Massachusetts has announced grants to 56 communities to help municipal, school and water districts embrace clean energy.
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito toured municipal buildings in Dalton, Middlefield and Williamsburg Thursday to learn about projects made possible by the towns’ participation in the state’s Green Communities Program.
“And to learn about the savings about incorporating these efficiencies into your buildings,” Polito says. “It takes effort to the Green Community, to the Selectmen, for developing the policy here and adopting it. And now, you are receiving all of the benefits from that hard work.”
Polito says that helps reduce energy consumption, costs and pollution, and create renewable energy alternatives, leading to more jobs. The Republican was joined by State Department of Energy Resource Commissioner Judith Judson.
“It really takes the work of the community to make it happen,” Judson says.
Polito announced Dalton, east of Pittsfield in Berkshire County, would receive $12,500 of the $661,000 in Municipal Energy Technical Assistance funding granted to 56 communities statewide.
Pittsfield, North Adams, Northampton and Springfield also received $12,500 apiece.
Polito says municipalities use the money to help fund planning studies for solar arrays and improving drinking water and wastewater facilities.
“A boiler, or lighting, or renewable energy sources,” Polito says.
Inside the Dalton Senior Center, town manager, Ken Walto, showed Polito how previous aid has impacted the town. The town upgraded the center’s heating and cooling system.
“We are going to update the HBAC controls – the so-called building automation systems,” Walto says.
That could cost up to $20,000.
“So, the next on deck is the Town Hall. It’s 125 years old. It’s in serious need of insulation in the upper stories,” Walto says. “Then following that we want to replace the boilers with the most energy efficient boilers that we can find.”
Dalton is also looking at switching all of the town’s lighting to LED. It has already invested in two new hybrid vehicles for the town, complete with a charging station outside the senior center.
Another way to get state funding for clean energy is by joining the Best Practices Compact, which 299 communities have signed.
“And Dalton is…,” Polito says.
“We’ll be the 300th,” Walto says.