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Feel free to contact Carys Lustig who is an intern with the Town at her email for more information about Needham's initiatives.

Needham Community Solar Challenge - Completed

Help the Town earn a 2kw solar panel for one of its municipal buildings by "greening" up your own energy. By making a contribution to the New England Wind Fund to offset the non-renewable energy that you consume, you will help support your Town's efforts for energy efficiency. For every dollar that is contributed to the renewable energy, the Town will get a dollar to help it pay for a renewable energy project of its own. If 150 additional households in Needham participate in this program by April 2008, the Town will get a 2kw solar array to help offset the energy costs of one of its buildings and promote renewable energy within the community. Additional funds that are earned during this program can be utilized to finance other energy saving actions by the Town.

Update- This project has gone out to bid and a vendor has been selected to procure and install the 2 kW solar array that was granted to the Town as part of this program. The projected installation should be complete in the Summer of 2009.

EPA Community Energy Challenge

The Town of Needham has become one of the first communities to join the EPA Community Energy Challenge, which has committed the Town to reduce the energy that is consumed by its municipal buildings by 10%. Any suggestions, advice, and assistance would be greatly appreciated by the Town as it tries to reach its goal.

Update- The Town has been benchmarking its buildings for the past year and half and has seen some real gains in the efficiency of many of its buildings.

Food Waste Composting at the RTS - Started Earth Day 2009

To reduce food waste, the Town of Needham is beginning a program of receiving food waste at the RTS. This project is currently in its beginning phases and is waiting for additional funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This program will initially be available to commercial interests and will expand to accept residents food waste in the future.

Food waste can be processed to produce nutrient-rich compost and biogas. Biogas is mainly methane, which is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It is better burned, than just released into the atmosphere as it would be with normal composting. Perhaps the town could work with a company that has the technology to do this such as Feed Resource Recovery [1]

Update- The RTS has been given approval by the Department of Environmental Protection to begin its first phase of food waste composting as of Earth Day 2009. This program will being with composting commercial food waste. The Town will then compost school food waste and eventually residential food waste.

Xeriscape Landscaping

The Town has utilized xeriscape landscaping in the back of Town Hall and the island in front of Newman School. These xeriscape demo gardens will require little watering and maintenance once properly established. This will reduce not only the amount of water used, it will reduce the pollution caused by lawnmowers and maintenance vehicles. The Town plans on establishing more of these gardens in the Town.

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High Rock Renovations with Green Features

Even though the Town has decided not to pursue formal certification for energy efficiency in its renovation of the High Rock School, its new renovations will include the same green features that are usually seen in “green schools”.

The renovation will be twenty-five percent more efficient than Massachusetts code requires, going above and beyond what is the basic standard of energy efficiency. Some feature included are occupancy and light sensors, an 88% efficient boiler, high efficiency roof top units, joint use fields, and a lighting technique that bounces daylight off the ceiling to reduce glare and the need for artificial light.