The Town of Fairhaven is among the 30 new cities and towns designated as a Green Community by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts last month. Fairhaven was additionally awarded a grant of $174,535 from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to accomplish projects that will lessen its carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency. There are now 240 municipalities in the Commonwealth that have earned Green Community designation.
“The Green Communities program is an essential component of our nation-leading clean energy success and demonstrates our administration’s commitment to partnering with municipalities,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a December 2018 press release. “These 30 newly designated communities are pledging to join in responsible stewardship of the environment and taxpayer resources while creating a cleaner, healthier Commonwealth for our residents and businesses.”
The goal of the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program is to support investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further clean energy goals set forth by the designated communities. To earn designation and qualify for grants, municipalities must pledge to reduce energy use by 20 percent over five years and meet four other criteria established in the Green Communities Act.
“This designation is quite an achievement and reflects the hard work and tireless efforts your community has exhibited in meeting the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program’s five criteria,” wrote Nicholas Connors, Director of the Green Communities Division of the Department of Energy Resources, in his letter informing Fairhaven of its designation.
Fairhaven’s Green Communities designation is a result of the collaborative efforts of the offices of Fairhaven Board of Selectmen, Town Administrator Mark Rees, Public Works Superintendent Vincent D. Furtado, Fairhaven Schools Superintendent Robert N. Baldwin, Massachusetts DOER Green Communities Regional Coordinator Seth Pickering, and the Fairhaven Sustainability Committee, as well as significant contributions from Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD).
In October 2018, the Fairhaven Board of Selectmen adopted the Energy Reduction Plan, which was prepared by SRPEDD with support from Energy Source and the Town. This plan identifies energy-saving measures to reduce usage and meet the goal of a 20 percent reduction over five years. These proposed projects include installing LED lighting and controls and Energy Management Systems in municipal and school buildings. A list of proposed projects is being developed for submission to the Green Communities Division as required for the dispersal of the grant award.
“This is something the Town has been working toward for a number of years, so it’s great to be able to move forward with green initiatives that will provide benefits to the town,” said Selectman Bob Espindola of the designation. “The town is now eligible for additional future grants to achieve our goals going forward and I am very grateful for the collaboration and cooperation from everyone to get this accomplished.”
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