Commitment“If you cannot measure it, you cannot control it.”

To develop a sustainability PLAN and IMPLEMENT it, the first step is to asses where we are, and then explore what is possible, make a plan, measure our progress, and update our plan as needed, so that we can reach our ultimate goal of sustainability.

As a first step in creating a plan to cut climate change emissions, we wanted to asses our energy use – the greatest source of climate change emissions. Equally important, our dependence on fossil fuels has made us vulnerable to energy interruptions, and it is draining financial resources from our community.

In 2007 Greenfield joined ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Program to assess our energy use. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability is an international organization, connected with the United Nations. They offer guidance and software to help towns measure the energy that we all use in our communities. Click here to see Greenfield’s 10 Step process – and where we are in that process. To find out more about ICLEI and its many programs, go to For example, in 2010 they published the Sustainable Planning Tool Kit. And more resources are coming soon.

Key Findings of Greenfield Energy Audit:

The most startling finding was that in FY2008, our community as a whole spent over $86 million on energy, for lighting, heating and transportation.  $68 million of those dollars left our community! Read more by clicking above or below.

Greenfield Energy Audit -- Complete document, 112 pages (download PDF (9MB)

Chapter by Chapter: Greenfield Energy Audit

Table of Contents

Credits and Acknowledgements

Our Vision, p 1

Executive Summary, pp 2-4


  1. Introduction:  pp 5-6
  2. Inventory Methodolgy – What we did:  pp 7-9
  3. Government Energy Audit FY01 & FY08, pp 10-17; and Appendix 2
  4. Community-Wide Energy Audit FY01 & FY08; pp 18-32; and Appendix
  5. Greenfield/ICLEI step #5: Setting Goals, pp 33
  6. Greenfield/ICLEI Step #6: Assessing our Options and Setting Milestones, pp 34-49
  7. Measuring Our Progress Toward Sustainability, p 50
  8. Conclusions, pp 51-54 

Appendix: Greenfield Energy Audit

  1. Mayoral Resolution to join ICLEI, February 2008 
  2. Government Energy Audit Charts 
  3. Community-wide Energy Audit Charts  & Fuels Tutorial 
  4. Annual Energy Report to Mayor from DPW, August, 2008 
  5. Resources for residents (Note: see Taking Personal Actionfor most up-to-date resources)
  6. Existing and Potential Renewable Energy Resources 

Goals Set for 2050

As a direct result of the Greenfield Energy Audit, in January 2009, Mayor Christine Forgey announced two long range goals for 2050.

     1.  ZERO Greenfield Energy $$$ leaving the region

     2.  80% reduction in climate change emissions

Measuring Our Progress

Progress reports toward our 2050 goals are posted here.
In February 2012 we published our second annual Greenfield Energy Use Report Card, which showed progress toward our goals. See below for graphic. To read analysis of our efforts and read our news release click here.
For an anecdotal list of things Greenfield has accomplished to date, such as building a zero-net-energy affordable housing project, please click here.

Master Planning

In 2013-2014 everyone in Greenfield was invited to participate in writing a Sustainability Master Plan.

This plan, Sustainable Greenfield, was published in January 2015.


 In Massachusetts, towns are required to have Master Plan no more than 10 years old to receive state grants. Greenfield’s Master Plan was written in 2001, so we needed to update our plan. 

What is a Master Plan?

What is the process of creating or updating a Master Plan?

In Greenfield, the Planning Board takes the lead on Master Planning.

Their efforts are supported by the Planning Department. The Planning Department’s web site has posted the 2001 Greenfield Master Plan, as well a several other more recent documents, such as the 2008 Greenfield Community Development Strategy that will also be helpful in the planning process. To find Greenfield’s planning documents click on the “publications” link and look for Planning Documents heading.  The planning Department site also has a link to the Greenfield Redevelopment Authority, which has a document posted called the 2006 Bank Row Urban Renewal Plan, which is critically important to the planning process. Another useful document was written in 2008 for the Community Development Block Grant Program called Greenfield Community Economic Development Strategy. 

The following elaborates on the above. 

(Adapted from FRCOG guidance document by GGEC)

Public Meetings and Surveys. While the Planning Board takes the lead in the process, public participation is key to the success of the project. This is an opportunity for everyone to share their vision of the future. Ideas should be lofty and visionary such as “equality for all,” and others should be very specific, such as “I see a bus that circles the town and runs every 10 minutes” Ideas are often also gathered by surveys.

Distill these Ideas. The staff and consultants pull out key:

  1. Goals & Guiding Principles (big lofty ideas)
  2. Goals for each “chapter”
  3. List of possible Initiatives – these are the specific ideas

Data Collection & Analysis: This involves

Taking an inventory of existing resources, conditions, and problems and preparing reports, charts, graphs etc. to make this information understandable, and assist with the next step

Assessing future needs and conditions

Evaluating/Prioritizing Community Recommendations. This can done by staff, consultants, or staff/and citizen teams. This process involves sifting through the ideas and organizing them:

  1. What is already happening and working?
  2. What sounds like a good idea, but we need more research?
  3. What’s Interesting, but probably won’t work for whatever reason?

Draft Plan written: Write draft document including goals, guiding principals, recommended actions, and implementation plan.

Plan taken back to the Community for final approval: By law, the Planning Board votes to adopt the plan. Often the Town Council is asked to endorse the Plan, but a vote is not required by law.

Implementation: The Town staff implements the plan. The plan often stipulates a reporting process to the community, such as an annual progress report.

For links to towns involved in sustainable Master Planning click here (watch this space).

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