Newton kicks off green energy initiative

March 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Newton may already be known as the Garden City, but Mayor Setti Warren is hoping to make it a little greener.

Warren unveiled Energy-Smart Newton, a partnership between the municipal, residential and business sectors working to reduce energy consumption 20 percent citywide by 2020, on Wednesday. Energy experts, officials and local business owners joined the mayor at Chapman Construction, a LEED platinum certified green construction company on Highland Street.

“Newton is a place that has always prided itself on being one of the greenest communities in the commonwealth,” Warren said Wednesday. “We were the first city to adopt the stretch code and the first green community in the state.”

State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan praised Warren for bringing Newton to the forefront of energy reduction.

“We are looking to communities like Newton to take our energy challenges head-on by developing innovative programs, fostering community participation and setting ambitious clean energy goals,” Sullivan said, adding that Warren and other leaders have brought Newton to the forefront on clean energy.

In order to achieve its goal and teach residents and businesses how to cut down on their energy consumption, the city is partnering with Nstar, the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce and resident activist groups like the Green Decade. Green Decade is a group of Newton residents that work together to promote sustainable living and energy efficiency.

The city is hoping these partnerships will help residents and businesses learn about energy reduction incentive programs offered by the state including Mass Save. Mass Save is an initiative sponsored by utility and energy providers and the state to provide services like air sealing, subsidized insulation installation, rebates on heating equipment. 

The Eco-Project program of Green Decade has provided free energy assessments to 400 homeowners across the city, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

“Our mission is to simply help residents live more sustainably,” said Jay Walter, director of the Green Decade Newton Eco Project. “The residential sector accounts for 40 percent of the city’s total carbon emission.”

Reducing energy consumption has been a pillar of Warren’s administration, he said. His administration is aiming to cut energy consumption in city buildings by 500,000-kilowatt hours of a year, Chief Administrative Officer Bob Rooney said. City buildings currently are consuming 20 million kilowatt hours of energy annually.

The city is forecasting that this annual reduction of energy will yield $750,000 in savings through its partnership with Nstar, officials said.

Staff writer Chloe Gotsis can be reached at 781-433-8333 or at cgotsis@wickedlocal.com

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