Green Collaborative Grows. What An Impressive Morning

Phyllis Theermann

Thanks to Ellen Korpi, the Sustainable Energy Committee and the Natural Resources Commission for organizing another inspiring and enlightening Green Collaborative Meeting.

Get the next meeting date on your calendar for sure — Thursday, May 3, from 9 – 11:30 AM, in the Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library.

For those who couldn’t make it here is a brief summary from the NRC:

Wellesley Farmers’ Market
The Wellesley Farmers’ Market is operating under a new model, partnering with Farmers To You. This new partnership offers online ordering of high quality food products delivered weekly to Wellesley from more than 80 farms and other producers in the Northeast. Participants can either pick up their food products every week on Thursday afternoon at the Wellesley UU Church (309 Washington St.) or have their groceries delivered to them with a new home delivery option. Green Collaborative members are encouraged to try this new model and spread the word about this innovative option for access to great tasting food and support of a sustainable, regional food system. Sign up here.

Municipal Light Plant
LED Streetlight Retrofit – The Municipal Light Plant is replacing more than 2,800 current high pressure sodium streetlights with LED (light emitting diode) fixtures. Benefits include: reducing greenhouse gases and saving approximately $125,000 annually for the town. Funding for the project includes $514,000 from the MLP, a $281,000 grant from the MA Dept. of Environmental Resources, and $105,000 from the Board of Selectmen. Fixtures on main roads such as Weston Road are receiving 3000 Kelvin bulbs; in February, fixtures on residential streets will begin receiving 2700 Kelvin bulbs. (Kelvin is the measure of color temperature). Follow the progress of the installation here.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Study – The MLP has hired Analysis Group to prepare a report on actions the town can take to conserve electricity and use more renewable energy. Phase 1 of the report will focus on opportunities from now through the year 2030 and will be delivered in March. Phase 2 will focus on the years 2030 to 2050. A public forum to discuss the project will be held on Tuesday, February 13, at 7 PM, at the Municipal Light Plant.

Home Energy Audits and Appliance Rebates – Look for a new campaign beginning in February to encourage home energy audits through a partnership with National Grid. And the MLP rebate program now includes programmable and wireless thermostats, such as Nest, and a variety of Energy Star appliances. Click here for a complete list.

Natural Resources Commission
Gas Leaks – The NRC is continuing to look at ways to address the roughly 200 gas leaks in Wellesley. Activity includes:

Analyzing the results of an independent gas leaks survey of the town commissioned by the NRC
Developing a plan to acquire a device and training to test public shade tree locations for gas leaks to better understand how gas leaks are affecting our trees
Coordinating with the statewide Gas Leaks Allies coalition on efforts to develop state policy to fix the leaks
Coming up: The NRC will roll out a check list of indicators for identifying trees in your neighborhood that may be affected by gas leaks.

Tree Bylaw Survey – In response to concerns raised by residents about the number of trees cut down on private property in recent years, the NRC is gathering information about the town’s current Tree Preservation & Protection bylaw. Residents are urged to complete a brief survey by Friday, Feb. 2 to give feedback. Contact the NRC to learn more.

Wetlands Protection Committee – Preserving our town’s wetland areas is critical to prevent flooding and erosion, protect our drinking water supply, improve bio-diversity and create native habitats for plants and animals. Historically, wetlands were seen as “waste lands” and subjected to dumping and in-filling. As development in Wellesley has created new wetlands, residents need to know if their property contains wetlands and steps to take to protect them. To learn more, contact Julie Meyer, Wetlands Protection Administrator.

WasteWise Wellesley
Drop-off Food Waste Pilot Project – Due to the success of the pilot, the RDF is extending the project through this fiscal year and is recruiting an additional 300 household participants. Watch for an updated promotional campaign that will be rolled out in the next few weeks and shared with current participants, Green Collaborative groups, RDF users and other targeted audiences. Volunteers are invited to help with this project. Contact Jeff Azano-Brown.

Green Communities – Wellesley was designated a Green Community in December and received a grant of $137,250 which will be used on exterior LED lighting at the DPW, a water/wastewater treatment audit, and a pilot of IdleRight technology. As part of its Green Communities application, the town prepared an Energy Reduction Plan (with a goal of reducing municipal energy use 20% below 2015 levels by 2020) and a Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy (FEVP). The FEVP requires town departments to opt for fuel efficient models when replacing vehicles.

Transportation Working Group – Working on behalf of the SEC, the group is looking for initiatives that will lower transportation emissions. Some technology to retrofit commercial vehicles into hybrids has been introduced to the DPW and local colleges. Following a review of a school transportation study by Needham, we are hoping the Wellesley School Committee will incorporate into its strategic plan an evaluation of the current overall school transportation model. We have also started a dialogue among the town and local colleges to explore ways we can work together to improve transportation and reduce energy use and emissions.

Sustainable Development Guidelines – The SEC continues to work on these guidelines. Successful efforts on HHU and the Wellesley High School Track and Field Phase II projects are providing key information. To learn more about these issues, contact Marybeth Martello, Sustainable Energy Committee.

Wellesley Green Schools
The community is invited to the 2018 Green Schools Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 13 from 9 – 10:30 AM at the Wellesley Free Library.

Banquet in a Box – Green Schools is creating a Banquet in a Box that includes the supplies needed to host a school banquet or event, all in one box. We are looking for tablecloths in Raiders black and red colors to be donated to this easy-to-use waste reduction idea. We would like to fund this idea through donations or a corporate sponsor. Sign up for their newsletter by emailing info@SustainableWellesley.com.

Wellesley School Committee
Hardy Hunnewell Upham (HHU) Update – The School Committee, School Building Committee, and Board of Selectmen are working to define a process now that the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has expressed an interest in partially funding the construction of one school (either Hardy or Upham). The town will move ahead on plans for a similar sustainability assessment of Hunnewell and hopes to receiving Special Town Meeting funding for next steps.

Unified Plan – A final draft of the Unified Plan is expected to be released in the coming weeks and incorporates a number of suggestions on improved sustainability.

Wellesley Free Library
“Library of Things” – The library is looking for donations to its Library of Things and would prefer new or nearly new items with all working parts. Click here to see the wish list.

Green Team – The library has started a Green Team to look for ways to improve its green footprint. We’ve added plastic recycling for staff and additional recycling bins around the library, reduced paper use, and plan to look at adding task lighting in work areas and adding window film to reduce UV rays. Contact Lisa Arm with questions.

Planning Board
Planning is proposing amendments to the zoning bylaw that will regulate outdoor lighting for large single-family homes, commercial construction projects and outdoor signage. Attend a public hearing on Monday, February 5 at 6:30 PM in the Great Hall, Town Hall to discuss this and other issues. Learn more on the Planning Department website.

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Phyllis Theermann
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