Governor Deval L. Patrick
Green Building Goals Announced
November 20, 2008
As Delivered

On Thursday, November 20, Governor Deval Patrick announced that he has set two new goals for energy efficiency and renewable energy: 1) making all new malls and "big box" retail stores energy efficient and powered in part by solar energy by 2010, and 2) offering a super-efficient building code as a local option for municipalities looking to take the lead in combating global climate change. The announcement was made at an announcement celebrating a photovoltaic solar panel installation on 6 buildings of the 175-unit unit, federally funded Washington Elms family housing development in Cambridge.

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Last week, Governor Patrick made a series of announcements as part of Clean Energy Week. The Governor issued a Clean Energy Challenge to Massachusetts businesses, asking them to compete to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent over the next three years, and introduced new super-efficient building codes.

These initiatives are the latest in a string of clean energy accomplishments. From day one, Governor Patrick's administration has made the clean energy technology industry and environmental stewardship a top priority.

This year, Governor Patrick signed a package of green legislation, including:

  • The Green Communities Act, setting a new national standard in energy efficiency programs;
  • The Global Warming Act, requiring a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050;
  • The Green Jobs Act, combining new funding sources and innovative grants to expand the so-called "green-collar" job market;
  • An environmental bond bill, authorizing open space conservation and general environmental infrastructure repair and restoration;
  • The Clean Energy Biofuels Act and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, fostering the Massachusetts biofuels market and to develop non-corn-based alternatives to ethanol;
  • And, in one of his first acts after taking office, joining RGGI ("reggie"), the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coalition of ten Northeastern states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a first of its kind cap-and-trade auction system.

With that legacy of leadership and innovation in mind, Governor Patrick made clear last week he intends to keep Massachusetts at the cutting edge of a clean energy future.

Governor Deval Patrick:

Listen, the push towards clean energy has roots in communities all over America and the globe and the future is being built right here in Massachusetts. That's on purpose, that's not by accident. We are serious about leaving the fossil fuel era and blazing a trail to a clean energy future. Today we're announcing another positive step, as you heard, as we celebrate the installation of a 92 kilowatt solar panel array that will provide 30% of the electricity used by the 145 families who live in Washington Elms.

Let me ask the kids-have you guys done percentages in school yet? Okay, so you understand what I'm talking about when I say 30% right? That's almost a third of the electricity you use. That's a lot right? That's what you're supposed to say. This is part of a bigger effort called Solar Energy Advantage which will install nearly 1 megawatt of solar power in five affordable housing developments around the state this year, meaning roughly one-quarter-one-quarter, twenty-five percent-of the electricity needs of a thousand low-income households, as you heard from Elise.

One exciting aspect of the switch to clean energy solutions is that the switch helps us meet multiple bottom lines at one time. We meet our environmental bottom line and that's enormously important, but we also meet a social one as we take advantage of these new technologies in public housing, not an area that is traditionally reaped the rewards of early investment in new methods. That's very, very important. And we help meet a fiscal bottom line as well because programs like this mean jobs and economic growth as we create, manufacture, and install the clean energy technology right here in Massachusetts and then sell them all around the world. In short, our clean energy future is for all of us.

I want to congratulate Boston Community Capital and its partners for finding a way to bring clean, renewable solar power to the residents of Washington Elms and affordable housing developments across the state. The financing model, by the way, the way we're paying for this you've tested shows promise for municipal buildings as well as affordable housing. Indeed, third party ownership is an important option for owners of industrial and commercial property as well since it relieves them of the up front capital costs of installing solar power and we expect to see much more of this all around the state.

Streamlining state support for solar power through the Commonwealth Solar Rebate Program has resulted in funding for more than 4 megawatts of solar projects so far this year. That's as much, by the way, as was installed across the entire state before we came to office. So we feel mighty good about that. We're making progress toward our goal which is 250 megawatts of installed power by 2017. We have a long way to go, but we're off to a very good start. This week, as some of you may have heard or read, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority was studying the impact of installing solar panels on their roof. By the way, this is the largest roof in New England and so the idea of a significant installation on a public building, both for its own efficiencies, but as a symbol of where we are going is enormously important.

So what am I trying to get across? I'm excited. I'm excited. This is tomorrow and we're inventing tomorrow today right here in Massachusetts and I am proud of all of you.