Greenfield’s energy and sustainability director tapped to lead Northampton climate action department




Staff Writer

Published: 09-21-2023 5:21 PM

GREENFIELD — After roughly 13 years with the city, the last 10 of which she’s served as director of the Department of Energy and Sustainability, Carole Collins is stepping down for a new role in Northampton.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Collins said. “Greenfield was very close to my heart and I appreciated the opportunity to do the work I was able to do, and to make some difference.”

Collins was recently tapped by Northfield Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra to serve as Northampton’s first director of the new Climate Action and Project Administration (CAPA) Department. The department was created earlier in the year to help ensure future city projects meet climate and sustainability goals to achieve carbon neutrality.

The city of Northampton has ambitious goals to achieve carbon neutrality for all city operations by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The creation of CAPA is meant to help the city reach those goals, and mirrors action taken at the statewide level with the creation of the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience by the administration of Gov. Maura Healey.

“I’m really excited to work for the city I live in,” Collins said. “They’ve set up a new department that I’m really excited about.”

Under Collins’ leadership, Greenfield was recognized in 2021 by the state Department of Energy Resources for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% since 2008 and achieving a 25% reduction in municipal-wide energy consumption since 2016.

“We’ve gotten a lot done,” she said. “Honestly, I loved working with the community and doing different projects.”

Most recently, Collins helped guide the Library Building Committee toward designing a building that would be net-zero-ready. She was also instrumental in the transformation of the Fiske Avenue parking lot into a community gathering place and pollinator garden.

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“I was on the [Library Building Committee] so I was able to use my skills … to help inform meeting that goal,” Collins said. “And with the [fire station being constructed on Main Street], working on that project, and getting solar installed on the [Department of Public Works] building — that’s been a dream.”

Collins said when she started working with Greenfield in 2010, she served as the coordinator for energy/sustainability. In 2013, the first Department of Energy and Sustainability was created, and she was tapped to lead it.

“It’s really apt to say that we were building the plane as we flew it,” Collins recounted. “It was quite an honor to build the framework of the department, and create the programming and direction we would go in to achieve the goals … to align with the state’s reducing fossil fuel use, and eventually to become net-zero as a community.”

Collins has some work she is “finishing up” with Greenfield, but will begin the new role in Northampton on Oct. 2. She said she’ll miss working with the people of Greenfield.

“More good things are on the horizon,” she said. “And I’m sure there is going to be a great new director soon.”

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