Concord was one of 13 Massachusetts cities and towns to earn the designation of being a ‘Green Community’ on Wednesday. But what’s does it mean to be Green? Well, money and bragging rights, to start.
Gov. Deval Patrick on Wednesday congratulated Concord, along with a dozen other cities and towns, on becoming the latest in Massachusetts to earn the designation of “Green Community.”
“I congratulate these communities on joining the more than 100 Green Communities across the Commonwealth as they make smart investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Patrick said in a press release. “Community by community, we are protecting our environment, reducing municipal costs and making Massachusetts a clean energy leader.”
Green Communities are designated as such by the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER). And, once designated as being ‘Green,’ a community becomes eligible for more than $2 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects, a reward for a commitment to meeting a handful of clean energy benchmarks.
Those benchmarks, according to the press release, include:
- Adopting local zoning to allow as-of-right siting for
renewable and/or alternative energy research and development facilities,
manufacturing facilities or generation units
- Adopting an expedited permitting process related to those
- 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
- 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”)
It’s not easy being Green, but it is the color of money. And, by virtue of its designation as a Green Community, Concord earned a $147,400 grant.
According to the press release, Concord’s grant, along with the 12 others, were funded through Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP) made by electricity suppliers that don’t meet their statutory Renewable Portfolio Standard obligation.
In addition to the grant eligibility, Green Communities also receive certificates and four road signs identifying them as an Green Community.
The 13 communities designated on Dec. 18, bring the total to 123 Green Communities in Massachusetts.
“We have seen cities and towns lead the way in the clean energy revolution here in Massachusetts,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia in the press release. “These commitments – to cut energy use, encourage renewable energy generation and reduce greenhouse gas emission – continue to make the Commonwealth a national leader in clean energy.”
When it comes to being green, however, the official designation is only part of the equation here in Concord.
Over the past several years the town, along with its schools and residents, have made many efforts to be energy conscious and environmentally friendly.
While Concord’s so-called “Bottle Ban” may be the most high-profile among them, there have been countless other initiatives. Things like “litter-free lunches” at the schools, CMLP’s SmartGrid and CPW’s Drop-Off SwapOff Days, which are an example of recycling at its finest.
And that’s not even getting into the many, many efforts undertaken by individual residents to be “green.”
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