Orange, Royalston receive ‘green’ designation, money

  • Royalston officials receive the town’s check for becoming a Green Community. From left to right are Nick Connors, Jim Barclay, Christine Long and Karen Chapman. For the Athol Daily News/Mary C. Barclay

  • Orange officials receive the town’s check for becoming a Green Community. From left to right, Nick Connors, Rice Flanders, Henry Oertel, Deb Kent, Pat Larson and Judith Judson. For the Athol Daily News/Mary C. Barclay

For the Athol Daily News
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Orange and Royalston have joined the list of towns across the state that have been designated “green,” and receive money to make energy upgrades.

Judith Judson, commissioner of the state Department of Energy Resources, and Nick Connors, director of Green Communities, recently visited Orange Town Hall, presenting ceremonial checks totaling more than $421,000 to three area towns. The pair cited Orange and Royalston, as well as Shelburne to the west, as among the newest of 25 recently-designated “Green Communities” in the Commonwealth.

The Green Community Designation and Grant Program provides financial and technical support to communities willing to cut municipal energy usage by an “ambitious, but achievable, goal of 20 percent over five years.”

Green Community grants are used to reduce municipal energy costs, the savings from which presumably underwrite more energy-saving projects. In addition, the funded changes reduce the carbon footprints left by municipalities, reduce strain on energy grids during peak times, and in general, reduce individual customer costs.

Orange, for example, will use some of this latest Green Community grant to make energy-saving changes to its grand, but energy-inefficient, Town Hall, and for boiler controls at Fisher Hill School, while Royalston will swap out old lighting fixtures and replacing them with highly-efficient LED fixtures.

Orange Energy Committee members Rice Flanders, Henry Oertel, Deb Kent, and Pat Larson were on hand to accept their town’s check for $159,830. Selectboard Chairwoman Christine Long and Building Committee member Jim Barclay received Royalston’s $129,365.

Other officials in attendance for the event included Western Massachusetts Green Communities Coordinator Jim Barry; Department of Energy Resources Communications Director Jessica Ridlen; and Karen Chapman, principal planner for the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission.

The host town was well-represented by Orange Community Development Administrator Adrienne Bedaw; Colin Killay, superintendent of Orange Highway, Parks, and Cemeteries Departments; Orange Town Accountant Gail Weiss; and Town Clerk Nancy M. Blackmer.

Orange representatives provided an array of refreshments for the social following the presentation.

Green Communities must meet several criteria for the designation. In addition to adopting specified zoning bylaws, they must create expedited permit processes for green energy sources, commit to replacing vehicles with hybrids and electrics where possible and identify current municipal energy usage and institute plans that will demonstrating at least a 20 percent reduction over five years.

The three new towns of towns bring the number of Massachusetts communities designated as green to 210, or 72 percent. For more details on the Green Communities Program and grant opportunities, visit www.bit.ly/2rIP263

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