Category Archives: Environmental

Medfield awarded $139,316 in GCA grant

Email from the Medfield Energy Committee Chair, Fred Davis –

Announced today: Medfield is being awarded $139,316 in Green Communities funding from the Massachusetts Dept. of Energy Resources.

Congratulations and appreciation to Director of Facilities Amy Colleran, and MEC members for all the work the grant application entailed.

Leveraged with expected utility incentives of $28,858, the effort will result in a total funding of $168,174 for energy-efficiency projects.

All the work will be done at no cost to the Town.

This is the first Green Communities funding that Medfield has applied for since its initial funding as a Green Community. The initial round of projects involved upgrading to LED lighting in Town buildings, along with upgrade of the Blake Middle School controls system.

Most of this next work will involve upgrading two other control systems in the schools. Additional measures involve lighting, gas traps, weatherization, hot water.

The projects are expected to bring about reductions in greenhouse gases: gas and electricity consumption to decline by 2,107 MBtu/year, with about 3/4 of that being reduction in gas heating.

Dollar savings are projected at $41, 286 each year.

In addition, $13,490 of the funding is allocated for professional development and administrative support.
— Fred Davis
Chair, Medfield Energy Committee

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject:FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Baker-Polito Administration Awards $13 Million in Green Communities Grants
Date:Thu, 27 Aug 2020 14:39:16 +0000
From:Brown, Kelly (ENE) <kelly.brown@state.ma.us>

Good morning Green Communities,

Below is the Competitive Grant 2020 press release announcing $13 Million in grant awards to 103 communities. Over the next week you will receive more information from the Green Communities Division on next steps. Congrats to all the awardees!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2020
CONTACT
Eric Noreen
Eric.Noreen@mass.gov
Baker-Polito Administration Awards $13 Million in Green Communities Grants
103 Communities Receive Funds for Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Projects BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $13,000,558 in Green Communities competitive grants to 103 municipalities across Massachusetts to fund clean energy projects. With today’s announcement, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has awarded over $136 million to Green Communities in Designation Grants and Competitive Grants since 2010. “The Green Communities program continues to make significant progress in helping municipalities reduce their carbon footprint and save on energy costs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our administration is committed to supporting clean energy and energy efficiency efforts that make the Commonwealth’s cities and towns cleaner, healthier, and more affordable places to live.” “As we work to meet our net zero by 2050 emissions goals, the Green Communities program gives our dedicated municipal partners the resources they need to continue making progress in increasing energy efficiency and lowering energy costs,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to seeing the continued growth in energy innovation and energy savings that these grants will enable in towns and cities across the Commonwealth.” Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding. 271 Massachusetts cities and towns have earned the Green Communities designation, which accounts for 84 percent of the Commonwealth’s population. This ninth annual round of DOER Green Communities competitive grants is awarded to existing Green Communities that have successfully invested their initial designation grants and previous competitive grant awards. The grants provide financial support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the designated communities’ clean energy goals. Grants are capped at $200,000 per municipality. Funding for these grants is available through proceeds from carbon allowance auctions under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). “The Green Communities program helps cities and towns make important investments at the local level to combat climate change by reducing emissions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Air-source heat pumps, ventilation system upgrades, and electric vehicle charging stations are just some of the exciting new projects that these grants will fund in order to increase energy efficiency and clean energy innovation in municipalities across the state.” “Municipalities play a crucial role in achieving the Governor’s ambitious net zero by 2050 emissions target,” said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Patrick Woodcock. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of both the Green Communities team and the many hardworking and dedicated municipal partners across the state who successfully implement these projects that lower energy costs and provide long-term greenhouse gas savings.” The grants announced today fund a range of projects from ventilation system upgrades and high efficiency lighting to the installation of insulation and energy management systems at municipal buildings and facilities. Also included are the installations of air-source heat pumps, hybrid police cruisers, and electric vehicle charging stations. The following municipalities received grant awards: 

. . . Medfield $139,316 . . .

  All Green Communities commit to reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. These commitments amount to collective savings of 2,534,787 MMBtu, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 20,000 homes and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 233,640 tons, equivalent to taking over 45,000 cars off the road. For additional information on awarded projects and funding amounts, please see here.

Medfield climate goals forum at 7:30 on 8/17

From Helen Dewey of Medfield Environment Action –

CLIMATE GOALS:
Think Globally, Act Locally
Learn more at the
Virtual Community Forum
Monday, August 17th at 7:30pm
hosted by Medfield Environment Action
and Medfield Energy Committee
• What are climate goals?
• Why are they important for Medfield?
• How does Medfield align with MA climate goals?
• What would the development of a Net Zero Action Plan
for Medfield entail?
Climate Goals for Medfield will be a Warrant Article
to be voted on at Town Meeting in the fall (date TBD)
Monday, August 17th at 7:30pm via Zoom
Registration required
Register via email at MEAMedfield@gmail.com

Community at the Community Gardens

From Neal Sanders, co-chair of the Medfield Community Gardens, from his post on his blog, The Principal Undergardener at

https://theprincipalundergardener.blogspot.com/2020/04/garden-therapy.html

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

April 12, 2020

Garden Therapy

Though I was not present at the meeting, apparently sometime toward the end of March, Medfield’s Covid-19 Response Committee discussed which additional community activities (in addition to schools, libraries, restaurants, etc.) could or should be discontinued in order to discourage unnecessary public gatherings.

CG-June Rivers and her porcelain pig
A returning gardener
carries in her plot’s
‘mascot’ – a terra cotta
pig

The Community Garden was one of the ‘group activities’ up for consideration.

I would not have known this except a town employee forwarded a copy of an internal email noting the Community Garden had been spared, and permitted to go forward on schedule.   A few days later, in one of my periodic ‘updates’ to the 75 families who have plots in the garden, I mentioned the decision in passing.

The response from gardeners was swift and vocal.  The most memorable one came from a wonderful lady whom I think of as giving the garden a certain ‘classiness’.  She is always in a good mood; she maintains a glorious garden; and she dresses better than any gardener I have ever met.  Her response was as follows:

CG-2-Community garden 4-12-20 7
Betty dispenses gardening advice from
a socially responsible distance

“So help me God, if they were to close the garden I would have a HUGE problem with that. The garden is my ONLY solace from home- schooling these animals, and my escape from the “office”.

The message concluded with a number of emojis, the exact translation of them I could not ascertain, but which appeared to threaten to visit some ancient Egyptian curse upon anyone who dared to mess with the status quo.

Betty and I have spent multiple hours the past few days at the Community Garden.  Betty answers questions (from a CDC-acceptable distance) about what it is safe to plant.  I introduce myself to the new gardeners (signup is via email) and explain why we recommend burying the bottom six inches of fences.

cg-3-Community garden 4-12-20 4
It’s too soon to plan anything but the
hardiest of crops, but everyone is
getting prepped

What we have received from gardeners is universal thanks.  Back in January and February, I was having trouble getting people to sign up for plots.  After the ‘shelter in place’ orders went out, demand exploded.  Not only were all plots filled; I had a wait list with eight names on it.  Everyone, it seems, is in need of some garden therapy.

A group of volunteers always stakes the garden at the end of March and we ask gardeners to have a fence up by the first weekend in May; a very reasonable four or five weeks to accomplish a task that provides ‘proof of gardening.’ Yet, in a ‘normal’ year, I have to don my Ogre costume to get people to meet the deadline.  This year, the first half dozen fences were in place the day after I put out a memo announcing that the garden was open.  Today (April 12) I counted just nine plots out of 70 that are not fenced, with the deadline still three weeks away.

cg-4-Community garden 4-12-20 13
Everyone is working on fences

Granted, people have far more time on their hands in the spring of 2020 than in previous years, but there is also a palpable sense of pleasure on the faces of everyone I see.  Moreover, there is more courtesy.  For example, every year, I grit my teeth as I find many of the three-foot walkways between plots have been prepared just half the width; gardeners figured they were responsible for only ‘their’ half of the pathway.  This year, whoever does the path puts down cardboard or paper plus bark mulch for the full 36 inches.  Another example: we discourage gardeners who share a full plot (dividing each 20-foot-by-30-foot space into two 15-foot-by-20-foot ones) from dividing the plots with an internal fence (it wastes space and promotes weeds). Last year, perhaps four of the 15 gardens bore just a length of string or row of flowers to ‘suggest’ a demarcation.  This year, I’ve seen just three plots with interior fences.

cg-5- Four plots being worked on
Four plots are prepared

Most of all, I’ve seen gardeners luxuriating in having a legitimate and ‘responsible’ reason to be outdoors.  There were 15 cars at the garden this afternoon.  A few had back ends bulging with fencing or stakes, but most people were there just to find something to do in their plots.  They were building raised beds, marking out rows, and creating obelisks on which peas will grow this summer.  Betty warned everyone soil temperatures are still in the 40’s, meaning it is too early to plant anything except the hardiest of ‘cool weather’ vegetables (spinach, onions).    Yet, people were hoeing or on their hands and knees as if a heat wave was expected, rather than the two days of cold rain forecast for early this coming week.

cg-6-Community garden 4-12-20 1
This is the earliest we’ve been busy.
Usually, early April is very quiet.

Had the garden been ‘disallowed’ because of coronavirus concerns, I could have made all the valid arguments in favor of reversing the decision (chief among them that opportunistic weeds would have swallowed the garden by the end of May), but the likelihood I would have prevailed was slim.  As a nation, we are trying to flatten the curve of a pandemic.

But, for 75 Medfield families, we are providing the best kind of therapy.  We’re offering hope.  I suspect the bins we put out to aid the town’s Food Cupboard will overflow this season.  I have a feeling disagreements will be settled amicably and (fingers crossed) vines may even stay inside fences come August.

 

I predict people will wave greetings to one another from their respective plots until it is once again safe to offer a hug.  In short, I think it’s going to be a great season for the Community Garden.

Posted by The Principal Undergardener at 4:53 PM

Medfield Community Garden’s 2020 Registration Now Open

From Neal Sanders –

Medfield Community Garden’s 2020 Registration Now Open

Is growing fresh vegetables something you would like to do?  Have you tried to grow them in your back yard, but found you had too much shade?  Do you live in a condo or apartment that has no space for gardens?  If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, the town of Medfield has a possible solution for you: the Medfield Community Garden. 

Registration for spaces at the garden located on Plain Street off Route 27 is now open for the 2020 season, and ends when the last space is filled.  Plots are available on a first-request basis and usually go quickly.  A 300-square-foot plot provides ample room for a variety of different vegetables for most families. Approximately 12 plots are available for this season.

            Both novice or experienced gardeners will find the Community Garden offers a great opportunity to learn and grow.  The Garden is located on Conservation Commission land at the former Holmquist Farm on the south side of town.  The site provides all-day sun, a scarce commodity for many Medfield residents.

            Never had a vegetable garden, or feel you’d like a refresher course, or more information on growing in this area?  Master Gardener and lecturer Betty Sanders will offer a freshly updated program on planning, planting and growing a garden in this area.  The presentation will be held on Saturday, March 14, at 10:30 a.m. in the Medfield Library.

            Gardeners provide their own seeds or seedlings, agree to fence their plot, and keep it weed-free throughout the season.  The town provides a ready-to-plant site, wood chips for paths, and on-site-water.  Because the Community garden is on town-owned Conservation land, gardeners are not allowed to use any herbicides or inorganic insecticides.   

The Community Garden has now been on Plain Street for more than fifteen years.  As a result of good gardening practices, the site is rich in organic nutrients, eliminating the need for almost all fertilizers and additives.

Residents can apply for a plot by contacting garden co-manager Neal Sanders at 508-359-9453 or n_h_sanders@yahoo.com.  Plots measuring 15 feet by 20 feet are $18, plus a one-time fee for joining the garden of $20.

The Climate Issue: Less Inconvenient, Not Impossible

Fred Davis chairs the Medfield Energy Committee and his “guest column” that follows appeared in the Medfield Press

Fred davis

Medfield Guest Column: The Climate Issue: Less Inconvenient, Not Impossible

By Fred Davis

Medfielders can appreciate the difficult questions young people here and everywhere are asking: Why aren’t adults responding adequately to the climate emergency?

On Friday, Sept. 20, the Global Strike will involve millions of people worldwide; perhaps you or your child will be walking out of school or work.

For decades to come, there will be no answers that can entirely satisfy the accusations. But right now, a starting point should be an honest recognition that all carbon pollution in the world is an accumulation of all individual carbon footprints. Virtually every person in Medfield shares a significant responsibility in the cause, and therefore, also in the cure.

“Inconvenient” was how Al Gore shrewdly characterized this problem 13 years ago. Developments since then have made de-carbonizing more and more achievable, especially here in Massachusetts, the number one state in the country in energy efficiency (for eight years running, ACEEE).

A consensus has now crystallized among professionals as to what the necessary path looks like. Most if not all steps on the path are available right now, and are usually profitable. Drivers must drive electric. Available roofs must be solarized. Building owners must seal/insulate (to “passive house” standards), and upgrade lighting (to highest efficiency LED with controls). These steps are a whole lot less inconvenient than even a couple of years ago.

Most impactful is to “electrify” existing heating systems: replacing gas and oil boilers and furnaces with high-efficiency electric heat-pumps. Also, any new construction / rehab today must have a carbon footprint that is at least net-zero.

The bottom line is that steps necessary on the path to respond adequately to the climate crisis are, here and now, the responsibility of everyone who drives or lives or works in our town.

Davis is a 40-year veteran of the energy efficiency field. He is the new chairman of the Medfield Energy Committee, which over 10 years had reduced municipal energy use by 44 percent. All views are his own.

Likely changes coming as we switch to renewable energy

From the San Francisco chronicle –

Berkeley becomes first U.S. city to ban natural gas in new homes

Photo of Sarah Ravani

Berkeley has become the first city in the nation to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes.

The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted to ban gas from new low-rise residential buildings starting Jan. 1.

It’s not the first time Berkeley has passed pioneering health or environmental legislation. In 1977, Berkeley was the first in the country to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. In January the city banned single-use disposables, requiring restaurants to use to-go foodware that is compostable.

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The natural gas ordinance, introduced by Councilwoman Kate Harrison, requires all new single-family homes, town homes and small apartment buildings to have electric infrastructure. After its passage, Harrison thanked the community and her colleagues “for making Berkeley the first city in California and the United States to prohibit natural gas infrastructure in new buildings.”

“It’s an enormous issue,” Harrison told The Chronicle. “We need to really tackle this. When we think about pollution and climate-change issues, we tend to think about factories and cars, but all buildings are producing greenhouse gas.”

The city will include commercial buildings and larger residential structures as the state moves to develop regulations for those, officials said.

The ordinance allocates $273,341 per year for a two-year staff position in the Building and Safety Division within the city’s Department of Planning and Development. The employee will be responsible for implementing the ban.

Mayor Jesse Arreguín called the ordinance innovative and groundbreaking.

“I’m really proud to be on this City Council to adopt this groundbreaking ordinance. … We know that the climate crisis is deepening and is having cataclysmic impacts,” he said at the meeting. “Warmer temperatures and the year-round fire season … the melting of the polar ice caps, growing sea level rise, all these conditions prove that we are in real trouble and that we have to take bold action now.”

California Energy Commission Chairman David Hochschild, a Berkeley resident, also spoke at the meeting and said that 50 cities across the state, including San Francisco, are considering similar action and Berkeley would pave the way for future legislation.

“That is how change happens,” Hochschild said at the meeting. “Right now, in California, we have a big focus on cleaning up the building sector because there are more emissions coming from combustion natural gas in our buildings than our entire state power plant fleet.”

3M documents show company hid PFAS dangers

From my daily e-newsletter from the American Association for Justice (attorneys representing injured people) –

AAJ-2

Civil Justice System

Internal 3M documents show company hid PFAS dangers for decades.

The Detroit Free Press (5/9, Matheny, 1.52M) reports that in a “scathing resignation letter,” a former 3M environmental specialist “accused company officials of being ‘unethical’ and more ‘concerned with markets, legal defensibility and image over environmental safety’ when it came to PFAS.” In a 1999 resignation letter, Richard Burdy called PFOS, one of 3M’s chief PFAS products, “the most insidious pollutant since PCB.” Purdy said, “It is probably more damaging than PCB because it does not degrade, whereas PCB does; it is more toxic to wildlife,” adding, “I have worked within the system to learn more about this chemical and to make the company aware of the dangers associated with its continued use…but I have continually met roadblocks, delays, and indecision. For weeks on end, I have received assurances that my samples would be analyzed soon – never to see results. There are always excuses and little is accomplished.” The Detroit Free Press says that the letter “is just one of a large cache of internal 3M memos and documents obtained by the Free Press through public records law from the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.”

 

EPA EXPLAINS WHAT PFAS ARE

FPUU wins climate change award

First Parish Meeting House

 

Full article is available here –

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/climate-change-work-honored

 

Two UU congregations honored for climate change work

Iowa and Massachusetts congregations win awards in Interfaith Power & Light’s Cool Congregations Challenge.

ELAINE MCARDLE3/19/2019
. . .
First Parish UU Church of Medfield, Massachusetts, won in the Community Inspiration category for forming a town-wide coalition that launched an educational campaign to encourage drivers to stop idling their cars. The UU Society in Coralville, Iowa, won in the Renewable Role Model category for its new “green” church building.

Savey Women’s Alliance

Email today from Savey Women’s Alliance, whose Medfield chapter is its “Chapter of the Year” – Congratulations!

6 Actionable Ideas To Create Change in Your Community

By Amanda Griffith, Feb 2, 2019 11:39:06 AM

savey woman alliance

 
The Medfield Chapter of Savvy Women’s Alliance, formerly known as Medfield Green, began making changes in their community simply enough. Four women came together with different interests but with the same goal: to change the community around them. From legislation on safer alternatives to banning harmful chemicals, from renewable and recycling efforts to food awareness, these women set out to educate their friends, family, neighbors and beyond on how to create a cleaner, greener Earth and a safer environment in which to live.

“All of our efforts – including programs on organic landscaping, cooking classes, movie nights, book clubs and trips to local stores with various youth groups to advocate for safer food or products – have led to our evolution from Medfield Green to the Medfield Chapter of the Savvy Women’s Alliance, a national non-profit dedicated to all of the issues we care about!”

How did they do it? Helen Dewey, current co-ambassador of the Medfield Chapter (along with Erica Reilly),  shared some of the ways she and her like-minded friends made their mark, and changed many lives along the way. In doing so they have become the Savvy Women’s Alliance 2018 Chapter of the Year.

Read more »

 

Five Retailers Pull Products Containing Paint Strippers

By Jenny Pergola, Feb 2, 2019 11:22:15 AM

paint stripper

 

 

Paint strippers containing the dangerous chemicals methylene chloride and NMP have made a lot of headlines lately – most of them negative. However, thanks in part to the Mind the Store Campaign, there is positive news to report. Effective January 1, 2019, a host of national retailers have agreed to pull products containing these harmful chemicals from their shelves.

Read more »

 

 
Savvy Women’s Alliance   5 Robin Lane    North Easton  MA

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Keep your leaves away from waters

From the Neponset Stormwater Partnership –

Protect your water! Keep leaves away from streams, pavement and storm drains. Learn more https://bit.ly/2xFmu0W

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