Twenty-one cities and towns across Massachusetts have been named “Green Communities,” making them eligible to receive over $3.7 million in grants for local renewable power and energy efficiency projects, the state announced. The 21 communities join 53 others already given the designation.
The Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, part of the Department of Energy Resources, was put into effect in 2008 by Gov. Deval Patrick. To be eligible, cities and towns must meet certain requirements, including using only fuel-efficient municipal vehicles and enacting energy-efficient building codes. Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said the program “rewards cities and towns that face their energy challenges by adopting green energy practices, which reduce energy costs for municipal residents and create sustainable energy solutions for municipal operations.”
The funding for the grants comes from auctions of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This means that when a business pays for the permission to release carbon dioxide into the air, revenue generated goes to researching and implementing green technology in the communities.
In addition to receiving grant money for sustainable and renewable energy projects, the newly designated green communities received a certificate from the Commonweath, four road signs to boast their official greenness to the public, and at least one Big Belly solar trash compactor for public use.