Seven communities in western Massachusetts recently received the Green Communities designation from the commonwealth. The newly designated towns include Amherst, Conway, Pelham, Gill, Huntington, Northfield, and Sunderland.
In order to become a Green Community under the Green Communities Act, a municipality must meet 5 criteria:
• Adopt an expedited permitting process related to the as-of-right facilities;
• Establish a municipal energy use baseline and a program designed to reduce use by 20 percent within five years;
• Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use, whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable; and
• 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 (i.e., adoption of an energy-saving building “stretch code”)
With these towns attaining the Green Communities designation, 103 cities and towns throughout the commonwealth have earned the designation. There are 351 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts.
Cities and towns designated as a Green Community qualify for grantsto be used for renewable energy generation or energy saving
improvements. According to Mass.gov, Amherst qualifies for a $302,000 grant; Conway qualifies for a $139,650 grant; Gill qualifies for a $139,900 grant; Pelham qualifies for a $138,100 grant; Huntington qualifies for $140,650 grant; Northfield qualifies for a $143,750 grant; and Sunderland qualifies for a $146,450 grant.
Other towns in the Pioneer Valley that have already achieved the Green Community designation are: Belchertown, Granby, Shutesbury, Greenfield, Deerfield, Hatfield, Springfield, Holyoke, Easthampton, Leverett, Northampton, Palmer, Montague, and Monson.
If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.