February 25 2020

Burlington Enters State Green Communities Program

By: Rich Hosford

Burlington has gained its Green Communities Designation and Grant Program acceptance after a lot of work by a number of people in town to lower the municipality’s energy use. 


The program is run by the state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and offers incentives, in the form of grant money, for communities to seek more energy efficient buildings, vehicles and utilities. Burlington’s acceptance into the program, announced by Town Administrator Paul Sagarino at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, means it will now receive $173,000 in an initial grant and will be eligible to apply for competitive grants in the future. 


“A couple of weeks ago we received formal notice that Burlington had received our designation as a Green Community,” Sagarino said. “This was the culmination of a yearlong process to enter the program. The overriding goal of the program is for the town to commit to reduce our municipal energy uses by 20 percent over the next five years.” 


To get the designation the town has implemented a Fuel Efficient Vehicle Policy that establishes a requirement that the Town of Burlington purchase only fuel efficient vehicles for municipal and local public school use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable. Sagarino said the policy will apply mostly to department vehicles used for inspections and other non-emergency operations. Fire engines and police cruisers are exempt. 


The town also implemented an Anti-Idling Policy for all municipal and school vehicles. 


In May of 2019, Town Meeting voted to approve the adoption of the state’s Stretch Energy Building Code that sets higher energy efficiency standards for all new homes and buildings built in town. 


All these steps helped the town meet the requirements of the program. Now it has to meet the 20 percent reduction in energy use by 2025. 


DPW Operations Analyst Rachel Caplan, who has put in a lot of time on the designation, said two upcoming projects aimed at meeting this goal involve work at the Burlington Public Library. She said both of the building’s rooftop units will be replaced and the library’s HVAC system, which is on the older side, will be replaced. 


DPW Director John Sanchez said the department has a “roadmap” for meeting the 20 percent reduction goal. 


“We’ll get there for sure,” he said. 


Members of the board thanked everyone for their work in getting the town accepted into the program. They especially focused their gratitude on Caplan, who had done the majority of the work, for her effort. 


“Whenever Rachel is in attendance it always seems to be good news,” Selectman Mike Runyan said.  


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