Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Recognizes State and Municipal Leaders for Decarbonization and Climate Achievements

17th Annual Leading by Example Awards Celebrate State Entities, Municipalities and Individuals for Outstanding Clean Energy and Environmental Accomplishments
For immediate release:
12/04/2023
  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Leading by Example

Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Recognizes State and Municipal Leaders for Decarbonization and Climate Achievements

Lauren Diggin, External Affairs Manager

BostonThe Healey-Driscoll Administration today recognized eight Massachusetts state entities, municipalities, and public sector individuals for their leadership in driving initiatives to decarbonize operations and reduce the environmental impacts and energy costs of state and municipal operations at the 17th annual Leading by Example Awards Ceremony. Awardees were honored for enacting policies and successfully delivering projects that advance Massachusetts’ climate and energy goals. These efforts include construction of all-electric buildings, energy efficiency projects, deployment of innovative clean energy technologies, deployment of zero-emission vehicles and charging stations, adoption of sustainable landscaping strategies, and a host of other initiatives that reduce environmental impacts and costs for state and municipal operations.

Awardees include:

  • Department of Conservation and Recreation Net Zero Task Force
  • Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
  • MassBay Community College
  • City of Lowell
  • Town of Windsor
  • Hank Haff, Director of Building Design and Construction, Town of Needham
  • Suzanne Wood, Associate Director of Sustainability & Campus Services, UMass Chan Medical School
  • Hope Davis, Deputy Commissioner of Facilities Management and Maintenance, Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance

“Our state and local leaders work hard every day to help Massachusetts achieve its ambitious climate goals,” said Governor Maura Healey. “They are truly leading by example to combat climate change and today’s award ceremony is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their work and dedication.”

“We are proud of the ongoing efforts by our state and local partners to make Massachusetts’ cities and towns healthier, more sustainable places to live,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “The efforts of our public sector leaders and the Leading by Example team do not go unnoticed, and we are thankful for their efforts to advance decarbonization and clean energy initiatives throughout Massachusetts.”

The Leading by Example (LBE) program is administered by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and works collaboratively with state agencies and public colleges and universities to advance decarbonization, clean energy and sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impacts of state government operations. Cities and towns across the Commonwealth receive similar support and grant funding through DOER’s Green Communities Division. The awards were presented at the Massachusetts State House by Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony, and Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) Commissioner Adam Baacke.

“State agencies, municipalities, and public higher education campuses have made substantial progress reducing the use of fossil fuels. It is due to the efforts of so many dedicated state and local officials working throughout Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Our Leading by Example team is a valuable resource for state and local officials and helps them every step of the way as they develop and implement their decarbonization, clean energy, and environmental projects.”

“Today we celebrate just some of the innovative and cost-effective projects our municipal, state, and campus buildings achieved recently, including all-electric HVAC systems, solar canopies, battery storage systems, comprehensive decarbonization studies, or innovative energy management systems,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony. “Through the efforts of these organizations and individuals, these clean energy and energy efficiency projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy costs across the Commonwealth. Thank you to today’s awardees for their hard work, dedication, and passion.”

“DCAMM prioritizes decarbonization in all aspects of our decision-making, supporting efforts to eliminate fossil fuel use and improve energy efficiency throughout the Commonwealth’s existing portfolio, and to ensure that new buildings avoid carbon consumption,” said Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Commissioner Adam Baacke. “We are thrilled to help recognize partners and colleagues who have been key to advancing these goals.”

State agencies and public higher education campuses have made significant clean energy and sustainability progress, including collectively installing 34 megawatts of solar PV, reducing heating oil use by over 88 percent - saving more than 21.8 million gallons, constructing 103 LEED certified buildings (3 certified in 2023), installing 340 electric vehicle charging stations with a total of 583 ports, and creating and managing about 290 acres of pollinator habitats on state lands, all of which has contributed to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from onsite fossil fuel use by about 20 percent from a 2004 baseline.

On the municipal side, there are now 291 communities designated as Green Communities. Approximately 89 percent of Massachusetts’ residents live in a Green Community. These 291 communities have each committed to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. These commitments amount to collective savings of over 2.6 million MMBtus, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 20,000 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 230,000 tons, equivalent to taking over 45,000 cars off the road. More than $169 million in Designation Grants and Competitive Grants have been awarded to Green Communities since 2010 to fund clean energy and energy efficiency projects across municipal buildings, facilities, and schools.

The eight Massachusetts state entities, municipalities, and public sector individuals who received awards for their leadership are:

Public Entity Awardees

The Department of Conservation and Recreation Net Zero Task Force was established to turn the goals of Executive Order 594: Leading By Example: Decarbonizing and Minimizing Environmental Impacts of State Government into action across DCR facilities. This team developed a strategic plan to decarbonize DCR facilities, conducting a thorough assessment of heating and cooling assets across its portfolio to ensure plans were in place to replace those assets with fossil fuel-free options whenever possible. As of October 2023, air-source heat pumps have been installed at about forty DCR facilities, replacing an array of gas- and oil-fired systems. The Task Force continues to coordinate decarbonization across DCR teams and projects, and recently launched an interactive map to highlight decarbonization efforts to the public. In addition, DCR ordered its first electric fleet vehicles, and the Task Force is working diligently to ensure that more than 30 charging ports will be installed across 11 locations to support those vehicles.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has undertaken several initiatives to decarbonize its operations and reduce energy consumption across its facilities, contributing to a 27% decline in onsite fossil fuel emissions since 2004. MWRA is also a leader in fleet electrification, with 55 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) already in use; this comprises about 14% of its fleet, the highest percentage of ZEVs among state agency fleets. Nine charging stations have been installed for fleet use, with many more to be installed in the coming years. In addition, MWRA has begun auditing every oil-using site in its portfolio and will develop plans to replace these systems with fossil fuel-free alternatives as these systems reach their end of life. The MWRA also recently worked with Eversource to deploy 250kW batteries at two facilities and is actively working with the utility to demonstrate the effectiveness of battery energy storage systems in demand reduction and enhancing resiliency. These systems are estimated to save MWRA $413,000 over ten years.

MassBay Community College is anticipating the opening of a new all-electric Health Sciences, Early Childhood, and Human Service Center building in early 2024. This building will be heated and cooled with a ground-source heating system and powered by 442kW of solar capacity from a parking lot canopy and rooftop arrays. Three dual-port EV charging stations were installed on the Wellesley campus for public use in 2022, with another six stations to be added as part of the new Center. The campus plans to replace its fleet of eight vehicles with electric options as they are retired, and already has two all-electric utility vehicles in use. Beyond energy and decarbonization, MassBay has pledged to comply with Executive Order 619 (Eliminating the Purchase by the Executive Department of Single-Use Plastic Bottles); it is purchasing 3,000 hydroflasks and will be installing additional water bottle refill stations throughout campus to support the elimination of single-use plastic bottles on campus.

Municipal Awardees

The City of Lowell, a Green Community since 2010, has been a leader in municipal decarbonization for more than a decade. Over the past year, Lowell has: implemented energy efficiency projects that have saved a collective 1,074,449 kWh and 68,175 therms; enrolled solar projects totaling nearly 1.7MW capacity into the SMART Program; added two EV charging stations with four ports (bringing total municipally-owned ports to 66); partnered with UMass Lowell and National Grid in launching the first networked geothermal pilot in National Grid territory; developed an urban forest master plan to help address urban heat islands; and much more.

The Town of Windsor, a small Berkshire County town with fewer than 1,000 residents, has an active energy committee which has spearheaded several energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at municipal buildings. Since becoming a Green Community in 2015, the town has used its $137,880 Green Communities designation grant to install a 20-kW ground-mounted solar array, upgrade to LED lighting, and replace an oil boiler in its town office with an air-source heat pump. The town has also received $146,975 in competitive grants to weatherize the Town Offices, Town Hall, and Town Garage. These projects reduced the Town’s oil use by 80% and overall greenhouse gas emissions by over 25% since its 2015 baseline year.

Public Sector Individual Awardees

Hank Haff, the Town of Needham’s Director of Building Design and Construction, has gone above and beyond his job responsibilities to advance the Town’s climate and sustainability goals. He volunteered to run the Town’s solar development committee, which recommended the installation of a 3MW facility on a former landfill, then oversaw the development of the respective power purchase agreement. Despite not being a fleet manager, he has been a lead advocate in electrifying the municipal fleet and assisted in managing the installation of EV chargers throughout the town. Hank’s passion is further demonstrated by his position as staff liaison to the Town's Climate Action Planning Committee, allowing him to provide valuable insight as the Town develops its climate goals.

Suzanne Wood, Associate Director of Sustainability & Campus Services for UMass Chan Medical School, has been a pivotal leader in sustainability and climate efforts at UMass Chan for the past decade. Suzanne was appointed as the Sustainability and Energy Manager in November 2014 where she applied her background in environmental management and sustainability to UMass Chan’s campus. Since then, her efforts have brought notable change to campus. For example, under her leadership, UMass Chan has installed 38 dual-port EV charging stations for visitor and employee use since 2019. Suzanne is adept at bringing the right people together to ensure sustainability priorities move forward. This has been exemplified over the last year as she shepherded the campus through a comprehensive decarbonization planning process, leading the procurement for consultants, and working closely with UMass staff, engineers, students, and state agency partners to ensure the school has a clear pathway to decarbonizing their operations.

Hope Davis, Deputy Commissioner of Facilities Management and Maintenance with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of dozens of state properties (approximately 5.5 million square feet of space and 2,500 acres of land) and for statewide programs to improve the efficiency and management of Commonwealth assets. Under Hope’s leadership over the last four decades, the DCAMM Energy Team has become a national role model for state energy efficiency that has been replicated across the country. During this time, the energy team has successfully reduced energy costs by $43 million, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 131,000 metric tonnes, equivalent to removing more than 27,000 cars from the road, and installed almost 9 MW of solar PV, generating almost 7 million kWh a year, equivalent to the power needs of almost one thousand homes. Hope was recognized at the LBE Awards for her lifetime of achievements as she approaches retirement in early 2024.

Since taking office, the Healey-Driscoll Administration has distributed more than $1 million in grant funding to state agencies and higher education institutions to deploy EV charging stations for fleet use and conduct feasibility studies to chart pathways to decarbonization. Since 2010, DOER has awarded more than $170 million to Green Communities in Designation Grants and Competitive Grants which help municipalities reduce energy use and costs by implementing clean energy projects and energy efficiency measures.

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Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Recognizes State and Municipal Leaders for Decarbonization and Climate Achievements

  • Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources 

    DOER helps create a clean, affordable, equitable and resilient energy future for the Commonwealth.
  • Leading by Example  

    LBE works collaboratively with state agencies and public colleges and universities to advance clean energy and sustainable practices that reduce the environmental impacts of state government operations.

    LBE serves as a trusted resource and helps transform policy into action through strategic partnerships, technical assistance, grant funding, and nation-leading best practices. By demonstrating leadership within state government, LBE strives to empower residents and businesses to take action to collectively address the energy and environmental challenges facing the Commonwealth.
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