About Green Communities

What is a Green Community?

A Green Community meets the standards of the Green Communities Act. The goal of the Green Communities (GC) Division of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is to help cities and towns maximize energy efficiency in public buildings, including schools, city halls, and public works and public safety buildings; generate clean energy from renewable sources; and manage rising energy costs.

What is the Green Communities Act?

Passed in 2008, is “to provide forthwith for renewable and alternative energy and energy efficiency in the commonwealth, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.”

What is the benefit to the town, should we be awarded the designation?

The town will receive an immediate award of about $130K-180K; the town will be eligible for competitive grants every year following the initial grant award; the town may continue to work with the GC staff and its analysis tools.

What are the criteria for the application?

There are 5 criteria for the application.

  1. Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.
  2. Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.
  3. Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.
  4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles (wherever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable)
  5. Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code.

What, then, is the obligation on the part of the town?

The town commits to reducing its municipal energy consumption by 20% in 5 years. The final 5% of the 20% must be planned & accounted for, but can be attributed to programs addressing behavior changes/patterns.

 Is a reduction of 20% of municipal energy consumption achievable in 5 years?

We believe it is possible. Through the process of data collection and a level 1 review of municipal buildings, in conjunction with known construction plans, it will be possible to concretely determine this goal.

For more information about Green Communities

Visit the state Green Communities Division.