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 36 of 211

opinion sound off town green my turn op-ed issues speak up opinion sound off town green my turn op-ed issues speak up opinion sound off town gree established a town-wide goal of reducing Wellesley's carbon footprint by ten percent by 2013. A secondary, but equally important, initiative was the establishment of a perma- nent Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC). In December 2011, the SEC identified the expansion of the MLP's voluntary renewable program as the most effective way to reduce Wellesley's carbon footprint. At the same time, Anthony Amato, a contractor for the EPA, challenged Wellesley to participate in the GPC program. Although the MLP's renewable program had over 600 partici- pants, only about one percent of the Town's 260,000,000 annual kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity consumption was enrolled. To meet the EPA's target, the Town would need to triple the amount of energy purchased. Ellen Korpi, a member of the SEC, volun- teered to chair the campaign. Korpi had extensive experience as a grassroots activist and immediately went to work organizing a sub-committee of volunteers. Working with the various "green teams" and Parent Teacher Organizations, Wellesley's Renewable Energy program participation almost doubled from 608 to 1,146 today. "The town-wide enthusi- asm has been incredible," says Debra Healy. "I remember at one of our first meetings we thought we would do well to get 50 residents to let us place a 'Power to Choose' lawn sign in front of their house. Being optimists, how- ever, we ordered 100 signs and in less than a day all 100 signs were spoken for. " 35 Although the enrollment increased, the SEC needed to get its commercial customers to participate. Whole Foods already pur- chased 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, so the Town was able to include their kWhs. The Selectmen, MLP, and others reached out to large users and soon Babson College, Mass Bay Commu - nity College, Wellesley College, and Sun Life Financial enrolled. Wellesley's renewable energy purchase skyrocketed from 2,000,000 kWhs in December 2011 to 9,800,000 today, allowing Wellesley to receive its "Green Power Community" designation. Based on a national average of 1.34 pounds of carbon for each kWh generated by fossil fuel, Wellesley's renewable energy participation will remove over 6,500 tons of carbon annually. Assuming an average car generates six tons of carbon each year, Wellesley's participants are having the same impact as taking more than 1,000 automobiles off the road. Barbara Searle is Chair of the Town of Wellesley's Board of Selectmen. She sums up the thoughts of many Town residents in this way: "In reality we know that any Massachusetts community could accomplish this and we sincerely hope many others do, but we'll always take pride in knowing Wellesley was the first". fall 2012 | WellesleyWeston Magazine

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