For Immediate Release - June 01, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Presents Green Communities Awards to Gloucester, Newburyport and Swampscott

Green Communities grants will fund municipal energy efficiency and renewable energy projects

Map of Green Communities Statewide pdf format of Meet the 136 Green Communities
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GLOUCESTER - Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - During a ceremony today in Gloucester, Patrick-Murray Administration officials presented three of the state's newest Green Communities - Gloucester, Newburyport and Swampscott - with awards to finance clean energy projects. Municipal officials plan to use awards, totaling $497,000, for heating and ventilation improvements, building envelope upgrades, and energy efficient lighting.

"Today we celebrate municipalities who lead the way in meeting Massachusetts' clean energy and energy efficiency goals, which save money and protect the environment," 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.

"Securing our clean energy future takes the collaboration of state, local and community leaders and there is no better example than our Green Communities, which have committed to making local changes that have a big impact" said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia.

The Green Communities awards will fund:

Gloucester: $198,200 for energy conservation measures, including improvements to the O'Maley Middle School building envelope, demand control ventilation upgrades, and the installation of an energy saving ceiling and heat exchanger at the O'Maley Rink.

Newburyport: $155,000 for energy conservation measures at the police station and City Hall including air sealing, modification of the HVAC system, lighting replacement, and other mechanical systems improvements.

Swampscott: $143,800 for energy conservation measures at municipal school buildings, including lighting retrofits and steam trap upgrades, and funding for a part-time Energy Manager.

"During this difficult economic time, I am pleased that the Commonwealth is making this investment in our community, to assist in making Gloucester more energy efficient while achieving cost savings" said Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante.

"Newburyport has been a leader in Massachusetts in developing clean energy technologies," said Rep. Michael A. Costello. "The Green Communities designation will bring additional state resources to continue that innovation and foster an important partnership with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. I congratulate the city on this achievement."

"I am proud of Swampscott for showing the innovation, drive, and forward thinking necessary to be named a Green Community," said Rep. Lori Ehrlich. "By leading the way on energy efficiency in municipal buildings, Swampscott will not only save money, but serve as a model for other communities throughout the Commonwealth."

"Swampscott has really worked hard to move forward in the field of green energy. It is great that the town is being recognized for those efforts to become more energy efficient. I am very pleased that the administration has awarded Swampscott with funds to help improve the school buildings." said Senator McGee. "These efforts will create both cost-savings and encourage environmentally friendly practices."

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 three communities, awards were made to Boston, Dedham, Easton, Gardner, Harvard, Hatfield, Marlborough, Medway, Milton, New Salem, Scituate, 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.