Montague was one of the first Green Communities designated in the State in 2010. The program has brought in over $500,000 funding for 15 different energy efficiency projects in 7 municipal buildings. As the Green Communities Coordinator I am pleased to report that as of FY2018 the Town has exceeded its 20% municipal energy use reduction goal. The baseline year was FY 2008 and the goal was set when Montague entered the program. Outside of reducing the town’s carbon footprint and enjoying lower utility bills, one of the rewards for having met this objective is that the Town may now secure Green Community grant funding for a wider array of projects.
The current funding round is implementing efficiency projects at Carnegie Library, Shea Theater, and Sheffield School. The Planning and Conservation Department manages the program on behalf of the Town.
Green Communities Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Report
Criterea 1: Provide as- of right siting for renewable/alternative energy generation, research & development, or manufacturing faciltities.
Montague has as-of right siting for large scale solar and renewable energry reseach and development in the industrial district. Renewable energry reseach and development is allowed by right in the Historic-Industrial District.
Criterea 2: Adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities.
Montague has two Chapter 34D expedited permitting sites that would allow energy facilities by right: Strathmore Mill and Sandy Lane Landfill. A 6MW solar facility was completed at Sandy Lane in FY18. Also, 5 MW solar facility was constructed off Lake Pleasant Road where the zoning allows large scale solar. At least 5MW are permitted for construction. Montague has more MW of solar than any other community in Franklin County, and most of western MA.
Criteria 3: Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent within 5 years
Montague can now report a 22.4% decrease in energy use since baseline year FY2008. This exceeds 20% energy reduction goal established in Montague’s Energy Reduction Plan. Energy use in municipal buildings has reduced by 33%. Since 2010 the Town has completed 15 Energy Conservation Measures at the Town Hall, Public Safety Complex, Water Pollution Control Facility, Carnegie Library, and Shea Theater and now Sheffield School Building. The main reason why the Town was able achieve the reduction goal in FY18 instead of FY17 or sooner is because the Water Pollution Control Facility has changed its solids processing methods during FY18 resulting from a DEP mandated study. The Town fully expects this trend to continue downward as the process used in FY15, FY16, and FY17 was energy intensive and will no longer be employed. (Energy Use at the WPCF is still up 25% from Baseline FY08, but is showing a declining trend). Vehicle fuel usage is modestly up from the previous year but can partially be attributed to reporting inconsistencies. Overall fuel usage has declined 23% from the baseline year due to replacement of older generation vehicles. These vehicles are mostly exempt from the fuel efficient vehicle purchasing policy, but are more efficient.
Criterea 4: Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles
Since the Town adopted a fuel-efficient vehicle purchasing policy in 2010, the town has replaced 4 (non-exempt) vehicles with fuel efficient vehicles. Note : The majority of Montague’s fleet is exempt. No non-exempt vehicles were replaced in FY18
Criterea 5: Set requirements to minimize life-cycle costs for new construction
Montague adopted the Stretch Code on 1/1/2011. It is still in effect.