Friday, August 14, 2009
Energy task force considers going “green”
At the July 21 meeting of the Energy Task Force, Chair Dan Cook suggested the committee make a recommendation to be part of the Massachusetts Green Communities program.
According to the Green Communities website (www.mass.gov, search on “Green Communities”), the program was enacted in July of 2008 and offers grants to towns wanting to save energy in public buildings, or to use renewable sources such as wind and solar energy. To receive grants, towns must be certified by satisfying five criteria:
1. Allow renewable or alternative energy generating, research or development facilities.
2. Application and permit process must be under one year for the facilities.
3. Establish energy use baseline inventory for town buildings, vehicles, street lighting, and put a plan in place to reduce baseline by 20% within five years.
4. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are practicable.
5. Require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial construction to utilize energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies.
Committee member and Building Inspector John Luther said he would work with Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie to look into the application process. Reached later by phone, McKenzie said Luther determined it would not be possible to satisfy the criteria. For example, she noted, “We would have to replace all our trucks within one year.” She said, “It is too costly at this time.”
Stretch codes, HERS ratings
The committee also discussed whether Carlisle might adopt the state’s “Stretch Codes,” an optional amendment to the building code that would require new residences over 3,000 square feet to have a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rating of less than 65 (versus the current 100).
Committee member Glenn Reed noted a public hearing must be held before the Stretch Codes are adopted. He will look into the costs of having homes HERS inspected.
Luther wondered what effect it would have on Carlisle, which includes many larger homes. Susan Stamps of Carlisle Climate Action Committee and the Housing Authority replied, “We need to change our thinking about housing.”
For more information on the Stretch Codes: www.mass.gov/Eeops/docs/dps/inf/stretch_code_overview_jun05_09.pdf. ∆
© 2009 The