By Luke Steere
TOWNSEND — The fifth and final requirement for Townsend’s designation as a Green Community got unanimous approval from selectmen Tuesday.
Energy Committee members Sue Dejniak, Sandra Brown and Chris Campion were thanked and commended by selectmen for their work, an extensive plan to reduce Townsend’s energy output.
Using Mass Energy Insight, an energy-use tracking program that monitors town buildings, the committee established an energy-reduction plan which would reduce use by 20 percent within five years.
Selectmen unanimously approved the document and signed a letter requesting it be sent to the state for approval.
The stretch-energy code was adopted by Town Meeting in mid-November last year along with zoning designations for solar development at the former landfill and municipal facilities. Expedited application and permitting processes were also approved for renewable-energy systems.
A fuel-efficient vehicle-purchasing plan was approved by selectmen earlier this year.
“It outlines a series of measures to reduce energy in the community, but also is designed to provide grant funding to become a green community to do more in the future,” Campion said, adding that before it is sent to the state for approval, the plan will receive a “little bit of fine tuning” over the next few days.
It was developed by the committee with help from town officials and employees.
The Energy Committee plans to send out the completed plan to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs by next Tuesday.
Then Townsend will wait to hear back regarding the designation. If it is approved, Townsend will join 86 other green communities in the state as eligible recipients of grant funding.
Due to the recent changes to the capital-improvement plan just before Town Meeting, Selectmen Vice Chair Sue Lisa recommended replacement windows and doors to the West Townsend Reading room be funded through a grants.
Lisio also commended the committee on an education section included in the plan, which outlines classes that could be given at the library to educate people on green energy.
“That’s important — a young people’s energy program or even young people’s energy committee,” she said. “Utilize the libraries and schools as a way of talking to adults through their children.”
Selectmen Bob Plamondon was curious about where most of the waste was coming from.
Vehicles, according to Campion, is where the most room lies for energy-efficiency improvement in their plan. Those with the most energy-saving ability, he said, are hybrid vehicles and those that utilize technology that can quickly turn off an engine during idling.
Highway and police vehicles, however, need to be powerful enough to perform their jobs. Vehicles above a certain weight also do not apply. Depending on the vehicle’s usage, Dejniak said the cost of vehicles is paid back within about five years.
Luke Steere writes for Nashoba Publishing. Follow Luke Steere at twitter.com/LSNashobaPub.