The Green Communities Study Committee held a public hearing on Monday, June 13th to review their work to date and seek public input on Needham becoming a Massachusetts Green Community. The program, created under the Green Communities Act, supports Massachusetts cities and towns that commit to becoming more sustainable communities by reducing energy use, promoting energy energy efficiency and supporting the development of renewable energy.
The Green Communities Act fundamentally changed the business of energy in Massachusetts by allowing reducing energy use (through increased energy efficiency) and renewable energy generation in Massachusetts to compete with traditional energy generation and imports. The goal is to keep more of the economic activity associated with energy here in Massachusetts – in 2008, Massachusetts consumers and businesses sent $22 billion out of Massachusetts to import energy. At the same time, we will be supporting the growth of “clean technology” companies and jobs here in Massachusetts.
Committee Chair Jerry Wasserman reviewed the requirements to become a Green Community, noting as he did so that Needham is well positioned to meet those requirements.
- Municipal commitment to purchase energy efficient vehicles
- Develop a plan to reduce energy use in municipal buildings by 20%
- Allow as-of-right siting for renewable energy R&D, manufacturing or generation
- Adopt expedited permitting for such facilities
- Reduce the life-cycle cost of energy use in buildings by adopting the stretch energy code
A significant portion of the Committee’s work has been in examining the implications of adopting the Stretch Energy Code, and that was a focus of questions and comments from residents attending the hearing.
Needham Patch published an article with more information from the hearing.