Opinion: Save our Green Community Designation

Apr 16, 2024

To the editor:

It’s hard to believe that the town of Marion would vote to end its status as a Green Community, but the Select Board is considering it. Marion’s Energy Management Committee brought this program to the town seven years ago believing that we should support the Commonwealth’s effort to reverse or mitigate climate change. Destructive storms, weird weather and global warming will come to Marion just as they have in the rest of the world unless we all join the effort to reverse the trend.

Since 2017, we have won Green Community grants for more than $548,000 to build energy conservation measures in municipal buildings. So far we have succeeded in reducing the municipal energy use by 24%, providing repeated annual savings worth about $200,000 each year. The energy audits and engineering for these municipal projects was paid for with Green Communities grants.

Three building codes regulate construction in MA (Base, Stretch and Specialized). All 291 Green Communities have recognized the need to build homes with higher standards of insulation and lower carbon emissions, but now our Select Board is considering a switch from the Stretch Code to the Base Code in hopes that it will encourage construction with fewer energy conservation measures for a lower price.

Towns on the Base Code are generally known for doing as little as possible in the fight against climate change. I would rather that Marion follow the more responsible path and continue its campaign for a healthier world.

Energy Management Committee members recommend that we stay with the Stretch Code and remain a Green Community. Let's hope that the Select Board and others in this beautiful town will agree when the issue comes to a vote.

Bill Saltonstall
Member of Energy Management Committee