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Montague reaches goal to reduce municipal energy use two years earlier than expected

  • Montague has reduced its carbon footprint by 20 percent since 2010. Town Hall has been one of its areas of focus. FILE PHOTO



Staff writer
Sunday, December 02, 2018

MONTAGUE — Montague’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 20 percent since 2010.

Walter Ramsey, town planner and green communities coordinator, said the town has finally reached its goal of reducing municipal energy use in less than 10 years.

“This year, I have exciting news, we hit a milestone as a community. We have officially reached our goal,” Ramsey told the Selectboard. “We have dropped energy use by about 23 percent back to our baseline year, which was almost 10 years ago. What that means, aside from reduced energy use and carbon footprint, is the town will be enabled to apply for renewable energy projects through the Green communities program.”

He gave the news during the presentation of the annual Green Communities report to the Selectboard this week. Following the report’s unanimous approval by the board, the town can apply for green communities grants.

Town Administrator Steve Ellis said that because the town has not only been able to reach its goal in less than 10 years, but exceed the goal, is remarkable.

“It shows we’re serious with our intentions, not only because its the right thing to do, but because it’s also cost effective,” Ellis said. “This is a smart program and we’re looking forward to continuing to reduce energy use in the future.”

Since its designation in 2010, the Green Communities Program has brought in more than $400,000 funding for 15 different energy efficiency projects in seven municipal buildings. Projects have included energy conservation measures in Town Hall, the Public Safety Complex, Ware Pollution Control Facility, Carnegie Library, Shea Theater and Sheffield School Building.

According to the report, one of the main reasons the town was able to meet its goal is because the Ware Pollution Control Facility “has changed its solids processing methods during the 2018 fiscal year resulting from a DEP mandated study.”

Montague was one of the first Green Communities designated in the state in 2010, which was when the town established the goal to reduce municipal energy use by 20 percent, Ramsey said.

Before reaching the energy reduction goal, the town was limited to energy efficiency projects. Now, the scope of what the town can apply for can expand to include renewable energy projects, like solar panels.

“That’s the little kicker for reaching that goal,” Ramsey said.

He added that the town is going to continue reducing energy use through projects for the schools and possibly the waste water treatment plant, which are the two biggest energy users.

“As the Green Communities Coordinator, I am pleased to report that as of the 2018 fiscal year, the town has exceeded its 20 percent municipal energy use reduction goal. The baseline year was the 2008 fiscal year, and the goal was established when Montague entered the Green Communities Program in 2010,” Ramsey said. “One of the rewards for having met this objective is that the town may now secure grant funding for renewable energy projects, in addition to efficiency projects. Of course, the biggest benefit is a reduced carbon footprint and reduced utility expenses.”