Winchester “now identifies itself as a town that saves energy,” according to Energy Conservation Coordinator Susan McPhee.
Organizing an energy committee is a key step for cities and towns seeking to implement more effective clean energy and energy efficiency improvements. The energy management committee for this town of about 21,000 is a case in point. McPhee said that her town established the committee in 2005 because the energy portion of the municipal budget was “getting out of control.”
Winchester’s energy management committee includes 11 people – four staff (including McPhee) and seven volunteers from the community. The committee’s many initiatives have resulted in annual savings to the town of $643,000. These initiatives include a unit air conditioning policy, idling reduction policy, computer use savings measures, and an energy efficient building policy.
When I interviewed her, McPhee emphasized the importance of communication to the success of the Winchester energy management committee. The committee, McPhee told me, has kept the Winchester community informed of energy initiatives through an annual “touch-base” with the other committees in Winchester, and through local TV and newspaper coverage. Quantifying energy savings in dollars, and sometimes characterizing those dollars in terms of teachers’ salaries, has proven an effective means to win public support for the work of the committee, according to McPhee.
For other Massachusetts cities and towns considering establishing an energy committee, DOER has several recommendations. First, ensure that the energy committee consists of both municipal officials and people outside of government. Integral team members may include: an experienced energy specialist or engineer; representatives of the facilities maintenance department, finance department, local utility, mayor’s office, Board of Selectmen, city/town council, and/or municipal manager’s office; interested citizens. Government members and energy specialists may provide essential information, expertise, and training. Individuals from outside of the government can contribute diverse perspectives and help the committee to engage the broader community.
Experimenting with the structure of an energy committee may enhance its effectiveness. For example, Winchester reduced the size of its committee, allowing it to function more effectively. Establishing an energy committee can help municipalities to realize their local clean energy potential. DOER’s Green Communities Division and its regional coordinators are here to help towns and cities take this important first step.
National Energy Efficiency Day posted on Oct 5
In honor of National Energy Efficiency Day, DOER would like to highlight some of the programs and initiatives that have helped make Massachusetts the most energy efficient state in the nation for the sixth year in a row. Mass Save, a utility run-ratepayer funded program, offers a …Continue Reading National Energy Efficiency Day
Massachusetts Named Most Energy Efficient State for Sixth Consecutive Year posted on Oct 5
Shares Top Spot with California on American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy Scorecard BOSTON – September 27, 2016 –The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that the Commonwealth has been named the most energy efficient state in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) …Continue Reading Massachusetts Named Most Energy Efficient State for Sixth Consecutive Year
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $14 Million for Energy Resiliency Grant Program posted on Oct 5
Grants Available to Critical Care Facilities Requiring Back-Up Clean Energy Power Generation HOLYOKE – September 22, 2016 –The Baker-Polito Administration today announced $14 million in grant opportunities for energy resiliency projects at critical care facilities across Massachusetts. The grants are the latest round of theCommunity Clean …Continue Reading Baker-Polito Administration Announces $14 Million for Energy Resiliency Grant Program