Seven More Western Massachusetts Towns Named Green Communities
Seven Western Massachusetts towns are the latest to earn the Green Community designation from the state. They were honored in a ceremony in Amherst Monday.
To become a Green Community, cities and towns must comply with five criteria. They range from planning to reduce municipal energy use by twenty percent over five years to promoting the development of facilities which generate renewable energy. Once they comply with these steps, they earn the designation and receive a grant for a clean energy or energy efficiency project. Communities also become eligible for a competitive grant program which funds similar kinds of projects.
Dan Robb is the chair of the Energy Committee in the Town of Pelham, which was one of those recognized Monday. He says it will use its grant of more than 130-thousand dollars to better insulate the ceiling of a municipal building. He says for a town of about 1,400 residents, it isn't always easy to find money for such projects.
"This money will have a tremendous effect on Pelham and our ability to save the town annually on our heating bills. It may seem like not an incredible sum, but to the little town of Pelham with an annual budget of four million dollars, plus or minus, it's an enormous sum."
Pelham is now one of 103 Green Communities across Massachusetts. Richard Sullivan is the state Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. He says the program has a number of benefits for the cities and towns participating in the program, in addition to the positive environmental impact.
"It's energy efficiencies, it's renewable energies, it's creating jobs here locally in Western Massachusetts. It's great for the environment obviously. It's good for energy security, nationally and statewide and it just makes sense financially to everbody's bottom line.
Other newly designated Green Communities include Amherst, Conway, Gill, Huntington, Northfield and Sunderland. For New England Public Radio, I'm Adam Frenier.