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Greenfield Signs on with Climate Group

By ANITA FRITZ Recorder Staff [originally published in the Recorder on 2-20-08]

GREENFIELD — The town Tuesday took its first major step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and looking at ways government, schools and residents can help with the greening of Greenfield.

 Mayor Christine Forgey signed the town up with ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection, which will help the town take the steps it needs to become sustainable.

ICLEI, an international organization known by the acronym and funded with both federal and private money, helps cities and towns worldwide create, implement and monitor plans to reduce energy use.

''We witnessed an historic signing today as the mayor joined Greenfield with the international community on working to reduce energy use, save Greenfield money and create a safer and healthier place for all of us to live,'' said Nancy Hazard, co-chair of the Greening Greenfield Campaign, a collaboration of the town and the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee, which last year raised $12,000 with the help of businesses and residents.

''Today, Greening Greenfield's dreams come to fruition,'' said Hazard.

It cost the town $600 to join ICLEI. The money was taken from $12,000 the local campaign raised last year. The campaign will also hire a consultant to help Greenfield find ways to save energy.

ICLEI will provide guidance to the town, as well as technical assistance, networking with other cities and towns and software, all in an attempt to reduce climate changing emissions.

''I'm pleased the town will be part of this initiative,'' said Forgey. ''It makes sense for us to be doing this.''

Sandra Shields, the town's Department of Public Works director, said the state is currently doing an energy audit on all DPW buildings. She said other town departments, including fire, schools and the library, have applied to have the same audit done on their buildings.

''This program is a little different than others, because the state will tell us what it thinks needs to be done to reduce energy use and will then let us know what kind of (grant) money is available to us to make some changes,'' said Shields.

Greenfield Community Television will air tonight at 6 p.m. a presentation made by ICLEI explaining to the town a few weeks ago membership in its organization.

The local campaign will also be looking to each resident of Greenfield to lose 5,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and to make a donation to the New England Wind Fund, which will be matched by the Massachusetts Technological Cooperative.

Greening Greenfield will also hold an information session for homeowners on May 12, explaining sources of money for homeowners who want to have energy audits done or who want to install energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

''Turtle Island Medicine Show'' will be held at Greenfield High School April 6 at 2:30 p.m. The show, presented by Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, a renowned climate change theater group, will use large-scale puppets to talk about climate change.

For more information, visit: www.greeninggreenfield.org.

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