18 Massachusetts municipalities have been designated “green communities” by Governor Deval Patrick. On December 18th, the state Department of Energy and Environmental affairs announced the status to the following towns in Massachusetts – Boston, Dedham, Easton, Gardner, Gloucester, Harvard, Hatfield, Marlborough, Medway, Milton, Newburyport, New Salem, Scituate, Swampscott, Watertown, Wayland, Williamstown, and Winchester. The new “green communities” have until January 21, 2011 to submit their application for proposed energy improvements.
With the latest installment, there are now 53 green communities inMassachusetts. Other municipalities can submit their application forthe “green communities” label sometime in 2011. Green Communities Act of 2008 abides over the grant program, but the program is administered bythe Department of Energy Resources. Funding for the grants comes fromthe carbon emission permit auctions.
I’m sure most people don’t know what a green community is. You could say these are some of the most committed towns in Massachusetts towardrenewable energy, such as solar installations, and energy efficiency. The Green Communities status is awarded tocities and towns in Massachusetts that meet five key goals including:
- Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects;
- Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
- Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
- Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, wheneversuch vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
- Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feetand all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce life cycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building“stretch code”)
It was thought that only a dozen communities would receive thisdesignation when the program was first introduced. It is a remarkableaccomplishment that 53 towns and cities were able to gain this status in the two rounds of funding. It shows that Massachusetts municipalitiesare serious about encouraging renewable and energy efficienttechnologies and I applaud each of their efforts.
The first round of Massachusetts “green communities” approved in July 2010 include: Acton, Arlington, Athol, Andover, Becket, Belchertown, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hamilton, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Lowell, Mashpee, Medford, Melrose, Montague, Natick, Newton, Northampton, Palmer, Pittsfield, Salem, Springfield, Sudbury, Tyngsboro, and Wenham.
You can take steps to show your commitment to a sustainable energystrategy. Brightstar Solar is a solar contractor that enables ourcustomers to create their own sustainable solar power safely, dependably, and with an attractive return on investment. Please contact us if you’re interested in a free solar evaluation of your home or business in Massachusetts.