Green Community, in progress

Becoming a Green Community would enable our town to continue its work including reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings, establishing power purchase agreements that enable financially attractive renewable energy generation, adopting the latest building codes, and much more.
What is a Green Community?

A Green Community meets the standards of the Green Communities Act. The goal of the Green Communities (GC) Division of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is to help cities and towns maximize energy efficiency in public buildings, including schools, city halls, and public works and public safety buildings; generate clean energy from renewable sources; and manage rising energy costs.

What is the Green Communities Act?

Passed in 2008, is “to provide forthwith for renewable and alternative energy and energy efficiency in the commonwealth, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.”

What is the benefit to the town, should we be awarded the designation?

The town will receive an immediate award of about $130K-180K; the town will be eligible for competitive grants every year following the initial grant award; the town may continue to work with the GC staff and its analysis tools.

What are the criteria for the application?

There are 5 criteria for the application.

  1. Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.
  2. Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.
  3. Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.
  4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles (wherever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable)
  5. Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code.
What, then, is the obligation on the part of the town?

The town commits to reducing its municipal energy consumption by 20% in 5 years. The final 5% of the 20% must be planned & accounted for, but can be attributed to programs addressing behavior changes/patterns, among others.

Is a reduction of 20% of municipal energy consumption achievable in 5 years?

We believe it is possible. Through the process of data collection and a level 1 review of municipal buildings, in conjunction with known construction plans, it will be possible to concretely determine this goal.

How is the 5 year period determined?*

A baseline FY is chosen in relation to the application date – for our application cycle (F2015) it can be as early as FY 2012. The ‘clock’ starts from the baseline year, as such, our preliminary review will help us to determine which is the most achievable 5 year period; baseline FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 or that 20% is not achievable.

Who would be involved in the GC application?

Town Administrator, David Kale; Facilities Director, Gerald Boyle
Belmont Light, employees as appropriate to needs; Energy Committee, will lend research support and general support; Sustainable Belmont, will be the administrative lead (incl., research & general), provide progress on achievement of the 5 criteria.

What will this cost?

The initial evaluation – use of the Mass Energy Insight and consulting with the regional administrator are free to Belmont. Once enough data has been collected to assess energy consumption, a level 1 audit would be done. This may require up to $3000 from MAPC. Such audits can be done without cost by making vendor commitments up front (an option). The cost of this general evaluation is low for the value of energy savings, i.e., cost avoidances and it something towns engage in regularly as a matter of course *Gerald Boyle will soon begin using Mass Energy Insight to evaluate town energy consumption.