The SEC has led multiple programs that have successfully reduced costs, emissions, and energy use across the Town, and also vaulted Wellesley into a leading position nationally for the voluntary use of renewable energy.
The SEC Board consists of one appointee each from: The Board of Selectmen, the Municipal Light Board and the School Committee; the Board of Selectmen appoint four more members from residents active in the Town’s sustainable energy initiatives, or others who bring relevant expertise.
The Committee prepares an annual Town-wide emissions inventory and proposes goals to reduce Town greenhouse gas emissions from the municipal, residential, commercial, industrial and institutional sectors. The Committee works with municipal departments, businesses, institutions, and civic and volunteer organizations to achieve these goals.
Many programs have been created and executed including:
- Passage of the Town’s Stretch Building Code – saving energy, emissions and money for homes and businesses by improving energy efficiency up to 20%: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/doer/green-communities/grant-program/stretch-code-qa-feb10-2011.pdf
- Success with POWER TO CHOOSE, encouraging residents to buy clean, renewable, wind power with the same reliability and service they’ve always had form the MLP. With over 11% of the Town now participating, Wellesley is 4th in the entire United States. http://www.sagewell.com/powertochoose/index.php
- Success with POWER TO SAVE helping residents get energy audits and make their homes more efficient. Over 400 homeowners have participated to date. http://www.sagewell.com/powertochoose/index.php/smarter-choice
- Success with More POWER TO CHOOSE for home solar panels, including selecting a preferred vendor, streamlining installation, and arranging discounts. The number of homes generating cheap, clean solar power went from 12 to more than 80 in a single year (2014). http://www.sagewell.com/powertochoose/index.php/bigger-choice (now over, but solar panels are still a great idea)
The SEC is currently focused on:
- Researching solar panels for houses of faith, colleges and other parts of the Town government.
- Working with the NRC and DPW on the 3R (Reduce Reuse Recycle) program on food waste. An estimated 40% of food grown in this country is wasted – consuming huge resources, while people are going hungry.
- Encouraging the Town to mandate Energy Star cable boxes from Comcast. Amazingly, set-top boxes are “the biggest single energy user in many homes, apart from air conditioning.” http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-power-hog-20140617-story.html Energy Star boxes will save residents up to 80% of this energy, emissions, and cost without altering their user experience.
- Working to integrate Sustainability thinking into the day-to-day governance and operations of the Town through the Comprehensive Plan. This would include Sustainability in key job descriptions, and the appropriate reporting lines for the SEC to most effectively carry out its mission and continue to reduce costs and energy consumption for residents.
We are very grateful for the leadership and energy demonstrated by the SEC and the great strides they have taken to keep Wellesley in the vanguard of towns that are saving residents money, keeping emissions down, and pushing Sustainability forwards.
The notes above are the understanding of Sustainable Wellesley and may not represent the official view of the Sustainable Energy Committee