The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program was created by the adoption of the Green Communities Act of 2008 by Governor Deval Patrick. Designed as a tool to help towns and cities across Massachusetts toward zero net energy, the program focuses on energy use at the municipal level. A community may become a Green Community by first meeting five criteria elements:
- Criterion 1 - Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities
- Criterion 2 - Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facitilies
- Criterion 3 - Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce use by 20% within five years
- Criterion 4 - Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles
- Criterion 5 - Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction (such as by adopting the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code)
These criteria set the framework for the municipality to help it reduce its energy consumption and provide renewable energy sources. The second part of the program is the grant element. Grants are offered by the Commonwealth through the Department of Energy Resources annually to help municipalities make necessary energy efficiency upgrades or create renewable energy initiative.
Green Communities act as green energy leaders both to other communities in Massachusetts as well as to their own residents.
Through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), ICF International and Horsley Witten Group provided Swampscott (and Salem) with a Green Communities Action Plan to guide the town in its final steps to becoming a Green Community. These two groups also provided an overview of how the Stretch Code would apply to Swampscott.
The Town of Swampscott was designated a Green Community in December 2010. This was a tremendous achievement that took over a year to complete. With the application submitted on November 5, 2010, Swampscott received official word of its designation on December 16, 2010!
- Town Meeting Members - Unanimously passed all four zoning articles at the October 2010 Special Town Meeting. The passage of these articles was required to be eligible for the application process for designation.
- Tara Gallagher - Led the charge to meeting this important goal. An original member of the Swampscott Renewable Energy Committee, Tara departed the Committee soon after the Town's designation to pursue other things. Tara provided some excellent departing thoughts.
Summer 2011 - BigBelly Solar Trash Compactors
- Provided by Mass Department of Energy Resource's Division of Green Communities
- Three compactors gifted to the Town (each valued at $3,500)
- Holds four times as much trash as a standard barrel
- Installed at: Forest Ave ballfields, Phillips Park, Upper Jackson Field
FY2011 Green Community Grant
- Award amount = $143,800
- Award date = March 21, 2011
- Initiatives funded
- Lighting retrofits in the high school and middle school
- Steam trap installations at Clarke and Stanley elementary schools
- Part-time Energy Efficiency Manager
- Project completion = February 2012
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