Chris Mason - Chair
Montague Energy Committee
One Avenue A
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Municipal Staff/Green Communities Coordinator
Duties & Responsibilities
The Montague Energy Committee has a broad mandate from the Montague Board of Selectmen to help residents, commercial and business organizations, and the municipality to reduce energy use and increase use of renewable power.
Since its inception in the fall of 2008, in response to rapidly rising energy prices, the Montague Energy Committee hit the ground running with actions to educate residents about ways that they can save energy and reduce energy payments. The committee posted flyers, organized efficiency workshops in the five villages, published a regular article, The Energy Corner, in the Montague Reporter, and organized tours of energy efficient homes – including a prize-winning house in Montague Center that creates more energy then it uses. The committee even secured a free high-efficiency furnace that they gave away to a Town resident!
While continuing these efforts, the committee next focused on qualifying Montague as a Green Community to make the town eligible for new state grant monies for energy efficiency projects. Through these efforts the Town developed a plan to reduce municipal energy use 20 percent in five years, increased energy efficiency requirements in the Town’s building code that will significantly reduce new buildings’ energy bills, adjusted zoning regulations to encourage renewable energy projects, and adopted a policy for the Town to purchase energy efficient vehicles where practicable. After qualifying as a Green Community, Montague secured a grant for just under $155,000 to help replace the inefficient fuel oil heating plant in Town Hall with a high-efficiency gas boiler.
Committee members have also joined Town staff and consultants to navigate contracting with an energy services company to install energy efficiency measures that will significantly reduce the Town’s energy bills. The committee helped raise $4,300 for the Town to spend on a renewable energy project and obtained access to $200,000 in low-interest bonds to install solar-electric panels on town buildings.
Moving into 2011, the committee has stepped back to organize a comprehensive approach to help residents, businesses, and the municipality reduce energy expenditures in all buildings in town. Two key goals of this effort will be to reach out and work with other organizations in town and to set the committee’s sights high – the savings need to be significant. In the coming months, the energy committee will take a closer look at its visions and refine them into next steps and clear short and long-term goals. If you would like to participate in this planning process or join the committee, the committee invites you to come to its meetings. Committee meeting times and places are posted on this page.