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In just eight years, the town of Montague has reduced its municipal energy usage by 23 percent, surpassing its original goal of 20 percent.
The goal was set in 2010, when Montague became one of the first towns in the state to qualify for the Green Communities program.
“We’re happy to have reached this goal and don’t intend to stop pursuing more energy efficiency,” said Walter Ramsey, town planner and Green Communities coordinator. “We’re just getting going.”
Over the past eight years, the town completed 15 different energy conservation projects in seven of its nine municipal buildings, including Town Hall, the library and the public safety complex.
The projects to reduce energy usage included lighting upgrades and building envelope improvements, as well as more expensive projects like upgrades of HVAC units and building controls, weatherization, and replacing pumps at the wastewater plant.
To work on its upgrades and improvements, the town received a total of $409,000 in Green Communities funds, which the town supplemented with other funding sources.
Meeting its goal opens the door to additional grants the town can apply for through the Green Communities program. Every grant round has different rules, Ramsey said, but reaching the 20 percent reduction means the town could, for example, pursue grants for a regional school district-owned building. It also expands potential energy projects to solar thermal and alternative heating sources.
“Fundamentally, Montague is a community that tries to live by its principles,” said Town Administrator Steven Ellis. “And we are both resources-constrained and environmentally responsible. Our pursuit of this is a part of our environmental and economic principles.”