Edgartown looks for Green Community status

Edgartown is seeking Green Community status. — Brian Dowd

For the past year and a half, Edgartown’s energy committee has been working on getting Green Community designation for the town.

Committee chair Alan Strahler gave a presentation to selectmen Tuesday outlining the committee’s efforts, and showing how energy is being used in town buildings. Selectman Michael Donaroma did not attend the meeting.

Green Community status provides a roadmap and financial support to municipalities that meet five criteria: passing zoning in designated locations in town to be available for renewable energy projects (municipal or commercial); promise expedited permitting responses for renewable energy projects; establish an energy baseline at town buildings, and set a five-year target for good-faith efforts to achieve a 20 percent reduction in energy use; agree to buy fuel-efficient municipal vehicles (police cruisers and heavy-duty vehicles are exempted); and adopt the Massachusetts’ Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code (780 CMR 115.AA) for energy efficiency. Buildings constructed to the stretch code use significantly less energy than buildings constructed under other codes.

One of the biggest advantages to being a Green Community is the town can apply for some of the $20 million a year in grants and loans dispensed by the program.

Strahler told selectmen the biggest energy user in town is the Edgartown School, which makes up 39 percent of the town’s energy bill. Town hall is at 16 percent, and the library and fire station are both at 11 percent. 

Strahler asked selectmen to instruct the energy committee to continue seeking Green Community status, and adopt a Green Community vehicle fuel-efficiency lease policy.

An article to adopt the stretch code is on the drafted warrant. Selectmen approve the warrant on March 9. Edgartown’s annual town meeting is on April 14.