Concord designated a Green Community by state - Concord, MA - The Concord Journal
Concord is seeing green after learning the state Department of Energy Resources recently designated it and a dozen other cities and towns in Massachusetts as Green Communities.
Last Wednesday, the governor's office designed 13 new Green Communities, including Concord, bringing the number in the state to 123. These communities have pledged to follow five clean energy leadership criteria in the Green Communities Act.
Back in the late summer and early fall, the town and Concord Public Schools worked on an application to the state in hopes of earning bragging rights to be designed as a green community. Since Concord-Carlisle Regional High School is a separate legal entity, it is not a participant at this time, but may be added to the town's Green Communities initiatives in the future.
The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, an initiative of the state's Green Communities Division, works with cities and towns in Massachusetts to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint. It provides funding to qualified municipalities for energy-efficient and renewable energy initiatives.
Concord will receive a base grant of $147,400, which will be used for energy-efficient and renewable energy initiatives.
Resident Jill Appel and Concord's Sustainable Energy Committee (CSEC) led the Green Communities application process. The application included both town and Concord Public Schools properties, and the school administration supported this collaborative effort with the town, said Selectman Elise Woodward. The Board of Selectmen supported the Green Communities application.
Woodward, a liaison to CSEC, helped to complete the application and said the schools and town hope to use a majority of the funds to replace the aging boilers at the Peabody building of Concord Middle School. In addition to the new system being energy-efficient, it will lower the operating costs for the school district going forward, she added.
After these funds are used, Concord and the other cities and towns have the ability to apply for additional grant money on an ongoing basis.
With the designation, Woodward said the town and schools can once again collaborate on different projects.
"This really is an indication to how seriously we take our sustainability read more principles and how committed we are to improving energy efficiency, reducing energy use and reducing our carbon footprint," she said.
With the designation, the communities will be eligible for more than $2 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects. Nearly half of Massachusetts residents, 48 percent, now live in a Green Community.
Concord Town Manager Chris Whelan said in a phone interview Thursday how pleased he was to hear the state accepted the town into the program.
"We are very excited we have this opportunity and we're looking forward to a positive relationship with the state Department of Energy Resources," he said.
Woodward said the energy reduction plan was developed to show how the town intends to reduce its municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over the next five years. Jan Aceti, of the Concord Municipal Light Plant, was responsible for providing the energy use data that supported the plan.
Appel, CSEC chairman, said the designation reinforces all the things Concord has already been
In addition to grant eligibility, each Green Community designated this week will receive a certificate from the commonwealth and four road signs identifying it as an official Green Community.
Other communities recently designated include: Framingham, Westford, Blackstone, Amesbury and Williamsburg.
Woodward, Whelan and Appel all stressed how the designation wouldn't have been possible without the help of many people in town, including Superintendent of Schools Diana Rigby and John Flaherty, deputy superintendent of finance and operations for Concord Public Schools.
"Many, many people were delighted to support this effort to become a Green Community," Woodward said. "In addition to "bragging rights" for our important contributions to sustainability as a town, the designation will open the way for the town to apply for grants that will bring new opportunities to Concord to maintain leadership in sustainability among towns in Massachusetts."