What is the Green Communities Designation and Grant Program?

[EXCITING NEWS!  In 2018, SRPEDD helped bring over $800,000 into the region through Green Communities!  The Towns of Dighton, Fairhaven, Marion, Seekonk, and Wareham recently received Green Community designation by the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER).  With the designation, the communities received initial grants, which ranged from $132,672 to $204,952, to make investments in municipal facility energy improvements and renewable energy projects. Read more about this important and exciting program below.]  

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 since the first group of 35 municipalities achieved designation status in July of 2010 to include 210 cities and towns in the Commonwealth and approximately 68% of the population. The benefits of designation extend beyond the Program itself, inspiring cities and towns to undertake additional energy-related initiatives, improve coordination between municipal staff and departments, and increase messaging with the general public about energy-related issues and actions. To date, designated Green Communities have been awarded more than $39 million for energy projects.

SRPEDD is working with the following communities to assist them with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Designation and Grant Program:

For more information, please contact Eric Arbeene at 508.824.1367 x317


Benefits of Being a Green Community

  • Cut municipal energy costs and strengthen the local economies.
  • Access grants for clean affordable and resilient energy projects; economic development benefits for the city or town and the Commonwealth.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Promote energy-efficient building construction that drives the market for better built and lower cost homes.
  • Foster renewable energy and clean energy technologies.
  • Become a clean energy leader and a better place to live, work, and play.


Requirements for Becoming Designated as a Green Community

To become a designated Green Community, a municipality must complete all five of the criteria listed below:

Criterion 1: As-of-Right Siting – Renewable Energy/Alternative Energy

A municipality must provide zoning in designated locations for the as-of-right siting for one of the following:

        1. renewable or alternative energy generating facilities,


        2. renewable or alternative energy research and development (R&D) facilities,


        3. renewable or alternative energy manufacturing facilities

Criterion 2: Expedited Permitting

A municipality must adopt an expedited application and permitting process under which Criterion 1 facilities may be sited within the municipality, and the permitting process shall not exceed one (1) year from the date of initial application to the date of final approval.

Criterion 3: Energy Baseline / 20 Percent Energy Reduction Plan

A municipality must establish an energy use baseline inventory for all municipal buildings (which includes school buildings, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and open spaces), vehicles, and street and traffic lighting. A municipality must also adopt a comprehensive five-year Energy Reduction Plan (ERP) designed to reduce that baseline by 20 percent after completion of a full five-years of implementing its ERP.

Criterion 4: Purchase Only Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

All Departments in the municipality must purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable.

Criterion 5: Minimize Life-Cycle Costs

A municipality must require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to minimize, to the extent feasible, the life cycle cost of facilities/buildings by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies.

The recommended way for cities and towns to meet this requirement is by adopting the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) Stretch Code (780 CMR 115.AA), an appendix to the MA State Building Code.


Program Information




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