For Immediate Release - April 07, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Award to the City of Boston

Green Communities grant will fund municipal energy efficiency projects

Map of Green Communities Statewide pdf format of Meet the 136 Green Communities
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BOSTON - April 7, 2011 - Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. today presented Boston Mayor Thomas Menino with an award for clean energy efforts that qualified the city to receive a $1 million Green Communities grant to finance projects that reduce energy use and increase savings.

City officials plan to use the funds for energy conservation measures, including energy-saving auto igniters for natural gas streetlights and lighting controls at municipal ball fields; and an upgrade of the energy management system for Copley Library and four library branches. City officials estimate these changes will reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by over 800 tons of carbon dioxide and energy costs by approximately $235,000 annually.

"The city of Boston has demonstrated leadership in its commitment to energy efficiency and, with this award, will ensure a clean energy future for its residents," Secretary Sullivan said during a ceremony at Boston City Hall. "I applaud Mayor Menino for embracing these investments, which create jobs, help the environment, and create long-term energy savings."

"Our sustainability and clean energy agenda is all about enhancing the livability of our neighborhoods and growing our already strong green economy in Boston," said Mayor Menino. "I thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan for their leadership, partnership, and financial support to advance our collective clean energy agenda."

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

"Massachusetts has long been a leader in the areas of technology and innovation," said Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry. "Boston's designation as a Green Community is well-earned recognition of our city's efforts to institute environmentally-sound policies and practices that maximize renewable energy sources. While much of these grant funds will go toward greatly needed energy upgrades for municipal facilities, they will also support job creation on the local level, which is critically important right now."

"This latest recognition for the city of Boston is further evidence that Massachusetts is leading the nation in helping cities and towns adopt clean energy methods thanks the Green Communities Act signed by Governor Patrick in 2008," DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia said. "Thanks to Mayor Menino for his efforts to make Boston a clean energy city."

"Boston is leading by example when it comes to the clean energy frontier," said Jim Hunt, Boston's Chief of Environment and Energy. "Working with the Patrick Administration and our utility partners, we are demonstrating the promise of a clean energy economy by dramatically reducing energy costs while creating good paying green jobs for local residents."

DOER's March grant round will fund 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 Boston, awards were made to Dedham, Easton, Gardner, Gloucester, Harvard, Hatfield, Marlborough, Medway, Milton, Newburyport, New Salem, Scituate, Swampscott, Watertown, Wayland, Williamstown, and Winchester.

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 May.

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.