For Immediate Release - June 30, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Easton and Scituate

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

EASTON - June 30, 2011 - During a ceremony today in Easton, Patrick-Murray Administration officials presented two of the state's newest Green Communities - Easton and Scituate - with awards to finance clean energy projects. Municipal officials plan to use awards, totaling $331,325 for ventilation improvements, building energy efficiency upgrades, and energy efficient lighting.

"With these investments, cities and towns across the state can start to move our collective energy efficiency and energy cost saving goals forward, while supporting our clean energy industry," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.

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, making them eligible for awards to fund local renewable power and energy efficiency projects that will advance both municipal and state clean energy goals.

"Residents will enjoy the environmental and energy savings benefits for many years to come with these energy efficiency and renewable energy projects taken on by these 53 communities that are leading our clean energy revolution here in Massachusetts," said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia.

The Green Communities awards will fund:

Easton: $168,300 to fund multiple energy conservation measures in municipal buildings, including a new energy efficient boiler in Town Hall, high efficiency light replacements in school parking lot, and high efficiency light replacements in High School gym.

Scituate: $163,025 to fund multiple energy conservation measures in municipal buildings, including insulation and heating and cooling improvements in Town Hall.

"I am very happy for Easton and glad that they were acknowledged through the Green Communities Grants," said Rep. Christine Canavan. "I'm always pleased when I see the communities I represent recognized for their hard work and I am thrilled that they now have the opportunity to continue that work."

"I am proud of the steps Easton has taken in becoming a Green Community," said Rep. Geraldine Creedon. "This designation is a testament to the hard work officials have put in to take advantage of the economic and environmental advantages of going green."

DOER's March grant round funded 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 two communities, awards were made to Boston, Dedham, Gardner, Gloucester, Harvard, Hatfield, Milton, Marlborough, Medway, Newburyport, New Salem, Swampscott, Watertown, Wayland, Winchester 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 year.

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.