Wareham to receive $180,000 for green communities designation
Selectmen voted unanimously on Tuesday night to adopt an energy reduction plan which will secure the town a $180,000 grant in the coming months to complete its designation as a “Green Community.”
According to Town Administrator Derek Sullivan, the town will be eligible for an additional $250,000 in grants annually if they are able to reduce Wareham’s energy consumption by 15 percent in five years using the plan.
“This is a pretty high goal for us,” said Selectman Patrick Tropeano. “But there are no penalties for us failing to meet this goal.”
By earning a Green Community designation, Wareham will join 210 other cities and towns in Massachusetts with the title. These communities have earned more than $39 million in grants for energy projects from the state due to their designation.
In addition to cutting energy consumption, there are four other criteria that a town must meet in order to qualify as a Green Community. These include adopting the Stretch Energy Building Code (requiring new construction meet high energy efficiency requirements), having designated zoning for renewable energy sources such as solar fields, replacing various municipal vehicles with energy-efficient ones and allowing renewable energy installations be built without special permitting.
Wareham has already achieved the first two of these criteria and Selectmen adopted policies towards the remaining criteria in September.
Sullivan added that progress has already been made towards reducing Wareham’s energy consumption by closing the Minot Forest Elementary school and replacing the lights in all town buildings with LEDs.
“I think its a good move,” said Selectman Mary Bruce. “We’ll only be reducing costs in the long run.”