By John Lynds
After a presentation from Neil Duffy of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources to the Lynn City Council’s Education and Environmental Committee, the Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to adopt the committee’s recommendation to designate Lynn as a Green Community.
The move means that Lynn is now eligible for a $500,000 grant from the state for technical assistance that helps non-green communities become start becoming green communities by increasing the use of renewable energy in public buildings, facilities and schools.
“It was a very productive presentation from Neil Duffy regarding getting Lynn designated as a Green Community,” said Committee Chair, Councilor Wayne Lozzi. “This is something I’ve jumpstarted (with the committee). I think it is a needed and necessary move for Lynn.”
Tuesday vote is the first step in the state’s Green Communities and Grant Program, which helps cities and towns navigate and meet the five criteria required to become a Green Community. Once the criteria’s are met in Lynn, the city will be qualified for further grants from the state that finance additional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at the local level.
To become a full-fledged Green Community, Lynn must provide as-of-right zoning in designated locations for renewable and alternative energy generation, research and development, or manufacturing facilities. Lynn must then adopt an expedited application and permit process for as-of-right energy facilities. Lynn will then establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by twenty percent within five years. The city must then purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles. Finally Lynn must set requirements to minimize life-cycle energy costs for new construction in the city.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program has helped 185 cities and towns earn Green Community designation so far.
This year around $6.5 million in additional grants for energy projects in newly designated Green Communities will go towards reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings, helping cities and towns adopt the latest building codes, as well as reducing a municipalities overall carbon footprint.