The Town of Framingham is committed to increasing sustainability both in its own operations and Townwide. Sustainability means many things in a Town like Framingham and we use multiple means to strive for it. This effort impacts energy consumption and environmental issues and our efforts are still evolving across multiple Town Departments. This page identifies some of the ways that the Town is working to make strides towards sustainability.
Framingham was designated a Green Community in 2014, recognizing the Town as a committed energy-conscious and green entity. Green Communities qualifies the Town for energy grants—last year the Town was awarded over $300,000 to develop an energy efficient lighting system for the Framingham Public Library in addition to other projects.
As a Green Community, Framingham accomplished or committed to these goals:
· Create as-of-right zoning for renewable energy generation, R&D, or manufacturing
· Adopt an expedited permitting process for energy facilities
· Establish an energy use baseline and develop a plan to reduce energy use by 20% in the next 5 years
· Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles
· Adopt the Stretch Code which requires more efficient materials for all new construction
Learn more about the State DOER Green Communities Designation Program here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/energy-utilities-clean-tech/green-communities/gc-grant-program/
The Town is in the process of finalizing its LEAP plan which will examine how our municipal, residential, and commercial sectors can work together to reduce their energy consumption over the next 5 years. Town Staff, working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and a team of key stakeholders has developed four milestones for Town wide Energy reduction:
- By 2020, reduce Framingham community energy use by 20%
- By 2020, increase the percentage of Framingham’s renewable energy production by 10%.
- Create a communications strategy for continued Clean Energy Outreach and Education
- Develop a strategy for Framingham to sustain its clean energy efficiency and generation efforts.
For more information, contact the Community and Economic Development Division.
Using a federal grant from the US EPA, the Town helps commercial property owners investigate environmental conditions on qualifying sites in Framingham which are being considered for redevelopment. The EPA defines a brownfield site as "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant". The Town has had an active Brownfields Redevelopment Program since 2007. For more information visit www.framinghamma.gov/brownfields.
The ESCO analyzes and quantifies the feasibility of installing energy conservation measures (ECMs) in municipal buildings. The Town’s expenditure of $3.6 million for recommended ECMs will achieve savings of over $300,000 a year that pays off the debt so the projects pay for themselves. ECMs include street light & building lighting systems, upgrades to new boilers, HVAC upgrades and weatherization improvements. The Framingham ESCO contract with Framingham-based Ameresco was authorized at the Annual Town Meeting in Spring 2014.
The Town is increasing solar energy capacity—both in the public and private sector – in a number of ways. The Town is in talks to enter into a net metering agreement to purchase 900kw of solar power directly from a new installation at Framingham Salvage. In addition, as part of the Green Communities criteria, the Town designated three distinct properties as target zones for expedited permitting of as-of-right solar installations. Framingham also boasts a number of high-visibility private sector solar installations, including solar canopies at REI on Route 30 and at Staples in the 9/90 Office Park just off Route 9 near MasssPike Exit 12. Many will also notice the impressive new solar array installed by MassDOT in the high-visibility, unused “cloverleaf” land at Exit 13. This solar gateway sends a message to the rest of the region – many of whom enter Framingham from that exit – that Framingham is a sustainable place. Many individual homes in Framingham also benefitted from last summer’s “Solarize Framingham” partnership with Next Step Living as well as other companies in the area who offer solar energy deals for almost every price range and home type.