Green Needham Collaborative wrapped up its 10% Energy Challenge campaign with the presentation of a brass plaque at Needham’s Powers Hall on Friday, October 12. The plaque honors the Town of Needham for its sustainability accomplishments and lists 32 local businesses, organizations, and schools which have shown an outstanding commitment to cutting energy use. The plaque, which will be displayed in a glass case on the first floor of Town Hall, was unveiled by Selectman Jerry Wasserman and fourth grader Jack Gordon, a member of the Eliot School’s Green Kids Team.
Forty people attended the ceremony, including state and town officials, as well as representatives of the local schools, organizations, businesses and Houses of Worship named on the plaque. Honorees earned the awards for their success at reducing their building’s energy use or for their efforts to get members or employees to take Green Needham’s 10% Energy Challenge. The Challenge is an on-line tool which enables users to make a personal plan to lower their carbon footprint. Nearly 900 local households have taken the Challenge, pledging to implement energy-saving actions that would keep over 7 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere each year.
“It was inspiring to hear about the concrete actions different organizations have taken to conserve energy,” said Anne Hayek, a member of the Environmental Ministry Team at The Congregational Church of Needham. “I was aware of some of what other Houses of Worship were doing, but not the businesses and some of the civic organizations. It’s great to see so many groups taking leadership on this issue.”
Highlights mentioned during the ceremony included the Town of Needham’s use of geothermal technology in its Public Service Administration Building, Pollard Middle School’s integration of the 10% Challenge into eighth grade science classes, and First Parish in Needham’s distinction of being the first House of Worship in New England to receive an Energy Star rating because of their building’s low energy use.
“The plaque symbolizes the fact that there are many paths to the goal of cutting energy use,” said Eleanor Rosellini, one of the coordinators of Green Needham’s 10% Energy Challenge campaign. “The diversity of Needham businesses honored on the plaque – Koko FitClub of Needham, North Hill, Muzi Motors, Petit Robert Bistro, PTC, Stone Hearth Pizza and Volante Farms – is proof tht opportunities for cost-effective energy savings exist in almost every setting.”
The presentation ended with a special commendation for the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, which has reduced annual energy consumption by 42 percent over the last 6 years, avoiding $2 million in energy costs.