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Greenfield cuts energy use nearly 20% over 5 years

In addition to cutting energy use, the town focused on generating its electricity locally and renewably, and last year more than half of the electricity used by municipal operations was generated by the solar farm on the town’s landfill off Wisdom Way in Greenfield.
(Recorder file/Paul Franz)

In addition to cutting energy use, the town focused on generating its electricity locally and renewably, and last year more than half of the electricity used by municipal operations was generated by the solar farm on the town’s landfill off Wisdom Way in Greenfield. (Recorder file/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The town has reduced its energy use by about 20 percent and its carbon footprint by 45 percent over the past five years, cutting its energy costs by $582,400 in that time.

“I am very proud of our accomplishments since our designation as the state’s first ‘Green Community’ in 2010,” said Mayor William Martin. “This has been a team effort lead by Carole Collins, the town’s energy and environment director.”

Martin said his staff has worked hard to realize the vision of cutting energy costs and reducing the town’s carbon footprint for the good of the local community and the larger global initiative.

The first step the town took was to learn what each municipal building was using and what town-owned vehicles were using, as well as street lights and water and waste disposal operations, said Martin.

The town’s 2009 energy audit did just that, calculating that the buildings used 67 percent of the energy the town used, vehicles used 20 percent, and water and sewer used 13 percent.

Martin said the largest energy savings was seen in the 17 municipal buildings, which has been reduced by more than one-fifth over the past five years.

He said one of the greatest success stories was reducing Town Hall’s energy use by more than 60 percent after adding insulation, upgrading lighting and installing a new heating system, new windows and new air conditioners.

“Two other remarkable successes were that the town cut in half the energy used for street and traffic lights, as well as for pumping water and sewage,” said Martin.

In addition to cutting energy use, the town focused on generating its electricity locally and renewably, and last year more than half of the electricity used by municipal operations was generated by the solar farm on the town’s landfill.

“These steps are just the beginning,” said Martin. “Sustainable Greenfield, the town’s master plan published in January, points to energy reductions as a key strategy to economic growth and job creation.”

Martin said the town is currently exploring ways to continue to cut energy use.

“We will also announce a green electricity plan that will reduce everyone’s utility bills and reduce the town’s carbon footprint even more,” said Martin.

He said the town would like to build one or two more solar farms and is exploring how to turn sewage sludge into an energy resource.

“Greenfield’s Sustainability Advisory Committee would like to congratulate and thank everyone who has made it possible for Greenfield to make great strides toward a more sustainable future,” said committee member Kurt Richardson. “Reducing the cost and environmental impact of municipal operations is incredibly important and there is more all of us can do to lead Greenfield into a bright future.”

You can reach Anita Fritz at: afritz@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280

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