Green Communities

The Green Community Designation and Grant Program provides a road map along with financial and technical support to municipalities that: 

  1. Pledge to cut municipal energy use by an ambitious and achievable goal of 20 percent over 5 years, and 
  2. Meet four other criteria established in the Green Communities Act. 

Participation in the Program has grown steadily across the Commonwealth to include 291 designated communities. Over 89.3% of the Commonwealth's population reside in designated Green Communities. The Town of Needham was designated as a Green Community in 2020. 

Guidelines for Qualifying as a Green Community

To receive official Green Communities designation, cities and towns must: 

  • Adopt a local zoning bylaw or ordinance that allows “as-of-right-siting” of renewable energy projects - siting that does not unreasonably regulate these uses (Criterion 1
  • Adopt an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities (Criterion 2
  • Establish a municipal energy use baseline and establish a program designed to reduce baseline use by 20 percent within 5 years (Criterion 3
  • Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable (Criterion 4)  
  • Require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to reduce life-cycle energy costs (Criterion 5

Find out more about the Green Communities guidelines.

Green Communities Grants in Needham

Since becoming a Green Community in 2020, Needham received a $148,270 designation grant to fund energy conservation measures, including LED lighting upgrades, in municipal facilities. These upgrades have occurred at the Pollard Middle, Mitchell, and Newman Schools.