In 2008, Massachusetts enacted the Green Communities Act that boosts energy efficiency and encourages investment in renewable energy. Here’s the text from the Commonwealth about the requirements for municipalities to become a Green Communities and be eligible for funding, from http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/green-communities/gc-grant-program/ The links in this list go to that website for more details.
- Criterion 1
Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.
- Criterion 2
Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.
- Criterion 3
Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.
- Criterion 4
Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Criterion 5
Set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction; one way to meet these requirements is to adopt the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code.
In 2010, Acton was in the first wave of towns to be granted Green Community status, after fulfilling all these requirements and filling out the extensive application. The Green Advisory Board was the lead in making this happen. The biggest effort, which Green Acton helped with, was passing the Stretch Code.
The Town has applied for, and received, Green Communities funding each year. Here’s a partial list of the funded initiatives.