Helping companies, organizations, and non-profits:
- Communicate about environmental and sustainability initiatives to stakeholders
- Engage and motivate constituents through effective written communications
- Demonstrate thought leadership through case studies, white papers, and newsletters
Massachusetts: The Green Monster of Renewable Energy
Massachusetts is known as the home of Fenway Park’s Green Monster, but the state is also earning acclaim for its green environmental policies. Thanks largely to the impact of the Green Communities Act, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently ranked Massachusetts No. 1 in the nation for energy-efficiency policies and programs for the third year in a row.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Green Communities Act (GCA) into law in July 2008 in an effort topromote renewable-energy projects and encourage energy efficiency. By virtually any measure, the GCA has been a success. In 2012 alone, more solar and wind-energy systems were installed statewide than in every other year combined. In fact, more than 347 megawatts of solar capacity have been installed, surpassing the Patrick administration’s goal of 250 megawatts by 2017 four years early.
The GCA provides financial incentives to cities and towns to help them reduce their energy consumption through stricter building codes, the use of fuel-efficient vehicles, and zoning that eases the completion of renewable-energy projects. Today, there are 110 “Green Communities” in the state, representing 2.9 million residents and about 45 percent of the state’s population.
While the aura of being certified as a green community may help municipalities market themselves to prospective employers and homebuyers, the certification also provides serious financial benefits. Each year, the state awards between $7 million and $8 million in designation grants and competitive grants, according to Meg Lusardi, a director with the state’s Green Communities Division, which launched in May 2009.
In the most recent round of competitive grants that ended in June, the state’s Department of Energy Resources awarded $3.7 million to 20 communities. Awards were capped at $250,000 for each community. Funding for these grants came from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auctions, a cooperative effort among nine Northeast states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, that includes a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.
To read the rest of this article, please visit www.ecori.org.
Neil Rhein is Chief of Content Development for Bull’s-eye Environmental Communications, where he specializes in helping cleantech companies and other types of businesses communicate effectively with their customers, prospects, shareholders, and other stakeholders.