In Massachusetts, there are numerous methods cities can change into power environment friendly, deploy photo voltaic power, and save taxpayers cash on the similar time. There are state funding packages, quite a few incentives and methods for methods to pay for themselves.
One program in Massachusetts is known as the Inexperienced Communities Designation & Grant program (GCDG). Began in 2008, “the Inexperienced Communities Division of the MA Division of Power Assets (DOER) needed to assist municipalities change into extra sustainable, management rising power prices and incubate the clear power applied sciences and practices that can put Massachusetts cities and cities—and the commonwealth as a complete—on the middle of the 21st-century clear power financial system. Envisioned as a method to encourage municipalities to make clear power choices, the division is remitted to supply grant alternatives to municipalities designated as ‘Inexperienced Communities.’” (1)
Some 78 p.c of cities in Massachusetts take part on this program. On the entire, the Cape lags behind them in using this program. Andover adopted the GCDG in 2010. Its buildings, burners, water heaters, faculties, fireplace departments, lighting program and extra turned way more environment friendly again then. They’ve been having fun with financial savings ever since.
To date, the next communities have obtained various quantities of funding beneath GC, together with funding for initiatives by city on Cape Cod:
Between 2010 and the current, Mashpee has obtained the next funding for the initiatives listed right here.
“The Inexperienced Communities Act permits funding of as much as $10 million per yr for the designation and grant program from the proceeds of Regional Greenhouse Gasoline Initiative (RGGI) allowance auctions and different sources. The Inexperienced Communities Division additionally serves all Massachusetts cities and cities as a one-stop store for schooling on the advantages of power effectivity and renewable power. It offers steering and technical help for power questions and initiatives. It promotes collaboration by shared finest practices amongst municipalities, and funding alternatives for clear, inexpensive, and resilient power initiatives and initiatives.”
To acquire the funding for GCDG, a city additionally has to undertake the “stretch code,” an enhanced power code for brand spanking new buildings. Twelve years in the past, this code was a stretch. Now, greater than a decade later, the usual constructing code and the stretch code are nearly the identical. It is because, as a part of the Inexperienced Communities Act of 2008, Massachusetts is required to replace its constructing code each three years to be according to the most-recent model of the Worldwide Power Conservation Code (IECC). Additionally, current buildings are exempt from this enhanced code. It solely applies to new properties. In Sandwich, there are roughly 7,500 current properties and roughly 15 a yr are new properties. This stretch code is only for new buildings.
This program offers a street map together with monetary and technical help to municipalities that:
- Pledge to chop municipal power use by an formidable and achievable aim of 20 p.c over 5 years;
- Go zoning in designated places for the as-of-right siting of renewable or various power producing amenities, analysis and growth amenities, or manufacturing amenities;
- Undertake an expedited software and allowing of 1 yr at most, beneath which amenities eager about finding their facility in a chosen renewable zone could also be sited inside the municipality, (Sandwich has this in place already);
- Buy fuel-efficient automobiles for municipal use, each time such automobiles are commercially out there and practicable;
- Set up an power use baseline stock for municipal buildings and amenities (which may embrace faculties, water, wastewater therapy vegetation and pumping stations, and open area), avenue and visitors lighting, and automobiles; and
- Undertake an Power Discount Plan (ERP) demonstrating a discount of 20 p.c of power use after 5 years of implementation.
The singular aim of the entire above actions are to save lots of the city’s use of power, which additionally saves cash. Saving on power reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which improves the local weather change situation. However, most significantly, there’s super monetary profit for cities to undertake this program. Taxpayers must let their elected officers learn about this program and urge them to undertake it.
Ms. Holt is a constructing, power administration and photo voltaic knowledgeable with greater than three a long time of expertise. She lives in Sandwich.