in May 2016. These are the events when when the movement takes on its nationwide and even international identity. Enabling elementary school children to walk and ride bicycles to school in places where they can do it safely is a universal value.


Assessing the Benefits of the New Hampshire Community Planning Grant Program

What would you do with a million dollars?

Five years ago, staff at New Hampshire Housing was asking this question after the announcement of a new Federal funding source, the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program. Recognizing that New Hampshire communities are often hard-pressed to allocate sufficient resources for their planning efforts, New Hampshire Housing had previously made grants to communities to develop housing-friendly land use regulations through its Inclusionary Zoning Implementation Program. Similarly, the state legislature had created and briefly funded the Housing and Conservation Planning Program to help cities and towns engage in thoughtful comprehensive planning and development of land use regulations. At the same time, the NH Department of Environmental Services had led a significant effort to develop a guidebook for innovative municipal land use planning and regulations. Each of these initiatives made important contributions to planning in New Hampshire, and set the stage for the next big idea.


NADO Announces North Country Council as a 2015 Innovation Award Winner pdf file

For 29 years, The National Association of Development Organization’s (NADO) annual Innovation Award program has honored members who have made significant impacts on their regions through innovative approaches to problem solving and program delivery. We are pleased to announce that the 2015 class of award recipients includes North Country Council’s Economic Development Administration funded Business Disaster Planning program.

8/31/2015 NRPC Recognized With a 2015 Innovation Award for the Granite State Future project
The Nashua Regional Planning Commission announced today that they are one of 84 organizations nationwide to be recognized with a 2015 Innovation Award by the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the Granite State Future project. The award recognizes creative approaches to regional community and economic development planning that strengthen regions.

Tracking the Sun VIII

Now in its eighth edition, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)’s Tracking the Sun report series is dedicated to summarizing trends in the installed price of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The present report focuses on residential and nonresidential systems installed through year-end 2014, with preliminary trends for the first half of 2015. As noted in the text box below, this year’s report incorporates a number of important changes and enhancements. Among those changes, this year's report focuses solely on residential and nonresidential PV systems; data on utility-scale PV are reported in LBNL’s companion Utility-Scale Solar report series.


2014 Population Estimates

The New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) is pleased to announce the release of population estimates for the state’s cities and towns, as of July 1, 2014. RSA 78-A:25 requires that OSI produce annual estimates of the municipal populations for use by the state Department of Treasury to distribute part of the revenue collected by the state’s meals and rooms tax. The population estimates are produced by tracking the construction and demolition of housing in each municipality, as well as tracking the population of residents in group quarters facilities such as college residence halls, nursing homes, and prisons.


2015 NH Broadband Report: The Connection to New Hampshire's Future

This report summarizes how New Hampshire’s citizens and businesses increasingly require high-speed Internet access to conduct their daily activities. Broadband is now critical infrastructure for business, education, health care, public safety, and government operations. Every New Hampshire resident, business, and organization should have access to fast, reliable, and affordable broadband to ensure our current and future prosperity and quality of life.


The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) awarded the New Hampshire Planners Association’s Plan of the Year Award pdf file

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission is pleased to announce that it was awarded the New Hampshire Planners Association’s Plan of the Year Award for The Nashua Region: A Story Worth Telling.

The plan offers valuable tools and insight for local planners as they endeavor to implement their local master plan goals and objectives. Using the NRPC Regional Plan as a guide, planners and decision makers are afforded the opportunity to step outside the traditional short-term planning process and to focus on implementation opportunities based on real life experiences.


Solarizing New Hampshire's Upper Valley and Beyond, New Hampshire Town and City, July/August, 2015

Over 300 homes in the Upper Valley have solar power due in large part to Vital Communities' "Solarize Upper Valley" program, which, to date, has produced 1.7 megawatts of solar electricity and reduced CO2 emissions by nearly 1,500 metric tons. Vital Communities is a nonprofit organization serving 69 communities in the Upper Connecticut River Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont. The Solarize program teams up community volunteers with local solar installers to help local residents “go solar.” Their programs address a number of municipal needs, including transportation, local agriculture, local economy, and energy issues.


C-PACE, Coming to a Municipality Near You . . . Soon!, New Hampshire Town and City, July/August, 2015

With unanimous support by both the New Hampshire House and Senate, a dramatically rewritten C-PACE statute will become law in 2015. The C-PACE acronym stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for Commercial buildings. C-PACE enables municipalities to create special assessment districts so that owners of privately held commercial buildings can voluntarily finance cash-positive energy-efficiency upgrades and/or install renewable energy systems on their properties, then tying repayment of project costs to the properties through special-assessment liens.


Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs for New Hampshire Municipalities

New Hampshire Town and City, July/August, 2015, By Karen Cramton
Energy efficiency is widely understood to be the cheapest, cleanest, most plentiful energy resource. Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy reduces reliance on imported fuels, boosts the state’s economy, provides stability, and reduces energy. Municipalities play an important role when it comes to energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. Installed efficiency measures, renewable energy systems, and conservation efforts have a significant impact in local "lead by example" efforts due to community involvement and high local visibility.


"Button Up NH" Home Energy Savings Workshops To Take Place Around the State

Statewide: Button up, your homes New Hampshire! That's the message the New Hampshire utilities are spreading to homeowners through a series of energy saving workshops taking place around the state.

"Button Up NH" workshops are being hosted by local sponsors through - out the state to provide NH homeowners and renters with information and techniques to help them save money on home energy use. Presentations are conducted by an independent certified energy professional. Participants will learn basic building science concepts and the basics about air sealing, insulating, and conservation measures that reduce fuel and electricity use. Attendees will also learn how to sign up for Home Performance with Energy Star (HPwES) - an incentive program run by the energy efficiency services at Liberty Utilities, Eversource Energy, NH Electric Coop and Unitil.

These workshops are being funded by Eversource Energy, Liberty Utilities, NH Electric Coop and Unitil. The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI) of Plymouth, NH is working with local groups statewide to bring this important information to the public on behalf of New Hampshire's utilities.

Locate a Button Up NH Workshop location near you!

If your local group, chamber or town committee is interested in hosting a Button Up NH Workshop in your community, e-mail Robbin Adams at PAREI at or call (603) 536-5030. Also visit, to learn more about energy saving tips you can put into action starting today.


The Bright Choice: Renovate with LED Lighting!

Thinking of cool ways to update your home? Why not start with ENERGY STAR certified LED lighting? Whether it’s new pendant lights or under-cabinet lighting, ENERGY STAR can provide you with helpful tips on how to choose the right lighting options for your needs.


Let ENERGY STAR Show You the Way to Summertime Savings

You may be ready for the dog days of summer, but is your home ready? Cooling and heating cost the average homeowner nearly half the home’s annual energy bill, which makes the start of summer a great time to check your cooling system. Did you know—in a typical house, 20% - 30% of air in your duct system is lost due to leaks? But don’t fret! ENERGY STAR can help you save energy and money while boosting your home’s performance this summer.


Jeff Taylor, former OSP Director, passes away

Jeffrey Haydn Taylor, of Hopkinton, died peacefully and surrounded by his family at Concord Hospital on the morning of Tuesday, April 7, 2015. He was 67.

He is survived by Dijit Tripp Taylor, his college sweetheart and wife of 44 years; his daughters, Hannah, Bethany and Emily; his mother, Betsy Ross Taylor; and sister, Sally Beote; as well as many beloved family members and dear friends. (Read the full Concord Monitor Obituary.)


Jennifer Czysz Appointed Assistant Director of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission pdf file

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission congratulates Jennifer Czysz on her appointment as Assistant Director at Nashua Regional Planning Commission. Jennifer’s recent efforts at NRPC include serving as the Program Manager for the statewide Granite State Future (GSF) program.


New Hampshire’s Five-Year Preservation Plan

The NH Division of Historical Resources is currently putting together a new edition of the state's five year preservation plan. The National Park Service requires this as one of the responsibilities of the State Historic Preservation Office. The plan celebrates preservation success stories, highlights lessons learned, and lays out a vision for what everyone in New Hampshire will be doing to preserve our special historical places over the next five years.

Public outreach efforts to gather data for the plan have begun with an online questionnaire open through the end of May. It would be wonderful to see NH's questionnaire responses reach more than 1,000 (beating other recent states such as Texas and Indiana!)

Public listening sessions are scheduled in Portsmouth on 4/28, in Peterborough on 5/4 and in Randolph on 5/11, and Commissioner Van McLeod is devoting a Commissioner's Roundtable to the topic at the Aviation Museum in Manchester on 6/8. Broad participation is pivotal to the plan's strength and success - the goal is to reflect everyone's ideas and concerns, not just the DHR's.

These public outreach efforts are just the start of putting the plan together. The schedule is to synthesize the gathered data and to draft goals, objectives and strategies throughout the summer, soliciting further thoughts and comments after that. The final document is due to the National Park Service in November 2015.

For further information, contact the NH Division of Historical Resources (271-3483).


May is National Preservation Month

The list of possible Preservation Month activities is as endless as your imagination. You can get started by checking out a list of big and little ideas for engaging in preservation activities, and
a sampler of events around the state.


U.S. Census Bureau Releases Why We Ask ACS Infographic
"Why We Ask," a new U.S. Census Bureau infographic in the Measuring America series, explains the important role the American Community Survey plays in the future of America's planning needs. The survey asks questions about our lives - how old we are, how much we earn, whether we work or go to school, how much we pay in rent or on a mortgage, whether we need assistance with daily routines and more. These 72 questions provide an annual portrait of the nation and our communities that America can use to assess the past and plan the future.

The ACS provides reliable statistics that are used to make informed decisions about the future. These statistics are required by all levels of government to manage or evaluate a wide range of programs, but are also useful for research, business, education, journalism, and advocacy. If you have questions about this survey, please call the Customer Services Center (800) 923-8282.


New Hampshire Coastal Viewer

The New Hampshire Coastal Viewer is an online mapping tool that for the first time brings together new and existing hazards data in NH’s coastal watershed. Examples of this data include field-tested salt marsh data, floodplains, storm surge and sea-level rise information, infrastructure, and culvert data. Anyone with an Internet connection can access the Viewer to make customized maps for planning and educational purposes.


Solar Up NH

The Southern NH Planning Commission is launching a new round of the successful "Solarize" campaigns, called Solar Up NH. Solar Up NH is based on a proven residential group purchasing model designed to bring down the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems when residents sign up for a pre-selected installer's offering. This program has worked extremely well in Oregon, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as the Upper Valley area, and they are excited to bring it to Southern New Hampshire. If your community is interested, please return the required application materials by April 15, 2015.


LED Street Lighting Assessment and Strategies for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

This report assesses the current status of LED street light conversion barriers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. It provides a quantitative analysis of the regional street lighting efficiency opportunity and a recommended strategy to address the barriers and achieve large scale conversion. Finally, the report provides information on activities and progress across the region to install LED street lighting.


The Nashua Regional Planning Commission announces the appointment of Timothy M. Roache as its new Executive Director pdf file

"The NRPC is fortunate to have someone of Tim’s talent, vision and professionalism take over the helm as Executive Director. Tim has earned the respect and confidence of the Commissioners and staff during his eight years at the Commission," said Karin Elmer, Chair of the Commission.

Roache is recognized as an accomplished planning leader, both by the elected officials and staff of Commission’s thirteen (13) member communities, and by state and federal partners. Roache has an impressive depth of technical experience, ranging from transportation expertise to environmental consulting, project management and planning.


Leveraging Broadband to Strengthen New Hampshire's Economy and Quality of Life pdf file

Broadband allows one to shop online, watch streaming video, share photos, connect with friends, manage bank accounts, video conference with people located in other places, and even receive medical consultations; all things that we have come to rely on in our daily lives.

(UNH Cooperative Extension Community Planning Information Brief #7, January 2015)

NH Guide to Residential Rooftop Solar PV Permitting, Zoning and Interconnection

OSI has developed the NH Guide to Residential Rooftop Solar PV Permitting, Zoning and Interconnection with information and tools to assist municipal officials, installers and others with implementing residential rooftop solar PV projects. The guide covers current laws and regulations impacting residential solar PV, recommendations for permitting and zoning and information about utility interconnection. Related tools are included in the Guide's Appendices; a Sample Solar PV Project Checklist, Sample Solar PV Permit Application, Sample Structural Review Worksheet (to be provided at a later date) and a Simplified Guide to Utility Interconnection Requirements.


PB Handbook Updated

The Planning Board in New Hampshire - A Handbook for Local Officials has been updated with changes through the 2014 legislative session.


Wood Pellet Commercial Financial Incentives Available

The Northern Forest Center, a non-profit organization working for rural communities and healthy working forests across northern New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and New York, has financial incentives available to help several commercial buildings in Coos, Grafton, or Carroll Counties switch to high-efficiency wood pellet heat. The incentive is 25% of system cost up to $10,000 and can be added to the state's generous incentive. The Center is looking for high-visibility projects and owners who are willing to share their stories and open their businesses to tours. Businesses with numerous employees and/or high job creation potential are also desirable.The application process is minimal and we can usually make decisions overnight - this is probably the easiest funding anyone can apply for! If you or a property owner you know would like more information, contact Program Director Maura Adams at or 603-229-0679 x114.


ZBA Handbook Updated

The Zoning Board of Adjustment in New Hampshire - A Handbook for Local Officials has been updated with changes through the 2014 legislative session.

Portable Document Format Symbol Portable Document Format (.pdf). Visit for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

NH Office of Strategic Initiatives