October 6, 2021 By Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham was designated a "green community" in 2018 under the Massachusetts Green Communities Designation and Grant Program, which included agreeing to the goal of reducing municipal energy by at least 20 percent over five years.
The next step -- following the expenditure of the initial grant funds awarded to the town -- is to apply for a grant of up to $200,000 for two LED lighting projects -- one at the high school and the other at town hall -- for the next competitive grant round upon the recommendation of new Asst. Town Administrator for Operations Art Robert at Tuesday's Select Board meeting. The board approved moving forward with this application.
Looking back, initial designation as a "green community" provides an immediate one-time grant based on available funds, number of applicants, and a grant allocation formula based in part on population and per capita income. Additional grants are also available to finance further energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at the local level based on certain criteria.
"It's a very competitive process," Robert said, noting that he expects a decision to be made before the end of the year.
"With our initial Designation Grant funds of about $142,000, we were able to complete three projects – two involving installing variable frequency drives (a type of motor controller that drives an electric motor by varying the frequency and voltage of its power supply) at South Elementary School and at the Broad Cove Pumping Station and another project enhancing the energy management system at Hingham High School to include demand control ventilation for the building’s common areas," Robert said.
The Green Communities Division staff works in partnership with local communities on a variety of energy-related activities, from reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings to establishing power purchase agreements that enable financially attractive renewable energy generation.
Basically, participants are provided with a "road map," along with financial and technical support. A big plus could be savings resulting from energy reduction efforts.