WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/78488

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Page 35 of 211

[forum] Green Power Wellesley's Renewable Energy Program Gains National Recognition imaginebeing penniless in 2007 and five years later rise to become the third wealthiest family in the United States. This illustration aptly depicts the Town of Wellesley's "rags to riches" renewable energy success. Wellesley has quietly emerged as one of the leading green communities in the country. Currently 1,146 of the Municipal Light Plant's (MLP) 9,986 customers are actively participating in the Town's renewable energy program. According to the MLP's Business Manager, Debra Healy, this 11.5 percent participation rate would rank Wellesley third nationally among all voluntary programs. Based on the most recent publicized data, Wellesley trails only Palo Alto, California (21.5 percent) and Portland, Oregon (12.7 percent). In addition, Wellesley has become the first Massachusetts town or city, and only the 33rd in the United States, to receive the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Green Power Community (GPC) award. What is truly remarkable, however, is that no one involved in this campaign believes the accomplishment was especially noteworthy. Katherine "Gig" Babson, a seven-year member of the Wellesley Board of Selectmen and a leader of the renewable initiative, explained, "We just listened. Once we understood the benefits of sustainability went well beyond climate change, it was an easy deci- sion to support this grassroots effort. " Although Wellesley residents and businesses have always taken pride in being environmen- tally responsible, one individual and one event seemed to bring the community together. One of the leading green advocates, Scott Bender, emphasized the importance of each individual's 34 RICHARD F. JOYCE writer RICHARD F. JOYCE is the Director of the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant contributions by adopting the phrase "Power of One" as the centerpiece of his outreach. Over time, the Power of One gained traction and eventually evolved into Sustainable Wellesley, a dedicated group of voluntary participants. The one event that got everyone's attention was the construction of the new 280,000 square foot High School. Unlike many communi- ties, Wellesley's decentralized government not only welcomes participation but takes it a step further and encourages all that are interested to get involved. Green advocates also had the good fortune of working with a strong supporter in Gig Babson, who became Chair of the School Building Committee in 2007. The construction of the high school was an unqualified suc- cess. Completed in February 2012, the school embodies the Town's vision of delivering education in an energy efficient, high performance, green building. The success of the High School played an unexpected role in Wellesley's future. After witnessing the environmental and financial benefits of a highly efficient, Town-owned building, Wellesley's Town Meeting unani- mously approved a Warrant Article that WellesleyWeston Magazine | fall 2012

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