The City of Marlborough is striving to be more resourceful about the manner in which its buildings use energy, people and goods are transported, and waste is managed.
Marlborough is implementing existing technologies and approaches to address this situation and take advantage of emerging trends in energy, transportation, land use, and waste management, to improve the way our city works and how we live. This is the goal set out in city's Sustainability Action Plan.
In 2010, the City received the "Green Communities" designation from the state of Massachusetts, by committing to reduce energy use in municipal properties by 20% by fiscal year 2015.
Each year we achieve more energy efficiencies and become greener. As of November 2020, we have achieved the following milestones to “Green up Marlborough” and strive for a more sustainable community.
- Streetlight savings- 2020- the city through National Grid assistance converting all of the streetlights to LED lights with a 1,008,678 kWH anticipated savings.
- The city recently installed 12 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations (with 24 plug ins) in the City parking garage behind City Hall, on Bolton St. parking lot, at Ghiloni Park, on Rawlings Ave and at the City DPW garage.
- The city is in the process of putting solar panels on 4 schools including the new elementary school which was built to be solar ready. These installations will be completed and on line by Fall 2021.
- Over the past 10 years the city has upgraded many municipal building lightings and most of the HVAC systems to be more efficient and save energy. In 2020 the HVAC system at City Hall was upgraded for more efficiency and energy savings.
- LED ligh conversion in Whitcomb, Hildreth and the High School as well as the Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant is almost complee for a total savings of 1,008,678 kWH anticipated savings.
- 60% of the City’s municipal electricity is purchased through solar net-metering agreements. So the energy we are using in our schools, city hall, police and fire, is coming from the sun. With the addition of solar panels on the 4 schools we are hoping to get to 80% of our municipal electric energy use from solar. The remaining 10% we are going to target more energy reductions in the remaining buildings that still need to be upgraded. So overall, we are proud to say, we are doing pretty well on using renewable energy for the municipal energy use.
- All new buildings within the city need to have a HERS rater to ensure that the new buildings are meeting the energy efficiency requirements as outlined in the building code, which is significantly more efficient than older buildings. All building built from 2010 onward have had to meet these higher standards. This was a requirement for becoming a Green Community, which is great. Now when someone buys a new home, they know up front what the energy use of the home will be. Not unlike the rating on an energy star appliance. Now we know more about our new homes energy use before we buy them.
- The city has been buying new vehicles that are EV, our fleet is now 5 EV vehicles and several hybrids. All new administrative vehicles since 2010 have all had to meet EPA’s energy efficiency standards, which get stricter every few years. This does not include police/fire or DPW work trucks, however as more energy efficient “work truck” vehicles come on the market, we will be looking to buy them. It saves us on gas use as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Open Space – The city purchased 10 acres of land in 2019 and has protected many acres of land through open space developments since 2010. Open space is not only important to habitat protection and watershed improvements but also for climate resilience and cooling effects. Trees are the most efficient and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere and can help us balance our carbon footprint.
New Development and future planning:
- For all new developments we are asking if they are going to use solar or renewable energy sources. However, our local ordinances do not require such systems. Some companies are choosing to go solar/renewable energy and add EV charging stations on their own, others are not. Through our Municipal Vulnerability Plan we are looking to see how best we can upgrade our local city ordinances to make them more “green and sustainability friendly”. This is on our priority list as it will help drive change in a more streamline way both for energy use, stormwater improvements, and other low impact development practices that are important to reducing heat islands, improving water quality and reducing energy use and the city’s carbon footprint. We will be seeking grant funding to help move this forward.
- Open Space – Open space is not only important to habitat protection and watershed improvements but also for climate resilience and cooling effects. The 2021-2028 Open Space and Recreation Plan will be finished in 2021 to allow the city to access grant funding for Open Space land aquisition which will help protect areas which are contributing to shading, and sequestering carbon to reduce the city's carbon footprint. Open spaces sequester carbon.
Going green is a journey and we all need to play our part. The city is making progress and will continue to build a “greener more sustainable” community.
The following initiatives may help residents and businesses take steps to becoming more sustainable and energy efficient:
- Massachusetts Green Community Designation & Grant Program
- Marlborough Stormwater Management
- Marlborough Sustainability Action Plan 2011 & 2008
- Marlborough Public Works: Recycling/Composting, Water Conservation, & Stormwater Management
- Marlborough Whitcomb Middle School: Student Sustainability Essays
- EPA Community Energy Challenge: New England
- Falling Fruit — Map the Urban Harvest