April 13, 2019 by Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham was recently designated a Green Community by the state Department of Energy Resources. Along with that good news came a $142,000 grant.
Hingham is in good company, surrounded as it is by other Green Communities, except for Hull.
At an awards ceremony at Town Hall, DOER representatives presented town officials with a check in that amount to jump-start its efforts toward reducing energy use by 20 percent in municipal and school buildings over the next five years, among other energy-saving measures. There would be further grant possibilities in the future.
"This is a happy day," said Assistant Town Administrator Michelle Monsegur. Hingham officials shared the ceremony with officials from Hanson as another newly-named Green Community. This effort is part of the Massachusetts Green Communities Designation and Grant Program.
"Putting our application together was a townwide collaborative effort," said Monsegur, involving Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant General Manager and his team, the DPW and other town departments, the School Department, the Selectmen's office, and others.
Town Administrator Tom Mayo worked as energy coordinator for Mashpee when in 2010 that community was designated as a Green Community and so has firsthand knowledge of the program's benefits to local communities that are awarded this designation.
"I was elated when I heard Hingham was eligible," he said. "Michelle took the ball and ran with it. It's a well-thought-out program made possible by support from the state through the DOER, providing environmental benefits and financial support that helps communities do the right thing. It'g government at its best."
Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson congratulated both communities during the ceremony, which was attended by town officials, volunteers, and state legislators who have helped move the Green Communities program forward. "Being designated as a Green Community makes a difference to your community and to the entire Commonwealth," she said, with the program providing assistance and resources beyond grant money.
Judson noted that the savings resulting from reductions in energy use can go toward the community's schools, public safety, or other purposes.
Mass. Dept. of Energy Resources' Green Communities Regional Coordinator Seth Pickering worked with the town to achieve its designation.
There are reporting obligations for grant recipients to share the progress each community is making.