BOSTON — Wednesday, July 14, 2010 – In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to clean energy, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that 35 cities and towns that earned official Green Community status last month began reaping the benefits of that designation today – receiving grants for municipal renewable energy and energy efficiency projects worth $8.1 million statewide.

“These 35 cities and towns have already demonstrated outstanding leadership by qualifying to be Green Communities,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “With the grants they are receiving today, these communities can take critical next steps as our partners on the road toward a clean energy future.”

“With these grant awards, our administration is supporting a range of investments from state-of-the art energy efficiency buildings to local renewable energy installations, which will help communities create a stronger, more sustainable future for Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

Following their designation as Green Communities by the Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) Green Communities Division, the following municipalities met a June 4 deadline to apply for $8.1 million in grants for local clean energy projects: Acton, Arlington, Athol, Andover, Becket, Belchertown, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Easthampton, Greenfield, Hamilton, Hanover, Holyoke, Hopkinton, Kingston, Lancaster, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Lowell, Mashpee, Medford, Melrose, Montague, Natick, Newton, Northampton, Palmer, Pittsfield, Salem, Springfield, Sudbury, Tyngsboro, Wenham, and Worcester.

DOER reviewed the grant applications and awarded today’s grants based on a minimum award of $125,000 for each Green Community, with the maximum amount per community adjusted for population and per capita income.

“These 35 cities and towns are the pacesetters in a growing movement to make municipal operations cleaner and greener,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles, whose office includes DOER. “These grants will enable communities from Cape Cod to the Berkshires to cut waste, save energy dollars, create local jobs, and increase their energy independence.”

The signature program of the landmark Green Communities Act of 2008, the DOER’s Green Communities Grant Program uses funding from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to reward communities that earn Green Communities designation by meeting five clean energy benchmarks:

• Adopting local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects;
• Adopting an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
• Establishing a municipal energy use baseline and establishing a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
• Purchasing only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
• Requiring all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce lifecycle energy costs (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building “stretch code”).

“DOER received an impressive array of thoughtful and ambitious proposals in this inaugural round of Green Communities grants,” DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said. “I am pleased that we can assist these cities and towns as they further distinguish themselves as energy innovators.”

A list of Green Community grant amounts and projects follows:
Acton: $150,794 for energy conservation measures at the public library, an HVAC analysis of town hall, tankless hot water heaters and an energy education and outreach program

Andover: $160,329 for a municipal lighting retrofit project

Arlington: $200,188 to improve energy efficiency of lighting and steam traps, and for an energy management system at the Hardy School

Athol: $171,523 for energy efficiency improvements at the senior center, an HVAC analysis of the town hall and library, and a solar hot water system at the fire station

Becket: $141,326 for a new road salt shed closer to the center of town which will reduce vehicle miles traveled by snow removal vehicles

Belchertown: $160,917 to buy down cost of town’s energy management services contract for municipal buildings

Cambridge: $283,770 for an energy efficiency revolving fund

Chelmsford: $187,224 for a 30-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system at Parker Middle School

Easthampton: $174,985 for LED streetlights

Greenfield: $202,066 to buy down the cost of an energy management services company contract, community energy efficiency programs, and consulting services

Hamilton: $144,819 to buy down the cost of an energy management services company contract for municipal buildings

Hanover: $148,598 for incremental costs of a hybrid public safety command vehicle, energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings, and to support an energy staff person

Holyoke: $321,221 for energy efficient school, traffic and street lights and to insulate city hall

Hopkinton: $137,502 for various municipal building energy efficiency measures

Kingston: $163,528 for various municipal building energy efficiency measures

Lancaster: $141,114 for various energy efficiency measures, a solar PV project, and an energy analysis of the town hall

Lenox: $134,766 for energy efficiency measures and training, energy expert consulting services, community wind forums and a solar homes program

Lexington: $158,083 to buy down the cost of a solar PV project for multiple municipal buildings

Lincoln: $140,294 for school and other town building energy efficiency measures

Lowell: $546,506 for residential and commercial retrofit grant programs and to buy down the cost of an energy management services contract

Mashpee: $170,124 for energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings and educational outreach

Medford: $271,651 for energy efficiency measures in school buildings and to update the municipal climate action plan

Melrose: $176,265 for an energy efficient roof at Melrose High School, for energy expert consulting services, and to support the salary of an energy efficiency coordinator

Montague: $154,944 for a fine bubble aeration system to improve the efficiency of the wastewater treatment process at the public water pollution control facility

Newton: $179,500 to be leveraged with other funding to do energy efficiency measures as part of an energy managements services contract

Natick: $173,526 for a solar PV power purchase agreement at the middle school, for the incremental cost of hybrid vehicles, and for carbon dioxide sensors at town hall

Northampton: $198,500 for a 51 kW solar power project

Palmer: $169,103 to buy down the cost of an energy service company contract

Pittsfield: $256,632 for an energy management system at city hall

Salem: $245,624 for LED lights, to buy down the cost of an energy service company contract, and for home energy efficiency and bike sharing pilot programs

Springfield: $988,102 to improve the energy efficiency of boilers and vending machines and for five energy management systems

Sudbury: $136,238 for energy efficiency measures in municipal buildings and the incremental cost of a fuel efficient vehicle

Tyngsborough: $161,649 for building envelope improvements in municipal buildings

Wenham: $138,974 to buy down the cost of an energy services company contract

Worcester: $852,083 for a residential stretch code implementation program providing financial incentives for residents undertaking home building or renovation projects to build to the newly-adopted stretch energy building code and for a community energy education and outreach campaign

In addition to grants, each Green Community is receiving Big Belly solar waste compactors in time for the summer parks and beaches season. Purchased with DOER energy efficiency funding, Big Belly compactors can hold several times more trash and litter than similarly sized regular trash receptacles – thereby reducing the number of garbage truck trips required to empty them. Each municipality will also receive a certificate from the Commonwealth recognizing it as an official Green Community.

DOER will take additional applications for Green Community designations and grants later this year. Click here for more information on DOER’s Green Communities program.

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a note on plastic water bottles…

Lately the health world and environmental world as fused together.  The talk has been that plastic water bottles, left in the car for long periods of time, can cause woman breast cancer.  So people say its a hoax others are warning people not to drink this toxic water.  The real question here is if the chemical polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is connected to DHEA (a carcinogen) the answer to this is that they are not connected.  In addition there is no estrogen like activity in PET, which is important to the regard of causing breast cancer.  Even though this conterversal subject is still being debated on by doctors and scientist if one is worried about this there are things you can do to lower your exposure.  First look at the number located on the bottom of the water bottle.  This number should range from 1-7, the best number is 1 while one should stay away from injecting anything that has a 7 on it.  Another thing one can do is not use plastic water bottle and switch to aluminum reusable water bottles.  Not only is this better for the environment but it eliminates the use of plastic water bottles.

By: Katie Connell, lenox unplugged Intern

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The New Solar Powered Airplane

Last week, a great breakthrough in solar technology was made in Switzerland.
An airplane, called the Solar Impulse, flew for 26 hours straight on only solar power.  This long, skinny air craft has a giant wing span of 210 feet completely covered in solar  panels with 12,000 solar cells. During its fight, it reached over 280,000 feet above sea level at an average of about 25 miles per hour. The plane was powered by a battery that got its charge form the sun. However, it could fly all night as well by using solar energy that it had stored up during the day time. This new advancement gives hope that we will be able to use solar power and other renewable energy sources more and more. Even
the pilot, Andre Borschberg, was amazed at how well the flight went. Eventually, the organizers of this project hope to fly around the entire earth in a solar-powered air craft, and at this rate, they will probably achieve their goal.

By Gillian Fisher, lenox unplugged Intern

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Climate Summer

Since the beginning of the summer a group of college students have been riding their bikes around western Massachusetts talking to towns about clean electricity.  They have come together from different schools to join in the fight for clean electricity and being environmentally friendly.  “The leadership program” and “New England Climate Summer”, the organizations of which the group of college students are members , have a goal for the state of Massachusetts to achieve completely clean electricity by 2020. Within the New England Climate Summer organization,  there is a western team and an eastern team covering towns.  The goals for this group of young adults is to connect local organizations together through their journey around the state.  They believe that if local organizations are connected they will be more powerful and more effective at lobbying the state government for clean energy.  As stated on their website, “We are in the thick of a planetary emergency. The current political dialog and action does not reflect the urgency of the problem. This summer college students will take to the streets of New England on their bikes, raising their voices and urging all generations to join together to solve this problem.”

Making a change for clean electricity will be not only beneficial for individual consumers but will be a great change for the world as well.



Written by Katie Connell, lenox unplugged intern

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Go Veg – More Reasons To Become Vegetarian


You’ve probably heard about the health and environmental benefits of vegetarianism time and time again, and you probably have your reasons not to make the switch… “I need my protein. It might be unhealthy.” “Everyone in my family eats meat, so if I go veg it won’t make much of a difference.” “I just don’t want to give it up. I love the taste of meat.” But if you’re concerned about the environment, it could be time to consider going vegetarian. Becoming a vegetarian, a weekday vegetarian, or even just reducing your consumption of red meat is one of the easiest ways to lower your carbon footprint and your ecological footprint. Elke Stehfest presented new numbers at the Copenhagen Climate Congress: you, yes you yourself, can help make a 70% dent in our impact on the earth. “If this transition of dietary norms was started in 2010 and completed by 2030, and that pasture and cropland was allowed to regrow as forest, it would soak up such large amounts of CO2 that, in combination with the resultant reduction of methane emissions due to the animals themselves, the costs of climate change mitigation would drop by 70% by 2050.” A simple thing such as not eating meat is a decision that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and fight climate change. Isn’t that empowering? Besides, the meat industry is very yucky these days along with a lot of the meat that is produced (have you seen Food Inc.?), so it doesn’t seem like a good idea to continue to take part in this corrupt industry as a consumer… let alone consume their meat. This leads to the health side of the argument: a new study shows that vegetarians are happier than our carnivorous friends. You might be surprised because this diet lacks omega-3s, which are important to physical and mental health, but Nutrition Journal’s study shows lower incidences of depression, anxiety, and other mood problems in vegetarians.

If you don’t want to go all the way, then cutting down your meat consumption to once or twice a week (our ancestors had it right – meat used to be a treat, not to mentioned raised and killed in the back yard) also makes a big difference. Help yourself and your world; just give it a shot.

If your interested, here are a couple websites about being a vegetarian.



And here are some tips and recipes if you want to be a weekday vegetarian or just eat ‘greener’


Katherine Crane, lenox unplugged Summer Intern

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Recycled jerseys at World Cup

In this year’s World Cup soccer tournament, Brazil, Portugal, and the Netherlands are all wearing new jerseys made by Nike. These jerseys are specially made from recycled plastic bottles found in landfills. This production is beneficial for the company as well because it actually takes 30% less energy to produce the recycled jerseys than to make the standard ones. Each jersey is made from eight recycled plastic bottles found in Thai
and Japanese landfills. Nike hopes that their new sustainable jerseys will be great for business, and they are probably right. Although there has been previous clothing made from the same recycled materials by other companies, using the World Cup to promote their latest product is ingenious.
For more information go to:

By Gillian Fisher, lenox unplugged summer intern

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Photos from our forum

Dr. Moomaw and Mr. Sylvia


Mr. Mark Sylvia gives his presentation on Lenox and the Green Communities Program

Chris Lee of Green Core Builders

Photos from the forum can be found here lenox unplugged facebook

Credits: Pam Kueber, lenox unplugged

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