In December of 2015, the Town of Weymouth was designated a Green Community by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and was awarded a $277,635 designation grant for local clean energy and energy efficiency projects. This accomplishment came after more than a year of planning by a dedicated group of individuals from multiple Town departments, including the School Department and Town Council, and strong support from Mayors Susan Kay and Robert Hedlund.
To earn designation, Weymouth had to meet the following five criteria under the Green Communities Act of 2008:
In 2015, Weymouth was one of 155 cities and towns to earn Green Community designation. At that time, Green Communities represented 54 percent of the Massachusetts population. All 155 Green Communities committed to reducing their energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. This amounts to savings of 2,153,992 MMBTu, the energy-use equivalent to heating and powering 19,698 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 203,538 tons (U.S.), equivalent to taking 38,866 cars off the road.
As a Green Community, Weymouth may apply for financial assistance through the DOER’s Green Communities Competitive Grant Program to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will reduce the Town’s energy costs and carbon footprint.
Green Communities Designation and Grant Program
As energy leaders in Massachusetts, Green Communities are eligible for state grants to invest in energy efficiency and renewal energy projects that will further their clean energy goals. Eligible projects include reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings, establishing power-purchase agreements that enable financially attractive renewable energy generation, adopting the latest energy-saving building codes, and much more. Green Communities grants allow municipalities to save a considerable amount in long-term energy costs and later channel those savings into more important community needs, such as public safety, education, and municipal infrastructure.
DOER’s competitive grants are awarded annually to Green Communities that have successfully invested both their initial designation grant and any previous competitive grant awards. Funding for Green Communities grants is generated through proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's carbon allowance auctions and Alternative Compliance Payments under the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Energy Reduction Plan
All Green Communities commit to reducing their energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. This commitment takes the form of a local Energy Reduction Plan – a blueprint for how a municipality's clean energy goals will be measured and realized.
The Town of Weymouth’s Energy Reduction Plan does two things:
- Establishes an energy-use baseline for all Town-owned buildings, vehicles, and street and traffic lightening. Buildings include municipal buildings, schools, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations, and recreation areas.
- Identifies energy conservation measures and strategies to achieve a 20 percent reduction in energy use over five years. At least 15 percent of this energy reduction must come from specific energy conservation measures. Five percent or less may come from general strategies.
Weymouth’s Energy Reduction Plan was adopted by Mayor Susan Kay and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Salim in October of 2015. The plan identifies 53 energy conservation measures, which are projected to reduce municipal energy consumption by 18 percent over five years. This amounts to savings of 24,283 MMBTu, the energy-use equivalent to heating and powering over 200 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2,294 tons (U.S.), equivalent to taking more than 400 cars off the road. This reduction in energy consumption is projected to generate $477,000 per year in financial savings for the Town of Weymouth.