Greenfield recognized for clean energy efforts

  • Carole Collins, Greenfield’s director of the Department of Energy and Sustainability, accepts an award from state Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Community and Economic Development Director MJ Adams and Grant Assistant Christian LaPlante play a game of chess after September’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fiske Avenue pocket park. The transformation of the parking lot into a community gathering space was credited as on example of why Greenfield earned the 2021 Leading by Example Award from the state Department of Energy Resources. STAFF FILE PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

  • Carole Collins, director of Greenfield’s Department of Energy and Sustainability, referred to the improvements at the Fiske Avenue parking lot as a “collaborative effort” during a September ribbon cutting ceremony. The transformation of the parking lot into a community gathering space was credited as on example of why Greenfield earned the 2021 Leading by Example Award from the state Department of Energy Resources. STAFF FILE PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 1/19/2022 3:35:08 PM
Modified: 1/19/2022 3:34:04 PM

GREENFIELD — The city was recently recognized as one of 11 municipalities to receive the 2021 Leading by Example Award from the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER).

“It felt really great to be recognized by the state,” said Carole Collins, director of the Department of Energy and Sustainability.

According to a news release from the city, Greenfield was recognized for its accomplishments in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% since 2008, and maintaining a more than 20% reduction in energy consumption across the municipality for the past five years.

Collins explained that, with respect to the accomplishment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, those numbers are determined using a system of equivalencies. For instance, for every gallon of oil that’s burned, a standard is set for how many pounds of greenhouse gas emissions that equates to.

As for the reduction in energy consumption, she said, since 2008 the city has tracked its energy consumption in buildings, street lights or open spaces, for example. Those numbers are put into a table and sent to the DOER to track progress.

“Public sector leaders at the state and local level play a crucial role in contributing innovative approaches and solutions that help our state meet its ambitious climate and clean energy goals,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement.

Additionally, the city was credited for projects such as the transformation of the Fiske Avenue parking lot into a community gathering place and pollinator garden, and the Greenfield Police Department switching its fleet to hybrid cruisers and replacing the station’s HVAC system with a higher-efficiency system.

“Saving energy has also saved the city money,” Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said in a statement. “Over $4.5 million has been saved through renewable energy generation on the capped landfill and energy reduction work paid for in large part by grants and utility incentives.”

Collins, who attended an awards ceremony in December, said Greenfield was one of the first designated Green Communities in the state.

“It’s always been part of the administration’s agenda to pursue whatever we could do to reduce our energy consumption, and it’s always coincided with reducing city expenditures,” she said. “Every project we work on saves the city money.”

In addition to the vehicles already replaced at the Police Station, the department is looking into buying electric vehicles for other departments in need of new vehicles.

“That’s kind of a big shift,” Collins said.

She said the city also plans to assess three buildings, with the hope of switching them over to cleaner energy sources.

“There’s grant money available to cover that cost,” she said. “It’s a multi-step process to identify projects that make sense and find contractors we can work with, and seek out grant money to cover it.”

Collins said recognition from the DOER, which has administered many of the grants received by the city for clean energy programs, offered her a moment to step back and realize the work the city has managed to accomplish.

“I hope it’s showing there are ways to do these things,” she said. “It does require work and keeping an eye out to take advantage of programs and monies when they become available, but you can do all this and it’s kind of amazing.”

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


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