City sets energy-savings goal

Mayor Setti Warren announced Wednesday that the entire city would try to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020. Newton has always prided itself in being an environmentally conscious community, Warren said, and this effort follows that tradition. The city is partnering with NStar, the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce, and the Eco-Project, an initiative of Green Decade Newton. As part of the Energy-Smart Newton program, the city government, which uses 20 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, is trying to reduce its yearly consumption by 500,000 kilowatt hours, said Bob Rooney, its chief operating officer. The Eco-Project hopes to work with more residents to show them how to reduce their carbon footprint, from sealing houses to traveling less, said the group’s director, Jay Walter. “It’s a suburb, we drive a lot and live in big houses,’’ he said. “We’re not asking people to change their lifestyle, but to look at the way we live and tweak around the edges.’’ The Chamber of Commerce is hosting several programs for its members about financial incentives to become more energy-efficient, said Peter Smith, chairman of the business organization’s Environment Committee. On March 20, the chamber will have energy company representatives speak about some of these incentives at a free breakfast program from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Needham Hotel. - Deirdre Fernandes