For Immediate Release - December 19, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Ayer, Bedford, Brookline, Carlisle, Tewksbury, Woburn

Map of Green Communities Statewide

BEDFORD – Monday, December 19, 2011 – Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia today presented six of the state's newest Green Communities - Ayer, Bedford, Brookline, Carlisle, Tewksbury and Woburn - with over $1 million in awards to finance high-efficiency lighting, energy management systems and other clean energy projects.

“Across the Commonwealth, communities are demonstrating that clean energy investments make sense because they cut long-term energy costs, protect the environment and boost our local clean energy economy. We’re proud to help them take these efforts to the next level," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., whose office includes DOER.

The Green Communities Act, which created DOER’s Green Communities program, was cited by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) as a primary reason for ACEEE’s recent  ranking of Massachusetts as first in the nation its energy efficiency policies and programs, moving California out of the top spot for the first time since the ranking was first published four years ago. ACEEE’s October report pointed to the effectiveness of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s integrated approach to creating jobs, helping clean energy businesses thrive, improving energy security and lowering energy costs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Massachusetts is in the midst of 30-fold increases in clean energy, from 3.5 megawatts of solar installed in 2007 to over 100 megawatts of solar now installed or under contract, and from 3.1 MW of wind installed in 2007 to over 85 MW of wind installed or in design or construction. As of December 2011 there were 67 megawatts of installed solar and 44 MW of installed wind power statewide. Governor Deval Patrick has set statewide goals of 250 MW of solar power by 2017, and 2,000 MW of wind power by 2020.

“Saving municipal dollars on new lighting, renewable energy and weatherization, investments like these also cut energy consumption helping us to meet our statewide clean energy goals,” said Commissioner Sylvia, who presided at today’s award ceremony in Bedford.

Massachusetts is at the end of the energy pipeline and imports all of its fossil-fuel based energy sources from other regions of the country or other parts of the world – including some unstable or hostile to the U.S. Of the $22 billion Massachusetts spends annually to buy the energy that runs its power plants, buildings and vehicles, 80 percent flows out of state to purchase coal from Colombia, oil from Venezuela, and natural gas and oil from the Middle East and Canada.  That’s nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency such as those supported by Green Communities grants.

In November, DOER awarded its latest round of grants worth $3.7 million to the state's newest 21 Green Communities – including the six celebrated today.  DOER's November grant round funds an array of projects across the state, including the installation of solar panels on town office buildings, weatherization at schools and municipal buildings, installation of high-efficiency street lights, and several energy efficiency upgrades. In addition to these six communities, awards were made to Buckland, Deerfield, Holland, Granby, Mendon, Middlefield, Millbury, Monson, Revere, Sherborn, Shutesbury, Somerville, Sutton, Topsfield, and Truro. They joined 53 other cities and towns named in previous rounds of Green Communities designations, bringing the total number of official Green Communities to 74. These communities are eligible for awards to fund local renewable power and energy efficiency projects that will advance both municipal and state clean energy goals.

“This energy conservation grant will help the Town of Ayer save money on energy costs while reducing carbon emissions and protecting our environment. I’m proud to have been a supporter of the Green Communities Act, which has led to smart clean energy investment programs like this one, and am pleased to see Ayer get this funding,” said Sen. Jamie Eldridge.  

“I am delighted that the Patrick administration has provided communities across the Commonwealth with the opportunity to lower energy costs and consumption,” said Sen. Susan Fargo.

“This Green Communities grant, which will allow the city to install energy efficient streetlights and lighting systems in public building, is great for Woburn,” said Sen. Patricia Jehlen. “These essential projects, and others like them around the Commonwealth, increasing energy efficiency while saving our municipalities money.”

“Green Communities is a great example of a locally controlled environmental program,” said Rep. Cory Atkins.  “I am thrilled that Carlisle has elected to join the program, and I hope other communities will follow their lead. Only by working together can we preserve clean air and clean water for our grandchildren.”

"In my conversations with Brookline residents, I have been impressed by their interest in and dedication to environmental issues,” said Rep. Ed Coppinger. “I want to congratulate the Town of Brookline for being designated a Green Community. This impressive achievement reflects Brookline’s attempts to make the town more environmentally friendly and will help spur awareness of the important environmental issues facing us today.”

“This is a great accomplishment for the city of Woburn,” said Rep. James J. Dwyer. “The concerted efforts by the city of Woburn to utilize and promote green technology will lead to saving taxpayer dollars through better efficiency.”

“This is a great opportunity for Tewksbury. This initiative promotes energy and cost saving measures that will benefit the town and its taxpayers,” said Sen. Barry Finegold. “The state-awarded grant to Tewksbury for energy efficiency projects will move the town towards its goal of reducing its municipal energy use by 20 percent.”

“I am proud that the Town of Ayer has taken a leading role in showing how a green community makes sense not only environmentally, but economically as well.  With this grant money, Ayer will be able to take a big step towards saving municipal dollars and meeting the statewide clean energy goals,” said Rep. Sheila Harrington.

“I’m thrilled that yet again, Woburn is ahead of the curve on energy efficiency and technology,” said Representative Jay Kaufman. “The residents of Woburn should be very proud to be among the leaders in the number one energy efficient state in the country!”

“Brookline is on the forefront of energy efficiency programs and initiatives,” said Rep. Jeffrey S?nchez. “This grant will allow Brookline to continue making changes to decrease energy consumption within the town.”  

“I am proud and delighted that Brookline has joined the ranks of communities across Massachusetts dedicated to a clean and sustainable future,” said Rep. Frank Smizik. “This designation and grant money gives my community the incentives to do the right thing when it comes to the environment, allowing Brookline to continue to be a leader in building efficiency and clean energy while managing costs.”

The award details are listed below.

Ayer: $151,175 for several energy conservation measures at municipal buildings, including a high efficiency gas furnace at the wastewater treatment plant, heating system controls at the town hall, and energy efficient lighting at the police and fire stations.

Brookline: $215,050 for several projects including LED street lights, a solar photovoltaic (PV) assessment, and a building management and employee energy efficiency awareness program.

Bedford: $148,150 for energy conservation measures at the Department of Public Works and multiple school buildings, including energy efficiency lighting and variable frequency drives on heating circulation pumps.

Carlisle: $139,300 to fund projects at several municipal buildings including an energy management system at the town hall and efficient parking lot lights at the town hall, the library, and the Carlisle Public School.

Tewksbury: $207,725 to fund several measures in multiple buildings including the retro-commissioning, making sure that all systems are mechanically operating as they should, of the police station, two fire stations, and the Wynn, Ryan, Heath Brook and Trahan Schools, and energy efficient lighting at the Dewing School.

Woburn: $231,925 to fund energy efficient lighting at the police station and the middle school, and LED streetlights.

The 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" – a allowing a project to proceed without requiring a special permit or any type of discretionary approval – for renewable and/or alternative energy research and development 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.