$100K grant to reduce Greenfield’s reliance on fossil fuels

  • Carole Collins, Greenfield’s director of energy and sustainability, at the electrical vehicle charging station in the Olive Street Parking Garage. Thanks to a Green Communities grant, two more charging stations will be installed at the city offices at 20 Sanderson St. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 9/30/2022 1:05:29 PM

GREENFIELD — A $100,302 Green Communities grant will allow the city to continue its efforts toward reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The grant, awarded to the city by the state Department of Energy Resources through the Green Communities program, will allow the city to buy its first two fully electric vehicles — replacing two aging gas-powered vehicles used by the Building Inspections Department and the Health Department — and an electric vehicle charging station, which will be installed at the city offices at 20 Sanderson St. It will also cover the cost of upgrades to the wastewater plant heating system.

“I commend the city’s Department of Energy and Sustainability under the leadership of Carole Collins for bringing home the green in this highly competitive grant program,” Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said in a statement. “These upgrades will save taxpayers money and help to reduce Greenfield’s carbon footprint.”

Collins said at the end of each year, she reviews the city’s energy use and then considers what areas should be prioritized next.

“If I know some equipment is getting to the end of its reusable life, I try to come up with a clean energy project to replace it with,” Collins explained. “With the vehicles, I’m very excited that we’re getting these all-electric vehicles to replace some aging cars that needed to be replaced anyway.”

With respect to the wastewater treatment plant at 384 Deerfield St., high-efficiency air source heat pumps and a heat pump water heater will replace oil-fired heating equipment. The heat pumps will also provide much-needed air conditioning to the laboratory and other areas of the building, while achieving a net savings in operating costs.

Upon completion of this project, the city will have phased out the use of all heating oil in its all-season facilities, Collins said. She noted that getting away from oil is a “major goal” for the city.

“That’s kind of a big deal,” she said. “It’s been a long process, and many years of slowly switching buildings over from oil to gas,” Collins said.

Greenfield was one of the first communities in the state to be designated as a Green Community, according to a city press release. It was this designation that allowed Greenfield officials to apply for grants such as this one.

“For me, there’s no other way,” Collins said of the city’s focus on green initiatives. “If there’s a problem you can solve and by solving it … it’s going to save energy and it’s cleaner, and it’s going to reduce your operating and maintenance costs, it’s kind of the only way forward. We’ve seen a lot of changes over the past few years, where the cleaner technology is getting less and less expensive, and it’s better. It really is the best path forward.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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