For Immediate Release - May 24, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Dedham, Milton, Watertown, and Winchester

Green Communities grants will fund municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

Map of Green Communities Statewide pdf format of    Meet the 123 Green Communities

WATERTOWN - May 24, 2011 - During a ceremony today in Watertown, Patrick-Murray Administration officials presented four of the state's newest Green Communities - Dedham, Milton, Watertown and Winchester - with awards to finance clean energy projects. Municipal officials plan to use awards totaling $681,200 for energy efficient boiler replacements, heating system upgrades, solar array installations, and other projects.

"These awards will help these communities, already leaders in their commitment to energy efficiency, build a clean energy future for the Commonwealth," said Frank Gorke, Assistant Secretary for Energy at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). "These investments create jobs, reduce long-term energy costs and protect the environment."

In March, EEA's Department of Energy Resources (DOER) awarded its latest round of grants worth $3.6 million to the state's newest Green Communities - 18 cities and towns from Boston to the Berkshires that earned the designation last December, making them eligible for awards to fund local renewable power and energy efficiency projects that will advance both municipal and state clean energy goals.

"I am thrilled that Watertown will receive these important funds as a result of its qualification as a Green Community and that this money will be used to complete important renewable energy projects," said Sen. Steven A. Tolman. "State support for increased energy efficiency and for renewable energy projects is key to the continued success of Massachusetts' business and to improving its residents' quality of life. The Green Community funds also come at a time of financial strain for Watertown, and for municipalities across the state."

"I'm very proud that Watertown is hosting this Green Community Recognition Ceremony," said Rep. Jonathan Hecht. "Our Town Council, Town Manager, town staff, and many residents have worked very hard to put in place guidelines and practices to reduce energy consumption and encourage the development and use of renewables. The state's designation of Watertown as a Green Community is well-deserved recognition of their efforts, while the grant of nearly $200,000 will create more opportunities for Watertown to contribute to a clean energy future."

"Being designated a Green Community is another major milestone in Winchester's journey to become a sustainable community," said Rep. Jason Lewis. "I want to thank and congratulate the Winchester officials and citizens who provided the leadership and worked tirelessly to make this achievement possible."

"I applaud the efforts of the Dedham Sustainability Advisory Committee and many other committed individuals for their important environmental advocacy resulting in the well-deserved designation of Dedham as a Green Community," said Rep. Paul McMurtry.

The award details are listed below.

Dedham: $179,800 toward a 128.5 kW Solar PV system at the Dedham High School as part of an energy savings performance contract.

Milton: $157,100 toward the construction of a wind project on municipal land and several energy conservation measures, including energy efficient lighting, building envelope improvements and heating system upgrades in multiple municipal buildings.

Watertown: $192,825 for high efficiency street and parking lot lighting.

Winchester: $151,475 for energy conservation measures at the McCall Middle School.

DOER's March grant round will fund an array of projects across the state, including the purchase of hybrid municipal vehicles, installation of solar panels on town office buildings, funding for a municipal wind turbine, installation of high-efficiency street lights, and energy efficiency upgrades. In addition to these four communities, awards were made to Boston, Easton, Gardner, Gloucester, Harvard, Hatfield, Marlborough, Medway, Newburyport, New Salem, Scituate, Swampscott, Wayland, and Williamstown.

There are now 53 official Green Communities in Massachusetts, including 35 cities and towns named in the DOER's inaugural round of Green Communities designations last May.

DOER's Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that win Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

  • Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows "as-of-right siting" for renewable and/or alternative energy R & D facilities, manufacturing facilities or generation units;
  • Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
  • Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
  • Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
  • Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building "stretch code").

DOER calculates Green Communities grants using a formula that caps awards at $1 million and provides each community with a $125,000 base grant - plus additional amounts based on per capita income and population, and for municipalities that meet Green Communities Criterion 1 for energy generation.

In addition to grants, each Green Community is presented with a certificate from the Commonwealth, four road signs identifying it as an official Green Community, and receives at least one Big Belly solar trash compactor for municipal use.

Click here for more information on DOER's Green Communities program.