Town gets greener every day according to report

By Shenandoah Briere | Apr 02, 2018

From a solar push to land conservation, the Town of Dartmouth is doing what it can to become a more green community and government.

That’s according to a newly-released sustainability report, which was presented for the first time at the April 2 Select Board meeting. The 50 page report, initiated by former Town Administrator David Cressman, describes the community's actions toward becoming more green in 2017. It has been conducted annually since 2012.

“Tip of the hat to Mr. David Cressman for his involvement in this project,” said Select Board member Stanley Mickelson.“I believe he’s the one who brought this forth in its infancy over his period of time and it's another reason we will sorely miss Mr. Cressman and all of the things he has done for this town.”

The report will soon be made available on the town's website and in hard copy at the library.

Here are the highlights:

Energy Efficiency

The town received a Green Community designation in February 2017. The state program provides goals and technical and financial support to boost energy efficiency efforts.

Dartmouth is among the state’s leaders in energy efficiency, with a more than $200,000 grant awarded to fund several projects, including an upgrade of the HVAC system in Dartmouth High School and new gas-fired boilers and water heaters.

Leftover funds from the grant will be used to complete another project in 2018, although the exact details remain unclear.

Officials have also applied for a state Department of Environmental Protection grant to fund energy conservation in water and wastewater operations.

While energy use has increased significantly, officials are looking for more ways to reduce consumption this year, with careful attention paid to the School Department, Council on Aging, and Department of Public Works’ energy usage. The town wants to reduce its total energy consumption by 20 percent.

Renewable Energy

Last year was big for solar energy. Increased attention to solar energy policies and development led to a 2.173 megawatt growth in solar power output. That places the town among municipal leaders in solar energy, which earned the town a Bronze Designation from the national SolSmart Program for breaking solar barriers.

Environment

Town officials, working in collaboration with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Round the Bend Farm, and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, secured the preservation of the 115-acre Ocean View Farm property in 2017.

As one of the last pieces of undeveloped coastal land along the South Coast, the initiative will aid in the preservation of the entirety of the Allens Pond watershed.

Working with UMass Dartmouth, a Climate Vulnerability Analysis was recently conducted to come up with ways to better prepare for the effects of climate change. The report found an increased risk of storm-induced flooding along Apponagansett Bay and Clarks Cove when climate change is taken into account.

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