For Immediate Release - October 05, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Belchertown, Easthampton, Holyoke, Lenox, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield

Grants will help municipalities get "greener" through local energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

SPRINGFIELD - October 5, 2010 - In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to clean energy, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles today congratulated officials from Belchertown, Easthampton, Holyoke, Lenox, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield 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.

"These western Massachusetts communities - ranging from rural Lenox to the state's third largest city, Springfield - are valued partners in the Commonwealth's progress toward Governor Patrick's vision of a clean energy future," said Secretary Bowles. "I congratulate them on earning 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."

At an award ceremony in Springfield today, Secretary Bowles presented municipal officials with Green Communities certificates and congratulated them on grants that will finance the following projects:

  • Belchertown: $160,917 to reduce the cost of the town's energy management services contract for municipal buildings;
  • Easthampton: $174,985 for high-efficiency LED streetlights;
  • Holyoke: $321,221 for conversion of exterior parking lot lighting to LEDs at all twelve schools, for high-efficiency LED traffic and street lights and to insulate City Hall;
  • Lenox: $134,766 for energy efficiency measures and training, energy expert consulting services, community wind forums and a mini-grants program for solar and hot water systems on commercial and residential properties;
  • Northampton: $198,500 for a 51 kW solar power project on the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School (SVAHS) and to purchase an energy auditor/building performance education kit for the SVAHS Home Building Program;
  • Pittsfield: $256,632 for an energy management system at City Hall;
  • Springfield: $988,102 to replace inefficient boilers at the Mary Lynch and Freedman Elementary Schools and the Fire Repair Building, installation of vending machine misers at the Freedman and Brunton Elementary Schools and the Fire Repair Building, and for five energy management systems at the Mary Lynch, Brunton and Zanetti schools, the Fire Repair Building and the Sixteen Acres Branch Library.

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 pdf format of    Meet the 123 Green Communities  by the Department of Energy Resources' (DOER) 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.

"Belchertown, Easthampton, Holyoke, Lenox, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield 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," said DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice.

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 pdf format of    Stretch Code Adoption by Community - revised 10/30/13  ").

In preparation for the next program of 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.

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