December 29, 2017 (Wellesley, MA) – The Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has just designated the Town of Wellesley a Green Community. This designation comes with an initial grant totaling $137,250 and makes the Town eligible for future, annual grants to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Laura Olton, Chair of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee expressed appreciation for the hard work of many people across Town who helped to prepare the application and stated, “This step furthers the Town’s sustainability goals, presents tremendous opportunities to obtain grant funds for energy reduction projects in the future, and mitigates the Town’s energy costs and costs to taxpayers.” Wellesley’s first grant application will include an exterior light-emitting diode (LED) project at the Department of Public Works and an audit of the Town’s water and wastewater treatment equipment and operations.
Wellesley joins more than 185 municipalities across the state that earned a Green Communities designation since the program began in 2010. Between 2010 and January 2017, the Division awarded over $65 million to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds. Eligible projects include heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades, lighting improvements, variable frequency drives, electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations, education programs, consultant services, and more to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
To earn the Green Communities designation, the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee worked collaboratively with the Facilities Management Department, Municipal Light Plant, Department of Public Works, Board of Selectmen’s office, Planning Department, and other departments, boards, and committees across Town. Through this collaboration, the Town met five criteria required for designation: 1) zoning in a designated location for as-of-right siting for a renewable energy generating facility; 2) an expedited application and permitting process for siting as-of-right energy facilities; 3) a municipal Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy (FEVP); 4) a municipal Energy Reduction Plan (ERP); and 5) adoption of the Stretch Building Code. The FEVP requires that when the municipality replaces vehicles subject to the policy, the municipality purchases efficient models where these models are commercially available and practicable. The ERP details how the municipality can reduce its energy use by 20% below a fiscal year 2015 baseline by fiscal year 2020. Future Green Communities grants will help to fund the energy conservation measures outlined in the ERP.
According to Joanne Bissetta, Acting Director of the Green Communities Division, “This designation is quite an achievement and reflects the hard work and tireless efforts (Wellesley) has exhibited in meeting the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program’s five criteria. Meeting these criteria is proof of Wellesley’s position as an energy leader in Massachusetts, poised to reduce its energy costs, improve the local environment and implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects with funding through the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program.”
For more information, contact Marybeth Martello, Administrator, Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org, 781-431-1019 x2229.