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As we’re seeing all across the country, we’re clearly headed toward a future of clean energy. Solar panels are going up on roofs from Maine to California. States are committing to achieving 100% clean electricity production within a couple of decades. The federal government is offering a 30% tax incentive for home and business owners who purchase and install solar before the end of 2019. You might even notice that your own town or city has become a “Green Community” that’s making tangible moves toward carbon neutrality.

 

What Is a Green Community?

The term “Green Community” isn’t just a catchy title. It refers to particular cities and towns in Massachusetts that have qualified for grant funding for renewable energy projects. Funding is offered through Massachusetts’ Green Communities Designation and Grant Program.

A city or town must meet a few key criteria to qualify for funding. These include:

  • Establishing designated zones for renewable energy generating facilities

  • Offering expedited permitting for facilities interested in building within designated renewable zones

  • Adopting an Energy Reduction Plan (ERP) that reduces energy use by 20% over a 5-year period

  • Purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use

  • Constructing buildings to stricter codes so they use significantly less energy

In other words, a city or town must be taking tangible steps that support renewable energy generation, the use of renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

 

Green Communities in Massachusetts

A number of cities and towns here in Massachusetts are already leading the way in clean energy initiatives and have therefore received Green Communities funding. Is one of these towns near you?

 

Westwood

Westwood, MA in the Boston Metro West area has been awarded over $1 million to fund a number of clean energy initiatives:

  • Energy conservation measures, lighting upgrades, HVAC system improvements, and steam line repairs in municipal buildings (including Deerfield and Hanlon Schools and Town Hall)

  • LED retrofits for streetlights, the Library, Recreation Pool, Downey School, Martha Jones School, and Westwood High School

  • Building controls system upgrades for the Library, Recreation Pool, Downey School, Martha Jones School, and Westwood High School

 

Sutton

Sutton, MA in Central Mass has been awarded $750,000 to fund:

  • Energy conservation measures in the Sutton Municipal and School Complexes, Stevens and Manchaug Dams, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Senior Center, and Fire Station

  • Energy audits, hydro feasibility assessments, exterior parking lot lighting, and heat recovery systems for the Stevens and Manchaug Dams, Wastewater Treatment Plant, Senior Center, School Complex, and Fire Station

  • Weatherization and thermostat upgrades for the Senior Center, School Complex, and Fire Station

  • Boiler replacements and LED lighting upgrades for the Senior Center, School Complex, Fire Station, Sutton Elementary School, Sutton Middle School, and Sutton High School

 

Lexington

Lexington, MA in Greater Boston has been awarded over $1 million in grants to fund a number of energy efficiency measures, including:

  • Energy efficient street lighting upgrades using induction and compact fluorescent bulbs

  • Exterior LED lighting retrofits at four schools and two municipal facilities

  • Interior LED lighting retrofits at Clarke Middle, Lexington High, Fiske Elementary, Harrington Elementary, Bridge Elementary, Bowman Elementary, Diamond Middle School, and the Public Services Building

  • Installation of energy modeling analytics software in five schools and two municipal facilities

 

Scituate

Scituate, MA on the South Shore has been awarded over $750,000 to fund:

  • Energy conservation measures, including weatherization, water conservation measures, thermostat upgrades, and exterior door replacements, in several schools

  • Installation of high efficiency transformers for sewer pump stations

  • Interior LED lighting retrofits, water heater upgrades, and boiler replacement at Scituate High School, Jenkins Elementary School, Hatherly Elementary School, Gates Intermediate School, and the Fire Station

  • Installation of efficient variable frequency drives (VFDs) on four water treatment or well pump motors

  • Installation of VFDs, transformers, and destratification fans in Cushing Elementary, Wampatuck Elementary, Wampatuck High School, the Wastewater Department, and Musquashicut Pond Pump Station

 

Longmeadow

Longmeadow, MA in Western Mass has been awarded $155,125 to fund a number of measures, including:

  • A streetlight study and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) feasibility study

  • Implementation of high performance building measures in a new ZNE Department of Public Works and Utilities facility

  • Administrative costs for these measures

 

Clean Energy — A Mass. Wide Movement!

These aren’t the only communities in Massachusetts that are headed toward clean energy. Boston, for example, has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. Meanwhile, Brookline has been granted funding for LED lighting retrofits, a solar feasibility study, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, and more. You’ll find towns and cities all over the state that are putting programs in place to reduce energy consumption and incentivize the use of clean, renewable energy.

If you haven’t already, we highly encourage you to explore what clean energy programs may be in place in your area. Does the drive toward clean energy have you considering solar for your home or business? As local solar experts, we can connect you with local incentives that may be available for your new solar PV system, including Massachusetts SMART solar incentives.

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Interested in paving the way to clean energy in your area? Learn about the environmental and financial benefits of installing solar panels for your home or business. Call 617-858-1645 or contact us today to book a free site visit!

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