For Immediate Release
Contact: John Musante 413-259-3002
(July 24, 2012) Town Manager John Musante announced today that the Town of Amherst has been designated by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) as a Green Community. “We are delighted to receive this designation and believe that it reflects the town’s ongoing commitment to environmental integrity and energy efficiency,” said Musante. The DOER announced that the Town will now be eligible for $302,000 in grants this year for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects.
Mr. Musante praised Governor Duval Patrick and his Green Communities Program for creating an innovative national model that addresses mounting environmental and energy concerns. He also cited the Select Board’s leadership efforts for the Town to become a greener, more sustainable community and the active support from Amherst Town Meeting. “Massachusetts has become one of the national leaders in the field of energy efficiency and this program epitomizes that leadership role. The Town of Amherst is committed to investing in local solutions using renewable energy such as solar and cutting overall energy use by an additional 20% over the next five years,” Musante said.
In order to become a Green Community, the town had to meet five criteria outlined by DOER which included zoning for renewable energy production, expedited permitting, creation of a five year energy reduction plan, adopting a fuel efficient vehicle policy and adopting a building stretch code for energy efficiency.
“This achievement is due to the professionalism and dedication of our staff,” noted Musante. “I am especially grateful to Stephanie Ciccarello, the town’s Sustainability Coordinator who led this effort; Sally Miller, UMass graduate intern who compiled data; Facilities Director Ron Bohonowicz and DPW Superintendent Guilford Mooring who provided guidance and information throughout the process; Planning staff Jonathan Tucker, Christine Brestrup and Nathaniel Malloy who worked on specific criteria measures, as well as department heads and staff who responded to numerous requests for information.”
As a result of this designation, the town has access to state grant funding for energy efficiency projects. “The first project we hope to utilize Green Community grant funding for is a LED-streetlight retro-fit,” said Musante. “Converting to this technology has the potential to save the town thousands of dollars annually in energy costs and reduce streetlight energy consumption by over 60%,” stated Musante.
The Town Manager also recognized the contributions of Green Communities Regional Coordinator Jim Barry and staff from both the Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) and the Berkshire Gas Energy Efficiency Program. “Without the assistance of Ken Garber and Lynn DiTulio of WMECO and Robert Gyurjian of the Berkshire Gas Energy Efficiency Program, we would not have been able to meet our reduction goals for the five year Energy Reduction Plan. The utility companies provided energy assessments of the Police Station and North Fire station at no cost to the town in order to identify additional energy savings needed to meet the 20% energy reduction goal.”