Green Communities Designation and Grant Program
The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program has helped 185 cities and towns earn Green Community designation. As energy leaders in Massachusetts, Green Communities are eligible for state grants. Nearly $29 million from those Green Community grants is already at work in 155 communities, with nearly $6.5 million in additional grants for energy projects in the newest 30 designated communities. The Green Communities Division staff continues to work with scores of other local government entities on an array of energy activities: from reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings to establishing power purchase agreements that enable financially attractive renewable energy generation, adopting the latest building codes, and much more.
Program Guidelines and Application Process with associated timelines:
On May 22, 2012, the Green Communities Division issued a Request for Information (RFI) regarding the provisions of Section 10 of Chapter 25A, which requires a specific path forward in order for municipalities served by municipal light plants that adopt the renewable energy charge to participate in the Green Communities Designation and Grant program. The RFI was issued in conjunction with a Program Guideline that provided notice that municipalities served by BOTH a municipal light plant and an investor-owned electric utility ARE eligible to apply for and become a designated Green Community.
Most responses to the RFI received by DOER over the summer indicated a preference for opening up the Green Communities Designation and Grant program to ALL municipalities, regardless of their electricity providers. With the benefit of information provided through the RFI, DOER is considering ways to maximize participation by Massachusetts cities and towns in this program that yields a mix of reduced energy costs and the environmental and economic development benefits.
A city or town must meet these five criteria to be designated a Green CommunitySelect each Criterion below for more information:
- Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.
- Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.
- Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.
- Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code.