- Created: Wednesday, 11 November 2009 05:00
FOR RELEASE: November 13, 2009
Mayor William Martin, Town of Greenfield
Nancy Hazard, Co-chair, Greening Greenfield Energy Committee
Greenfield Energy Audit Posted on Interactive Web Site
GREENFIELD, MA – The Greenfield Energy Audit, which took over a year to research and write, has been released. On an interactive web site, Greenfield residents are invited to add information and comments and help move from the Audit to a plan that would help Greenfield become more economically robust and more sustainable. The Audit was a joint effort of the Town of Greenfield and the citizen Greening Greenfield Energy Committee. It is the first report published by the Greening Greenfield campaign. The Audit is available at the Greenfield Public Library, and it is downloadable at www.GreeningGreenfield.org.
“The Audit has been useful in helping the Town create a plan to reduce the cost of heating Town-owned buildings,” said Mayor William Martin. “We look forward to using more of the information when we update our Master Plan in the next few years.” A Master Planning process is a Town-wide effort led by the Planning Board that invites residents to share their vision of the future they want and work with the Board, outside facilitators and Town staff to identify what we need to do in the next 3, 5, and 10 years to move in that direction.
The Audit, which details the energy used, and the climate change gasses emitted by Greenfield Town Government and by its residents and businesses for heating, transportation, and electricity, was started over a year ago in June 2008. The Audit is the first step in fulfilling the Town’s commitment to the Cities for Climate Protection program, which the Town joined in February 2008. The most startling finding of the Audit was that in FY2008, the community spent $86 million dollars on energy, and of that $67 million left the area! The audit also found that Greenfield emits approximately 300,000 Tons (6 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide, the major cause of global warming and climate change, each year.
"Planning for energy sustainability is one of the single-most effective ways a municipality can achieve and sustain economic viability,” said Roxann Wedegartner, chair of the Greening Planning Board. “This Audit will be a very helpful resource as the Planning Board begins a new Master Plan process later next year."
“I am really pleased that the Town will be using the Audit to update its Master Plan, and that the plan will be infused with the principles of sustainability and double as our next deliverable in the Cities for Climate Protection program.” says Nancy Hazard, co-author of the report and co-chair of the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee. “I hope every one uses our interactive web site and gets involved.”
When you click on the “sustainability plan” button at www.GreeningGreenfield.org you can download the report and see the 2050 goals set for the town. The largest section of the web is called “Understanding and Assessing our Options” and it includes pages on energy issues such as using less energy, choosing the right energy source, and game-changing ideas. The second-largest section is called “other issues,” and it includes issues such as land use, food, schools, trees, water, and heath issues, all of which are included in a Master Plan. Many of the pages point to reports that are posted on the Town web site at www.TownofGreenfield.org. At the bottom of each of the web pages, there is a comments box where residents are encouraged to add information, resources, questions, and thoughts.
Finally, there is a section called “Taking Action,” which includes an interesting section called “Imagining our Future.” This section has short descriptions of what prominent thinkers say about what our future might look like, actions they propose we take to improve our future, and links and references to organizations they run, or books they have written. Finally, there is a section called “Creating a Plan,” which sets the stage for the Greenfield Master Planning process. This section explains the Master Planning process, and has links back to the Town web site where Greenfield’s 2001 Master Plan and other Town planning and redevelopment documents are posted.
“We invite interested people to join us this winter for a study group that will really dig into the Audit and talk about what we can learn from it, and start thinking about strategies to reduce our energy and climate change emissions, and meet the Town’s 2050 goals,” said Hazard. “We also look forward to hearing people’s thoughts through our web site, or one of our meetings or events.
As a direct result of the Audit, in February 2009 former Mayor Forgey set two long term goals for Greenfield. 1) Join the International community and reduce our climate change emissions by 80% by 2050; and 2) By 2050, zero dollars spent on energy will leave the region. Also as a direct result of the Audit, in April 2009 Greening Greenfield Energy Committee launched the Greenfield 10% Challenge to encourage residents and businesses to look at how they use energy, so that they can better understand how they can start reducing the energy they use, save money on utility bills, and start the process of reaching the 2050 goals set by the Mayor.
“These goals are incredibly ambitious, and it is important that we start now,” says Mayor Martin.” Even if we do not make these goals we should all be proud of our efforts and what we accomplish.”
The Greenfield Energy Audit was made possible by the residents of Greenfield who invested in green electricity by donating to the New England Wind Fund, and a matching grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Smith College also assisted by providing the Town with an intern, Natalie Walker, during the summer of 2008. The international organization ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, creator of the Cities for Climate Protection program provided guidance and software that enabled the Town to collect data on our energy use, convert it to common units so that it could be analyzed, and calculate our climate change emissions.
The Greenfield Energy Audit is the first major report published by the Greening Greenfield campaign, which aims to use “greening” as the inspirational and economic engine to build a sustainable Greenfield so that current and future generations can enjoy life in this beautiful abundant valley. The campaign is a collaborative effort of the citizen Greening Greenfield Energy Committee (GGEC) and the Town of Greenfield. To find out more about the Audit, the campaign, and the 10% Challenge call 774-5667