Sustainability in Greenfield
Sustainability is a BIG concept and it will be an exciting but long journey to our goal. To make it happen, everyone has to get involved. Every action, big and small, is part of getting where we want to go.
This whole website is about sustainability in Greenfield. And it will document our progress.
This section helps us understand the whole– the sum of the parts. It has the results of our Energy Audit, and it invites you to contribute to the many ideas for what kind of things we want for our community – everything from energy options to food, water, and the many other issues that contribute to our quality of life. This section will also try and document our progress toward our goals.
Other sections of this web talk about what we mean by sustainability, and talk about our events, our work with youth,Green Heroes,businesses that have joined our 10% Challenge, a list of simple things you can do, how you can get involved, and community groups and businesses who are "walking the talk."
But first, let's take a few moments and celebrate some of our amazing achievements to date as individuals, as businesses, as organizations, and as a community. Please send us your stories to add to our list.
- Gov. Patrick's Leading by Example Award.Greenfield's efforts to reduce energy use and move toward sustainability were recognized in May 2010.About Greenfield's Award.About the Award.
- Green Community Designation.Greenfield is proud to have been the the first community to be named a Green Community by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in May 2010. This involved making a commitment to reduce energy used by municipal buildings etc. by 20% by 2012 and more. Map of Green Communities.About Green Communities.
- 10% Challenge.As of August 2012, over 1200 households have pledged to reduce their energy use by 10%.
- Zero-Net Energy Transit Station,the first in the nation, opened in May 2012. Built by the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) it offers bus service and housing for FRTA and FRCOG on Olive Street. For FRTA schedules.
- 2.0 MW Solar Farm on our old landfill, is cutting electrical costs by $200,000 a year, while also cutting carbon dioxide emissions, the major cause of climate change by 3600 tons (7.2 million pounds). It opened in July 2012. For ongoing energy generation info click here
- Wisdom Way Solar Villageis the first-in-the-nation near-zero-net-energy affordable housing project. The homes generate almost as much energy as they use. People building new homes are learning from this example and building near-zero-net-energy homes for the 21st century and beyond.
- Greenfield is the center of Contra Dancing in the Northeast!
- People understand the value "downtown" and shopping locally. Witness CISA's award-winning "local hero" campaign various campaigns that encourage us to shop locally.
- Cultural District & Bank Row Redevelopment Around 2011, the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority. worked on a project to redevelop Bank Row to increase downtown interest and people density! Renovated buildings have many energy efficient details, such as insulation, solar panels, and/or use efficient heating systems such as ground source heat pumps. In 2016, the Bank Row and Surrounding areas were declared a Cultural District by Massachusetts.
- Hundreds of people have home gardens and compost their waste, and some folks have invited their neighbors to join with them. Many of them are using innovative techniques such as permaculture and forest gardening.
- We have a Community Farmr un by Just Roots, and two community gardens! Pleasant Street Community Garden is in-town and there is one at the Community Farm.
- We have two farmer's markets,and numerous CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), a food pantry and more bringing local fresh produce to our downtown, and to low-income people.
- Many restaurants advertise that they sell local food. The People's Pint is committed to a No Trash policy! Everything is recycled!
- We have a food coop that 1) offers local organic produce and is 2) located downtown so that people can walk or bike to it 3) offers special discounts to low-income people. Green Fields Market
- Bikes: Racks have been installed throughout town, and a Greenfield Bicycle Coalition formed in 2014 to improve bike safety.
- More people ask Mass Save and Community Action for an energy assessment,and do energy upgrades to their homes than in any other community in Massachusetts.
- School sare getting involved in farming and local issues, and all of them have had energy upgrades. In 2016compostingwas added which is diverting 80% of cafeteria to Martin's Farm.
- Oursewage treatment plant is heated by our own wastewater and a heat pump.
- The Greenfield Energy Park offers FREE concerts all summer long, renewable energy displays, and native plantings!
- Many non-profits offer exciting learning opportunities. In addition to Greening Greenfield's (GG) efforts,Greenfield Community College,Trap Rock Center for Peace and Justice,Co-op Power, Sustainable Energy Association(NESEA), thePioneer Valley Institute, and theSenior Symposiumand many others enrich our lives.
Rail travel- to New York and Montreal started in 2015!
- In the fall of 2013, Greenfield will embarked on a Sustainable Master Planning process, which will offered everyone in Greenfield an opportunity to share your vision of what would make Greenfield a better and more sustainable place to live. The outcome is our 2015 master plan called Sustainable Greenfield Additionally, the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee was formed to ensure its implementation. Its reports written every 6-months can be see on its web site.
Major Municipal Accomplishments as of 2016:
2010 - Became one of the first Green Commuities in Massachsetts
2012 -installed 2MW solar array on our landfill
2014 Greenfield Solarize program resulted in the installation of 500kw on peoples roofs.
2014 -Greenfield Light & Power formed so that today everyone has 100% Green Electricity (Wind, solar, water) at a price that is less than the average Eversource rate.
2016 -Greenfield reduced Municipal energy use by 22%,exceeding Green Communities requirements. Over the past 6 years, the Town has saved over $2million on utility bills. It is now saving $500,000 each year. We also boast aNEW green High School(opened 2015)
- Waste: Greenfield operates an award-winning Household Hazardous Waste Program that includes a pay-as-you-throw system that has increased recycling over the past five years from 28% to 42% and reduced trash by 35% from 6469 tons to 4289 tons. Over that period, while the fees per ton of trash disposal increased by 42%, we reduced our trash disposal costs by 5%. The Town collects and properly disposes of mercury, paints, paper and cardboard, bottles, construction waste, metals, CRTs, fluorescent lights, and yard waste.
- Water: Between 2005-2009, our water and sewer department conducted a water leak survey and lined pipes to address the most severe problems, invested in numerous measures to cut energy use of pumps, improved building envelopes and installed a heat pump to cut energy use for heating, and the Town is exploring the feasibility of installing solar electric panels to meet some of our pumping needs. In 2009, the Greenfield Public Library installed a rain garden, to help manage storm water runoff, and educate others about the importance of reducing water run off.
- Parks: We have numerous Parks and green spaces for recreation and conservation. We have an ongoing program to improve our Parks.
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- Higher Education: Green Job training: Greenfield Community College (GCC) offers a nationally-recognized program that trains people for green jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and a cutting-edge Farm & Food program. Franklin County Tech School and the Greenfield High School offer green job classes and the opportunity to attend (GCC) courses
- Trees:Greenfield has received recognition as a "Tree City" by Tree City USA since 2004. This has been made possible by securing a steady source of income from grants, several funeral homes, and businesses and residents who contribute to our resident-created Tree Committee, which, in collaboration with the DPW, plants and maintains as many trees as possible each year. Our tree program helps to reduce the heat island effect and downtown air pollution, while beautifying our downtown and offering habitat to many critters.
- Businesses: Many businesses have taken the 10% Challenge. For some, building a more sustainable world is their core business and they are creating jobs in this area! For others it is their passion. Following are some examples:
- Co-op Power is a regional organization creating green jobs, offering energy efficiency services, community renewable energy projects and consulting and much more. They also own a biodiesel plant in our industrial park.
- Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics(PV2) is a worker-owned business providing turnkey renewable energy system installations at homes, businesses, municipalities and institutions.
- The Greenfield Solar Store offers solar and energy efficient products, books and information and more.
- Small Corp installed a 100kw solar electric system in 2009, which met 100% of their electrical needs. When their business expanded they installed an additional 60kw in 2015.
- Zaccheo Properties upgrades buildings with energy efficiency as one of their top priorities aiming for Zero-Net Energy!
Keeping our Money Local
There have been several efforts to launch a local currency! in 2013 a new debit card with a local twist was launched by Common Good Finance. it is called rCredits! Click to find out how you can join.