Mayor Christine Forgey announced Thursday night that the town has a set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
- Created: Friday, 23 January 2009 05:00
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mayor Christine Forgey, Town of Greenfield
Sandra Shields, Director DPW, Town of Greenfield
Nancy Hazard, WorldSustain & Co-chair, Greening Greenfield
Tom Murphy, Chair, Greening Greenfield Energy Committee
Greenfield Mayor Forgey Sets Visionary Goals for 2050: Zero Greenfield Energy Dollars to Leave the Region, and 80% Reduction in Climate Change Emissions
GREENFIELD, MA – Greenfield Mayor Christine Forgey announced two visionary goals for Greenfield on January 15, 2009. She announced that by 2050, zero energy dollars spent by Greenfield residents will leave the region, and at the same time climate change emissions will be cut by 80%. These goals were set at a meeting that presented the results of a recently-completed town-wide energy audit.
According to the audit, last year Greenfield, a community of 18,600 people, spent 86.6 million dollars on energy. Of that, according to the report, $67.7 million left the community!
“It is in Greenfield’s best interest to keep our hard earned dollars in our community. At first glance, this may seem like an impossible task, but I believe we can do it if we position ourselves to do so,” said Mayor Forgey. “Greenfield can take the lead for the region—expanding local economic growth while protecting the environment makes good sense.”
The energy audit was a result of a collaborative campaign of the Town of Greenfield and the citizen Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC). In February of 2008, the town joined ICLEI, an international organization that offers a program called Cities for Climate Protection because of their concern over climate change. ICLEI supported the audit by providing software that helped them analyze their energy use, costs, and climate change emissions.
“We are thrilled with Mayor Forgey’s announcement,” said Nancy Hazard of GGEC and co-author of the report. “Our next steps will be to analyze our options, and lay out a roadmap to achieve those goals.”
To reach its goals, the Greening Greenfield campaign will look at 1) cutting energy use, 2) making the energy it needs locally with near-zero climate change emissions, and 3) exploring game-changing technologies and habits.
The town government has already had energy audits of all its buildings, thanks to a program offered by the Division of Energy Resources, and this summer it will begin to make changes. It will also work with an Energy Service Company to address the more expensive energy upgrades. On the community side, GGEC is offering workshops for homeowners, so they can learn about and take advantage of free energy audits and rebates offered by utility companies. Rebates for insulation and air sealing have recently been increased to 75% of the cost up to $2,000. Homeowners can sign up at www.MassSAVE.com or call 866-527-7283. GGEC’s next workshop will be held Feb 17.
Greenfield is also looking at the possibility of using biomass in the form of woodchips, to make electricity and heat, which will not only produce near-zero climate change emission energy, but also stimulate the local economy. One game-changing idea that is being proposed by Greenfield District Heating, is to generate heat cleanly in a single location, and then piping hot water to people’s homes and businesses. A new transit center and downtown re-development plan, also aims to cut auto travel by making the downtown more vital and walkable. The town has already seen an influx of new residents interested in living in a walkable community where they do not need a car.
It is GGEC’s hope that other towns will follow Greenfield’s lead, and help the nation’s economic recovery while protecting the environment. The full Greenfield Energy Audit report explaining how it calculated its energy use and funds leaving the town will be available in February at Greening Greenfield’s web site www.GreeningGreenfield.org.
The Greening Greenfield campaign is a collaborative effort of the Town of Greenfield and the citizen Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC). The campaign aims to revitalize Greenfield using “greening” as the inspirational and economic engine that will help build a sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can enjoy life in this beautiful abundant valley. To find out more about the campaign, or how you can get involved, go to www.GreeningGreenfield.org or call (413) 774-5667.