Mass Innovations, From The Beacon, February 2013

MMA Innovation Award winner, 2013

Medford trash compactorMedford, which has been pursuing environment-friendly initiatives for more than a decade, has added several new elements in the past few years, including efforts to reduce energy consumption throughout the city and to revamp its recycling program.

A year ago, Medford was among four municipalities and one regional district to be selected by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to create “Local Energy Action Programs” – essentially a means of planning and implementing clean-energy projects.

The aim in Medford, according to Carey Duques, the city’s energy and environment director, is to take advantage of free energy audits offered by National Grid through its Community Innovation Grant program. Because the funding is contingent on increasing the number of audits completed in Medford, city staff have been reaching out to residents and businesses to encourage participation.

Medford’s single-stream recycling program, introduced in late 2011, nearly doubled the rate of residential recycling in its first year, leading to an 11.5 percent reduction in overall costs for trash disposal and recycling, according to Duques.

Medford’s emphasis on green initiatives, now known as “Go Green,” dates back to 1999, when the City Council voted to support the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. Two years later, the city became the first in the state to establish a plan for reducing greenhouse gases.

By early 2009, a city-owned, 130-foot wind turbine had been erected on the grounds of the city’s McGlynn Middle School, providing energy savings as well as an educational component that could be woven into the school’s curriculum.

Each October, as part of the “Go Green” campaign, the city holds a “Harvest Your Energy” festival at Riverbend Park, adjacent to the McGlynn School and the wind turbine. A re-enactment of a Revolutionary War-era encampment takes place on the riverbank that same day – a juxtaposition that, Duques notes, helps broaden the potential audience for the city’s green goals.

For more information, contact Carey Duques at (781) 393-2137.

The winners of the annual Kenneth Pickard Municipal Innovation Awards were recognized at the MMA Annual Meeting on Jan. 26.