Senator Spilka Announces Hopkinton, Natick Designated as First Official “Green Communities”
Senator Spilka announced today that Governor Deval Patrick designated Hopkinton and Natick as two of the Commonwealth’s first official “Green Communities,” a status that makes them eligible for $8.1 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects. The projects promise to create green jobs and advance both municipal and state clean energy goals.
“This is an exciting day for the MetroWest, particularly Hopkinton and Natick, the two towns in my district that will be participating in the Green Community program. It is also an exciting day for the entire Commonwealth, as we see the good ideas contained within the Green Communities Act come to fruition. Once again, Massachusetts is strengthening its potential for economic growth while promoting a healthier planet through its embrace of green technologies and energy efficiency,” said Senator Karen Spilka.
“I am pleased to honor the vision and hard work of our first group of official Green Communities,” said Governor Patrick. “These pioneers are notable not only for their commitment to a cleaner, greener Massachusetts, but also for their diversity. From tiny towns to major cities and suburbs in all regions of the state, Massachusetts communities recognize the benefits, for the economy as well as the environment, of making clean energy choices.”
“It’s great to see so many communities dedicated to saving energy, making new construction as energy efficient as possible, and accommodating clean energy investment and jobs in support of a stronger, more sustainable future for Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
“Taking the initiative to make the changes necessary to promote energy efficiency and encourage renewable energy is critical to a community’s future both environmentally and economically. The cities and towns designated ‘Green Communities’ have taken this challenge seriously and succeeded in their efforts. They are examples I hope that other communities across the commonwealth will follow,” said Senate President Therese Murray.
The signature program of the landmark Green Communities Act of 2008, the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that win Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:
- Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects
- Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities
- Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and a program designed 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”).
May 14 was the deadline for municipalities to apply for Green Community designation in order to qualify for the first round of $8.1 million in Green Communities grants. Hopkinton and Natick will now have until June 4 to submit applications for grants that will be awarded in late June.
In addition to grant eligibility, each Green Community designated today will receive a Big Belly solar waste compactor, to be delivered by June 30 in time for the summer parks and beaches season. Purchased with DOER energy efficiency funding, Big Belly compactors can hold several times more trash and litter than similarly sized regular trash receptacles – thereby reducing the number of garbage truck trips required to empty them. Each municipality will also receive a certificate from the Commonwealth congratulating it on becoming an official Green Community.
DOER will take additional applications for Green Community designations and grants later this year.