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Mendon Receives Green Designation

Mendon was one of 21 communities recently named by Governor Patrick's administration as a Green Community making each of those towns eligible to apply for $3.7 million in grant funding from the Department of Energy. In all, 74 communities in Massachusetts now have a Green Designation.

A total of $145,925 has been set aside for Mendon to use on energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Mendon will be applying for that grant funding over the summer. Initially, funds will be spent to complete an energy audit to find out where any energy inefficiencies may be in each of the town buildings. Other projects could include replacing or upgrading inefficient heating and lighting systems and replacing old light bulbs with more energy efficient ones. National Grid would pay 70 percent of the replacements and the town would fund the remaining 30 percent with the grant funding.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy is behind the Green Communities Program and uses funding from auctions of carbon emission permits to reward towns designated as green. In order to receive the Green Community designation, Mendon had to reach five benchmarks having to do with clean energy which include purchasing fuel-efficient municipal vehicles and adopting a Stretch Code Bylaw that will now make the construction of new commercial and residential structures more energy efficient. In addition, an Energy Reduction Plan was developed and approved by the Board of Selectmen, and a Site Plan Review Bylaw and a Solar Panel Overlay District Bylaw were voted in by residents at recent Town Meetings.

"We are making real progress in achieving a clean energy future for the Commonwealth, one community at a time," said Governor Deval Patrick in a press release statement. "These investments encourage energy savings, create jobs and protect our environment-boosting our economy and improving our quality of life."

Resident Anne Mazar played a key role in Mendon receiving the designation and compiled the information necessary for the Energy Reduction Plan needed. However, Mazar said without the help of volunteers who donated hundreds of hours of their time, it would not have been possible to complete all the information needed for the designation.

Bylaw Review Committee Chair Shirley Smith worked to design the Solar Bylaw and the Site Plan Review Bylaw that was required for the Green Communities application. Planning Board member Barry Iadarola was also instrumental in helping to pass the Stretch Code Bylaw. In addition, Mazar thanked former Town Coordinator Dale Pleau who pulled together the clean vehicle policy. The town also applied for and received 100 hours of free consulting from the Department of Energy Resources to help with the application.

"There was information gathered by many town departments and the Selectmen were very supportive. Mendon would not have been designated without the town's support," said Mazar.


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