Needham is seeking to earn state recognition for its efforts to curb its energy use and rely more on renewable sources, a move that could position it to earn new grant funding.
The town recently submitted an application to become a Green Community, a designation the state provides to cities and towns that take specified steps to become more energy efficient and to expand their uses of renewable energy. Those earning the status become eligible to receive grants for energy-related projects.
To date, 240 municipalities have been named Green Communities. Needham Selectmen in November voted to submit the application after receiving support for the idea from residents. The School Committee also voted to support the plan.
To earn Green Community status, a community must develop a program to reduce energy usage by 20 percent in five years; adopt “as of right” zoning and expedited permitting for renewable energy projects; adopt a policy to purchase only fuel-efficient municipal vehicles; and institute building code standards to require energy efficient construction.
“We are confident we will meet the requirements set forth by the state to achieve this designation,” Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “In fact, much of the work to reduce our energy costs and cut carbon emissions is already underway. We’re very focused on sustainability in all the work we do here in Needham and proud of our results.”
John Laidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.