The Green Community Designation and Grant Program provides a road map along with financial and technical support to municipalities that:
Pledge to cut municipal energy use by an ambitious and achievable goal of 20 percent over 5 years, and
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)
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.