With the mayoral campaign underway and the community forum taking place November 1st, many Peabody residents may be questioning the future status of the city.
Peabody has the ability to make choices about its own integrity, and these choices will affect the kind of future the city will see. Among these choices will be the decision to become a Green Community, along with 74 other cities and towns in Massachusetts. What you may not know about becoming a Green Community (GC) is that as a city with GC status Peabody will be given the tools to make various important changes by following a pre-set format. Peabody will also receive technical assistance and access to the Mass Energy Insight (a completely free web based energy management tool), and the city will gain funding for projects through the Green Communities Grant and Loan Program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. A total of $10 million per year is currently being distributed to GCs in our state.
Communities that want to become certified Green Communities must follow a set of 5 specific criteria necessary to align buildings and vehicles with standards that are more energy efficient.
- Criterion 1 states that a town must “Provide as-of-right siting in designated locations for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing facilities.”
- Criterion 2 requires an adoption of “an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.”
- Criterion 3 relates to a town establishing “an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent (20%) within five (5) years.”
- Criterion 4 intimates the future procurement policy “of only fuel-efficient vehicles.”
- Criterion 5 centers on the “set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs in new construction. The recommended method for achieving this is adoption of the new Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Energy Code.” Under the Stretch Energy Code Peabody must agree to require all new residential construction that is over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce life cycle energy costs. Criterion 5 (Stretch Energy Code) is for new construction only.
With each set criteria met, along with the Energy Reduction Plan and selected city improvement projects, Peabody will quickly be able to not only improve infrastructure and save money, but will also enhance the quality of life for all residents. These improvements are already apparent in several other GCs in our state. Being a Green Community will allow Peabody to become a sought after place to live.
Join us Tuesday, November 1st at 7 p.m. at the Torigian Community Life Center on Central Street for the Community Forum.
Kelly Noonan, GreenPeabody