For Immediate Release - October 16, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Holds "Harvest Energy Fair" in Acton

Regional clean energy event included presentation of Green Communities grants to Acton, Hopkinton, Lancaster, Lincoln, Natick, Sudbury and Worcester

ACTON - October 16, 2010 -- Tips on saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy, an all-electric car and a hybrid bicycle, and the presentation of Green Communities grants to municipal officials from Acton, Hopkinton, Lancaster, Lincoln, Natick, Sudbury and Worcester highlighted today's "Harvest Energy Fair" sponsored by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

Held at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, today's fair was the first of two regional DOER events this fall designed to spur clean energy engagement and action at the community and household level. The second fair will take place next Saturday, October 23, at Medford's McGlynn Elementary and Middle Schools.

"I am pleased that so many people turned out for today's Harvest Energy Fair," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles, whose office includes DOER. "As we embrace the vibrant clean energy future Governor Patrick envisions, community organizations, municipalities, local small businesses and families across Massachusetts are our vital partners."

"Harvest Energy Fair" attendees were able to enter raffles for energy-related items, such as insulation kits, home energy meters and compact fluorescent lights (donated by Eastern Massachusetts Solar Store and ACE Hardware of Acton, Stow and Westford), and to visit with an array of exhibitors including: Acton-Boxborough Parent Involvement Program (PIP), Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, the Acton Transportation Committee, Big Belly solar compactors, Carlson Orchards, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Eastern Massachusetts Solar Store, Green Action, Nexamp, Pietzo-Hybrid Electric Bikes, The Discovery Museums and Workers Credit Union.

In addition, DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice congratulated officials from Acton, Hopkinton, Lancaster, Lincoln, Natick, Sudbury and Worcester for clean energy efforts that qualified them to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state Green Communities grants to finance projects that cut energy use.

"Congratulations to Acton, Hopkinton, Lancaster, Lincoln, Natick, Sudbury and Worcester for doing the hard work required to earn Green Communities grants that will help them take critical next steps to green their operations and reduce both their energy costs and their greenhouse gas emissions," Commissioner Giudice said. "These communities are among the Commonwealth's municipal clean energy pacesetters, setting an example for the many other cities and towns we hope will meet the criteria to be Green Communities and apply for our next round of grants next year."

At an award ceremony as part of today's fair, Commissioner Giudice presented municipal officials with Green Communities certificates and congratulated them on grants that will finance the following projects:

  • Acton - $150,794 for energy conservation measures at the public library, an HVAC analysis of the town hall, tankless hot water heaters and an energy education and outreach program.
  • Hopkinton - $137,502 for various energy efficiency measures in the school buildings, DPW Garage, Police Department, Fire Department and Senior Center.
  • Lancaster - $141,114 towards various energy efficiency measures at the Town Hall, Library, Fire Station, Police Station, Community Center and DPW building; the installation of a solar PV project at the Police Department; an energy analysis of the town hall and the incremental costs of a hybrid vehicle.
  • Lincoln - $140,294 for various energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings, including the K-8 school complex, the town library and Town Hall.
  • Natick - $173,526 for a solar PV power purchase agreement at the middle school, for the incremental cost of hybrid vehicles, and for carbon dioxide sensors at Town Hall.
  • Sudbury - $136,238 for energy efficiency measures in five town schools, the Fairbanks Community Center and the Lincoln/Sudbury Regional High School, and for the incremental costs of a fuel efficient vehicle.
  • Worcester - $852,083 to fund a residential stretch code implementation program that provides grants to property owners to upgrade existing buildings to meet the performance requirements of the Stretch Energy Code and to fund an outreach campaign to market the program and educate residents.

The seven communities honored today were among the 35 cities and towns across the state that met the criteria to be designated as Green Communities by DOER's Green Communities Division last spring. These communities applied in June for grants to fund local clean energy projects, and were notified of their grants this summer.

DOER awarded $8.1 million in grants based on a minimum award of $125,000 for each Green Community, with the maximum amount adjusted for population and per capita income.

The signature program of the landmark Green Communities Act of 2008, the DOER's Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that earn Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

  • 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 establishing a program designed 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").
  • In preparation for upcoming Green Communities grants, DOER will take applications until November 19 from cities and towns interested in being designated as Green Communities.
  • Designated communities will then have from December 17, 2010 to January 21, 2011 to apply for local clean energy grants.

Click for more information about the Green Communities Grant program.