Category Archives: Green

Forum – 7:30 PM this Monday

MEA – MEDFIELD DECARBONIZERS – 7:30PM Monday

MEA was founded in June and has quickly gained momentum.  We are committed to helping Medfield and Medfield residents learn how to reduce their impact on the environment.  We plan to hold at least one educational program a month.

We have some great ideas and plans for the future and would welcome more.  Please get involved in a small or big (or medium) way.   Feel free to reach out to meamedfield@gmail.com and/or consider attending the Steering Committee meeting in December.  Details below.  
   

Monday, November 16th
Learn from Your Neighbors
Monday November 16th 7:30 – 8:30 pm on Zoom

MEDFIELD DECARBONIZERS


Are you thinking of installing solar panels or heat pumps but don’t know where to start?  Are you curious about the logistics of driving an electric car?  We thought it would be great to have a session about these carbon-reducing products where you can talk to other Medfield residents who have already adopted them.  

Hear from these Medfield residents about their experiences:
Jim James will talk about his solar panels.
Kirsten & Glen D’Abate will discuss their electric vehicles.
Jim Nail will tell us about how he installed a heat pump system for his home.

Also, we will share how to calculate your own carbon footprint.
There will be plenty of time for questions.
Register in advance for this webinar: https://tinyurl.com/meamedfield-Nov16    

Have you taken our survey?  Please do!
We hope to learn what you and other Medfield residents think about environmental issues. 
Please take our survey and then share the link with your friends and family.  If you include your email, you will be registered for a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate to a Medfield store.   
Find the survey here:   https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J7NFCHW


      The next meeting of the Medfield Environment Action Steering Committee will be Wednesday December 2nd at 7:30pm via Zoom.  Please join us at a meeting– we welcome everyone and anyone — and see what we’re about.   
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85017266125?pwd=WldkMHI5QU5QQksxN2h2djVHc01yUT09
 
Meeting ID: 850 1726 6125
Passcode: 388020
      It’s Easy to Calculate
Your Household Carbon Footprint!
• Use the EPA Carbon Footprint Calculator
• Fill in just these two sections: Home Energy (electricity, gas/oil), and Transportation (your vehicles).
• Save your work and bring in the number– your household carbon footprint in lbs of annual CO2 emissions– to the Nov. 16 forum.
• This is a starter approach to carbon-footprint; we can always go deeper later. Please contact Fred Davis with any questions at fred@freddaviscorp.com.    

The Zero Carbon Home forum from last month was terrific.  Lots of good information about how to get started on insulating your home, installing solar panels, choosing replacement windows and considering heat pumps.  The recording is now on the MEA website,  meamedfield.org.  Check it out!
          Want to save money?  Want to know more about home energy assessments, rebates, incentives, and more?  Go to Mass Save and check out the possibilities.    

Our Mission Medfield Environment Action (MEA) is a grassroots organization of residents.  We share information about the accelerating environmental destruction and climate emergency to empower local action.  We seek to build a movement of informed citizens, dedicated to the preservation of a living environment in Medfield and beyond. Our goal is that those informed citizens support each other and work together for solutions.
 
MEA will work to: initiate and support measures by our town and state governments that will positively impact our environment; help reduce energy consumption and render the consumed energy renewable/sustainable reduce other environmental impacts in our community.  
Adopted July 9, 2020

Take the Medfield Environmental Action’s Survey

GCAR submitted today

The Green Communities Act requires the town to submit an annual report of what energy conservation measures (ECM’s) have been done and what are planned to be done. Yesterday I reviewed and signed off on the final report for this year. Filing the annual report is a prerequisite to getting the generous Department of Energy Resources (DOER) annual grants, so an important annual step. The Medfield Energy Committee and Amy Colleran, Facilities Director have championed getting the report prepared and filed, this year with the assistance of an Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) consultant obtained with grant monies.

The full report can be found here

I found this spreadsheet (partial copy below) listing about 100 ECM’s the most interesting (lots has already been accomplished and lots is still planned). Note how much of what is planned will be paid for by the DOER grant monies.

Small businesses get energy saving opportunity

Eversource press release announces energy saving assistance for our town’s businesses –

Eversource Energy : Partners with Medfield to Launch Energy Efficiency Campaign for Small Businesses

 0

09/15/2020 | 02:55pm EDT

Energy company helps business owners identify specific ways to save on building’s operating costs now and in the future

BOSTON September 14, 2020 – Eversource is working with Medfield next month on the Main Streets energy efficiency initiative to help local, small businesses reduce their energy costs, save money and have a positive impact on the environment. From September 14th until September 18th, energy experts from Eversource-approved contractor, Rise, will be in the community meeting with businesses, scheduling no-cost energy assessments and answering questions about energy-efficient equipment upgrades and improvements.

‘Energy efficiency provides businesses of all sizes with a competitive edge and directly impacts their bottom line through energy savings,’ said Eversource Vice President of Energy Efficiency Tilak Subrahmanian, ‘Many small businesses are facing financial hardships right now, and this effort will help connect small business owners with ways to save on their energy costs.’

Medfield is one of 15 communities chosen for this initiative in 2020. In 2019, Eversource visited nine communities and helped small business owners reduce their energy use by more than 2.7 million kWh and save more than $400,000 as a result of this initiative.

The Main Streets energy efficiency program begins with a no-cost, no-obligation energy assessment identifying energy-saving opportunities for small businesses, such as new lighting, occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats, refrigeration controls, insulation and more. Some of the improvements, such as installing aerators and spray valves, happen on the spot at no cost to the customer. Larger improvement projects, like HVAC equipment upgrades or the installation of energy-efficient motor controls, are scheduled for a future date. For a limited time, Eversource has increased incentives for a range of energy-efficiency improvements to further offset the cost of upgrades, and interest-free financing is available for any remaining costs.

Local, licensed electricians contracted by Eversource will complete approved projects, ensuring minimal disruption to daily business operations. All contractors are required to follow state-of-the-art health and safety guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and all high-efficiency products installed as part of the program will include warranties for both materials and labor.

Eversource has delivered postcards with more information about the program to Medfield businesses. For more information about the program and to schedule a free assessment at a convenient time, businesses should contact Eversource’s contractor, Rise, directly at 401-784-3700 x 6158.

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.

MEC 8/24

Your Medfield Energy Committee has tons of irons in our local fires – Zoom in next Monday at 7 PM to hear and see what is happening

  • Medfield Environment Action – new group
  • Community Aggregation – for next town meeting
  • Climate Goals – for next town meeting
  • Solar Projects – e.g. Kingsbury Club solar is large enough to be a power plant
  • New Dale St. School – building to net zero can save the town money
  • Green Community Act – (Municipal) Operations – how state grants are being used to make our town better

The agenda and Zoom link are below:

TOWN OF MEDFIELD
MEETING
NOTICE
Posted in accordance with the provisions of MGL Chapter 39 Section 23A, as amended
Due to the COVID-19 emergency, this meeting will take place remotely. Members of the public
who wish to view or listen to the meeting may do so by joining via the web, or a conference call.
1. To join online, use this link:
a. https://zoom.us/j/98488657066?pwd=U1FsZVR5SFYzRlV5bmRwdENBVlBxdz
09
b. Enter Password: 221674
2. To join through a conference call, dial 929-436-2866 or 312-626-6799 or 253-215-8782
or 301-715-8592 or 346-248-7799 or 669-900-6833
a. Enter the Webinar ID: 984 8865 7066
b. Enter the password: 221674
Medfield Energy Committee
Board or Committee
PLACE OF MEETING DAY, DATE, AND TIME
Remote Meeting held on Zoom Monday, August 24, 2020 7:00 pm
1. Report from the Chair – Fred
2. Approval of minutes from past meeting: 7/20 – Penni
3. Committee Roster update – Cynthia
4. Medfield Environment Action – Megan
Community Forums: CCA, Climate Goals
5. Community Aggregation – Megan / Bob / Paul / Jeremy
a. Warrant Article – wording
b. Jul 22 Public Forum, other publicity
Posted:
6. Climate Goals – Jim
a. Warrant Article – wording
b. GHG Inventory tool – Hilli
c. Aug 17 Public Forum, other publicity
7. Solar Projects – Penni
a. PPA vs ownership; SDA
b. Kingsbury Club: zoning
c. DPW roof: grant application – Hilli
d. Old landfill
e. Other sites
8. New Dale St. School – Alec
a. Arrowstreet: Acton-Boxborough
b. Eversource funding available (Cullinane; Thornton Tomasetti?)
c. BoS support of NetZero goal
d. Sandeen analysis tool – Megan
9. MassEnergize – joint MEA-MEC meeting
10. MSH Subcommittee: MSH Development Committee activity
11. Municipal and Community Partnership with Eversource – Tricia
12. Liaison with other orgs: MCAN, CRGC, MAPC, IECC
13. Medfield Long-Range planning process – Cynthia
14. Green Community (Municipal) Operations – Amy
a. 2020 Green Communities Funding-- $139,316 applied 5/1; answered q’s 6/19
b. Exterior and Interior lighting controls at High School, Middle School
c. High School: Trane / ESPO / interval data / scoping study – Alec
d. MAPC Regional Energy Planning Assistance Funding – Paul
$2500: Help prep, complete annual report
$1500: Competitive grant prep
e. Consumption during shut-down?
f. LED Streetlights: invoices adjusted
g. Energy Management function: Susan McPhee to be invited to BoS
And, any additional business that came in after the deadline that must be discussed prior to
the next meeting.

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

CCA vote at next town meeting

Thank you for your interest in our upcoming virtual forum on Community Choice Aggregation on Wed. July 22 nd 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.   You have been registered and will receive a link to the Zoom meeting on Wed morning and we look forward to “seeing” you on Wed evening at 7:30 p.m.  Attached is some information on CCA, Q & A and helpful websites.  Thanks again for taking the time to get informed!

Folks can sign up by sending an email to MEAMedfield@gmail.com

Helen Dewey
Medfield Environment Action

WARRANT ARTICLE
Community Choice Energy Aggregation (CCA)
A Good Choice for Medfield
Q: What is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)?
A: CCA is a program that allows local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents from an
alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility
provider (Eversource in Medfield). Nearly half of Massachusetts cities and towns have engaged with CCA
programs since this was authorized by the Mass. Utility Restructuring Act (1997). Massachusetts was first,
but today, seven states have programs that serve more than five million customers nationwide.
Q: Why is CCA a good idea?
A: CCA is attractive for any community that wants more green power than is offered by default, more
supply options, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating, a community gains leverage to negotiate
better rates with competitive suppliers and to choose greener power sources. By choosing sources that are
greener-than-default (more Class I RECs), CCAs can help accelerate implementation of renewable power
sources in the state and region.
Q: What does approving this Article commit Medfield to?
A: With approval at Town Meeting, Medfield will be allowed to apply to become a municipal aggregator
and investigate alternative supply options. It does not commit the town to do anything besides this but is a
necessary step for the town to pursue and evaluate options. The Selectmen, for any reason, can later choose
to accept or to not move forward after receiving bids.
Q: What makes this a good choice for Medfield Residents?
A: This program can provide Medfielders more choice for electrical energy supply. Residents will have a
well-vetted supplier without having to research individually. Many towns have been able to increase their
green power content while offering rates comparable to or better than what is currently paid to Eversource.
This is dependent on market conditions. Residents may opt-out, reverting to the Eversource basic rate, at
any time, without penalty.
Q: What will the program cost?
A: The minimal cost of managing the program will be incorporated in the new negotiated rate. Medfield
will engage an energy broker to manage the process, logistics, and marketing. In many towns, the sourcing
and management cost has been substantially less than the savings generated by the programs, meaning net
savings for electrical consumers.
Q: What will be different for me?
A: Not much; the change will be mostly transparent to you. Eversource will bring electricity to your home/
business, service the lines as before, and send you a bill which looks substantially the same. Only the supplier
listed on your bill will change.
Q: What is the wording of this Warrant Article?
A: To see if the town will authorize the Board of Selectmen to initiate the process of seeking to aggregate
electrical load through a Community Choice Aggregation Program (CCA) and contract for Medfield residents
as authorized by M.G.L. 164, Section 134, and through CCA, decrease greenhouse emissions for the
town’s residents by pursuing a percentage of Class I designated renewable energy that is greater than that
required by the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
For more information visit http://www.town.medfield.net/326/Medfield-Energy-Committee
Helpful Resources/Websites for Additional Info
on Community Choice Aggregation
The Green Energy Consumer Alliance: https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/
Offers programs/services on green energy choices, advocates for energy policies and educates
New England energy consumers
Green Energy Consumer Alliance on Community Aggregation
https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/aggregation
Massachusetts Climate Action Network MCAN: https://www.massclimateaction.org/
Mass Climate Action on Community Aggregation:
https://www.massclimateaction.org/community aggregation
Mass.gov information on Municipal Aggregation:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/municipal-aggregation
https://www.masslive.com/politics/2020/01/mass-senate-introduces-climate-change-bills-calling-for-netzero-
emissions-by-2050-with-5-year-targets.html
From Energy News about the Success/Shattered Expectations of Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts:
https://energynews.us/2020/02/28/northeast/municipal-aggregation-savings-shattering-expectations-
in-massachusetts/
Towns with Approved Municipal Aggregations
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/municipal-aggregation#approved-municipal-aggregations-
List of Competitive Suppliers in Eastern Mass for personal homeowners to consider:
https://www.eversource.com/NSTAR/CustomerCare/residential/CompetitiveSupplierAdmin/Competitive-
SuppliersDisplay
WARRANT ARTICLE
Community Choice Energy Aggregation (CCA)
A Good Choice for Medfield
Q: What is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA)?
A: CCA is a program that allows local governments to procure power on behalf of their residents from an
alternative supplier while still receiving transmission and distribution service from their existing utility
provider (Eversource in Medfield). Nearly half of Massachusetts cities and towns have engaged with CCA
programs since this was authorized by the Mass. Utility Restructuring Act (1997). Massachusetts was first,
but today, seven states have programs that serve more than five million customers nationwide.
Q: Why is CCA a good idea?
A: CCA is attractive for any community that wants more green power than is offered by default, more
supply options, and/or lower electricity prices. By aggregating, a community gains leverage to negotiate
better rates with competitive suppliers and to choose greener power sources. By choosing sources that are
greener-than-default (more Class I RECs), CCAs can help accelerate implementation of renewable power
sources in the state and region.
Q: What does approving this Article commit Medfield to?
A: With approval at Town Meeting, Medfield will be allowed to apply to become a municipal aggregator
and investigate alternative supply options. It does not commit the town to do anything besides this but is a
necessary step for the town to pursue and evaluate options. The Selectmen, for any reason, can later choose
to accept or to not move forward after receiving bids.
Q: What makes this a good choice for Medfield Residents?
A: This program can provide Medfielders more choice for electrical energy supply. Residents will have a
well-vetted supplier without having to research individually. Many towns have been able to increase their
green power content while offering rates comparable to or better than what is currently paid to Eversource.
This is dependent on market conditions. Residents may opt-out, reverting to the Eversource basic rate, at
any time, without penalty.
Q: What will the program cost?
A: The minimal cost of managing the program will be incorporated in the new negotiated rate. Medfield
will engage an energy broker to manage the process, logistics, and marketing. In many towns, the sourcing
and management cost has been substantially less than the savings generated by the programs, meaning net
savings for electrical consumers.
Q: What will be different for me?
A: Not much; the change will be mostly transparent to you. Eversource will bring electricity to your home/
business, service the lines as before, and send you a bill which looks substantially the same. Only the supplier
listed on your bill will change.
Q: What is the wording of this Warrant Article?
A: To see if the town will authorize the Board of Selectmen to initiate the process of seeking to aggregate
electrical load through a Community Choice Aggregation Program (CCA) and contract for Medfield residents
as authorized by M.G.L. 164, Section 134, and through CCA, decrease greenhouse emissions for the
town’s residents by pursuing a percentage of Class I designated renewable energy that is greater than that
required by the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
For more information visit http://www.town.medfield.net/326/Medfield-Energy-Committee
Helpful Resources/Websites for Additional Info
on Community Choice Aggregation
The Green Energy Consumer Alliance: https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/
Offers programs/services on green energy choices, advocates for energy policies and educates
New England energy consumers
Green Energy Consumer Alliance on Community Aggregation
https://www.greenenergyconsumers.org/aggregation
Massachusetts Climate Action Network MCAN: https://www.massclimateaction.org/
Mass Climate Action on Community Aggregation:
https://www.massclimateaction.org/community aggregation
Mass.gov information on Municipal Aggregation:
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/municipal-aggregation
https://www.masslive.com/politics/2020/01/mass-senate-introduces-climate-change-bills-calling-for-netzero-
emissions-by-2050-with-5-year-targets.html
From Energy News about the Success/Shattered Expectations of Municipal Aggregation in Massachusetts:
https://energynews.us/2020/02/28/northeast/municipal-aggregation-savings-shattering-expectations-
in-massachusetts/
Towns with Approved Municipal Aggregations
https://www.mass.gov/info-details/municipal-aggregation#approved-municipal-aggregations-
List of Competitive Suppliers in Eastern Mass for personal homeowners to consider:
https://www.eversource.com/NSTAR/CustomerCare/residential/CompetitiveSupplierAdmin/Competitive-
SuppliersDisplay

MEA’s Forum on Community Choice Aggregation – 7PM, 7/22/20

Mayor, Colleeen Sullivan’s article in Medfield Patch – register via MEAMedfield@gmail.com

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

Community Corner

Medfield – Community Choice Aggregation Info Forum, 7/22/20

In anticipation of the vote at the next Town Meeting, the July 22 virtual forum will consider questions like how does CCA work, etc?

(Colleen)

The following authored by Fritz Fleischmann, Medfield Environment Action member.

Join Us: Community Choice Aggregation: Informational Forum on July 22

Medfield has a new environmental group: Medfield Environment Action (MEA). Its mission statement declares:

Medfield Environment Action (MEA) is a grassroots organization of residents. We share information about the accelerating environmental destruction and climate emergency to empower local action. We seek to build a movement of informed citizens, dedicated to the preservation of a living environment in Medfield and beyond. Our goal is for those informed citizens to support each other and work together for solutions.

MEA will work to:

  • initiate and support measures by our town and state governments that will positively impact our environment;
  • help reduce energy consumption and render the consumed energy renewable/sustainable;
  • reduce other environmental impacts in our community.

One of MEA’s first initiatives is to host two virtual forums, on July 22 and August 17, which will provide an opportunity to learn about two environmental choices for Medfield that will be voted on at the next Town Meeting: whether to embrace Community Choice Aggregation, and how to set Medfield’s climate goals.

The first virtual forum on Wednesday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m. will take up the question of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). CCA is a method of buying renewable electricity in bulk for a town’s operations and for its residents. MCAN (the Massachusetts Climate Action Network) describes it as “a program towns and cities can use to switch everyone in the town who is on basic service over to cleaner energy. An energy broker helps the community purchase the amount of energy which best fits their needs. Residents may opt out at any time. The energy is still distributed and billed through the town’s original utility (i.e. Eversource or National Grid).” Voters in a growing number of towns in Massachusetts have either approved such a program (Melrose, Brookline, and Lexington were among the early adopters), or are the in various stages of adopting it.

In anticipation of the vote at the next Town Meeting, the July 22 virtual forum will consider such questions as: how does CCA work? What are the benefits (and are there any downsides)? Will residents save money? Can they opt out of it? Is it right for Medfield?

Interested residents can register for this forum by writing to MEAMedfield@gmail.com; once registered, they will receive an invitation with a link to the forum. Information about the second forum on August 17 will be published in due course.

Guest Column: Why pursuing a net zero school building for Medfield makes sense

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

Guest Column: Why pursuing a net zero school building for Medfield makes sense

At its meeting on June 2, the Medfield Board of Selectmen listened to an intriguing presentation from Mark Sandeen, a member of the Select Board in Lexington. In February, Lexington had opened its new Hastings Elementary School as a net-positive building: an all-electric building that uses no fossil fuels and that generates more energy than it consumes in its operation. Mr. Sandeen had been invited by Fred Davis, chair of the Medfield Energy Committee, to be part of a presentation by the MEC to the Board of Selectmen. The MEC asked the board to charge the MEC and Arrowstreet, the Dale Street Planning Committee architectural firm, to figure out together whether a new school building for Medfield could be constructed as a fossil fuel-free building, at a total lifecycle cost that equals (or is less than) that of a more conventional building.

In his introductory remarks, Fred Davis pointed out that this is already proven technology, implemented in a number of schools in Massachusetts.

As Mark Sandeen explained, the Hastings School is an 110,000-square-foot elementary school building that is going to house 645 students on a regular basis, the second (and larger) of two net-zero school buildings now operating in Lexington. Several features enable the building to produce more than enough energy to meet its own needs: a tight envelope reduces those needs by 50%; in addition to solar panels on the roof, solar canopies were erected on the parking lots around the building. An electric heat pump will move heat from the ground during the winter months, and it will cool the building during the summer by pumping heat out of the building back into the ground. The annual energy needs of the building were calculated at 970,000 kilowatt hours of electricity; the solar installations on the rooftop and the canopies are projected to produce 1.1 million kilowatt hours per year. An extensive battery system was installed to lower peak demand in the building.

An additional benefit of this design is that the Hastings School is the healthiest school building ever erected in Lexington; increased and improved air circulation creates an environment that is most conducive to student learning.

The Lexington facility will, on an annual basis, produce more energy than it consumes. The net-zero-energy features, along with incentives from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, provide substantial net dollar benefits to the town from Day One. Under a worst-case scenario (if revenue is lower than expected and expense higher than expected), Sandeen projects a net income to the town (annual dollar benefits exceeding annual bond payment) in the range of $30,000. Under moderate conditions, the projection of net benefit goes up to around $100,000/year.

Mr. Sandeen’s talk is available as part of the video taken of the Selectmen’s meeting on June 2, which has been posted on YouTube by Medfield TV (the MEC presentation begins at 57.53).

As Medfield’s project is just entering the design phase, this is the perfect time to think about making the Dale Street School an all-electric Net Zero building. At the end of the presentation, the Selectmen were definitely interested in the concept and charged the MEC and Arrowstreet with creating scenarios informed by Mr. Sandeen’s presentation.

The MEC is working on a number of fronts to reduce carbon emissions in Medfield. If you would like more information or to help with these efforts, contact Fred Davis, MEC chair.

Fritz Fleischmann is a resident of Spring Street.