TOWNSEND — An energy reduction plan is the final criteria for Townsend to apply to be come a Green Community.
Such a plan will detail how Townsend will reduce it’s energy use by 20 percent over the next five years. The Energy Committee is planning to have it’s work complete by March 15 and though the next Green Community designation is some time in July, Energy Committee Member Sue Dejniak says the plan is to submit early to allow for questions or revisions which need to be made.
To begin, the Energy Committee has requested support from our local boards, committees and councils on ways to cut energy expenditure in heating, cooling and lighting systems as well as ways to update appliances. Over the next few weeks, the Energy Committee will be looking at everything from higher efficiency bulbs to installing more efficient pumps and solar collectors.
“At this point we don’t want to rule out anything,” Sheehan said.
According to Dejniak, the board has received a lot of feedback.
“We have lots of great information,” she said. “Suggestions from the highway, water and other departments have been coming in as our members are out talking to and meeting with other boards, there had been a lot of communication.”
Four of the five criteria for Green Designation have been met. Townsend’s old landfill and old industrial and municipal facilities have been eyed for renewable or alternative energy generation, research and development, or manufacturing facilities. The Committee says after designation, they will continue to move forward looking at other projects.
An expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities has been adopted as well and the Stretch Energy Code was adopted at town meeting in November. With the exception of police cruisers, fire trucks, ambulances, plows, and other similar equipment that do not have a fuel-efficient options, a vehicle replacement plan has been implemented as well.
Once designated, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources will award the town a grant, the minimum has been around $130,000.
“We can then use that money to fund energy efficiency projects,” Sheehan said “Items we identify in the energy reduction plan will be likely candidates for some of this.”
After two years as a Green Community, Townsend can apply for competitive grants by submitting proposals to the DOER who then decide where to allot funding based on the best proposals.