The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program helps municipalities become designated as a “Green Community” and provides funding to qualified municipalities for energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. The Program is open to all communities served by investor-owned utilities and those served by municipal light plants that adopt the renewable energy charge.
To achieve “Green Community” designation, a municipality must meet five clean energy benchmarks:
- Provide as-of-right siting;
- Provide expedited permitting;
- Establish an Energy Reduction Plan (ERP);
- Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles; and
- Minimize life-cycle costs.
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) calculates community funding allocations using a formula that provides each community with a $125,000 base grant plus additional amounts based on per capita income and population. The “Green Community” designation also makes municipalities eligible for special initiatives such as electric vehicle charging stations and additional competitive grant rounds subsequent to the initial Green Communities grant.
There are currently fifteen communities in the Montachusett region that are designated Green Communities: Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Fitchburg, Gardner, Harvard, Lancaster, Leominster, Lunenburg, Petersham, Shirley, Townsend, Westminster, and Winchendon.. Collectively, these communities have received over $4.5 million in funding through the program which has been used in municipal and school buildings for weatherization, HVAC upgrades, variable frequency drive installations, energy management systems, heating fuel conversions, LED lighting retrofits, energy audits, and building envelope upgrades, to name a few.
MRPC strongly supports the Green Communities Program and we believe becoming a Green Community produces significant energy improvements and cost savings for municipalities. Such action also demonstrates the community’s commitment to green energy and environmental protection.
Please contact Karen Chapman, MRPC's Principal Planner at(78)345-7376 extension 320 to learn how MRPC can assist your community.