The Mass. Legislature has recognized the increasing impact of climate change and established clear goals for the state to reduce carbon emissions through its 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act. Subsequent legislation and state-wide programs address a range of sustainability issues to help meet these goals, providing incentives to Massachusetts towns to encourage community-led sustainability initiatives.
In 2011, Weston was awarded the Green Community Designation by the state. This resulted in significant energy cost savings (15.6% by 2017) through proactive maintenance of municipal buildings and grounds in line with increasingly tight environmental standards. In addition, a solar photovoltaic array was installed on the capped landfill at the Town’s Transfer Station facility in 2016, generating 14% of total municipal energy use in 2017.
The Sustainability Committee’s focus is to ensure sustainability issues and opportunities in Weston are proactively managed, advising the Select Board and collaborating with Town departments and committees. The Committee will recommend, develop and monitor programs designed to enhance Weston’s long-term sustainability and resilience in response to environmental, resource and energy challenges.
The Sustainability Committee will:
- Establish baselines for key sustainability issues. Recommend and establish sustainability goals, performance indicators, and priorities for implementation.
- Develop programs required to meet the Town’s sustainability goals.
- Monitor and measure effectiveness of sustainability programs undertaken, leveraging the Green Communities municipal reporting system.
- Serve as a resource for the Select Board and Town departments, committees and boards on sustainability issues, including energy conservation, water conservation, health, waste disposal, recycling and the use of hazardous materials.
- Educate and raise awareness among Weston residents, departments, nonprofits and businesses throughout the development and implementation of these plans.
- Work with the Facilities Department on projects as needed including the update to the “Energy Cost Reduction Study.”
- Work with the Department of Public Works and coordinate with other relevant boards, committees, and departments on sustainability issues to enhance effectiveness and avoid redundancy.
- Stay abreast of state and local issues that affect Weston’s ability to achieve its sustainability goals.
- Seek and obtain grants and funding to support sustainability initiatives.
- Report periodically to the Select Board.
Committee expertise includes built environment technical expertise; land use technical expertise; waste management; water infrastructure; ecology; community organization; communication; and sustainability experience and interest.
The Committee may solicit participation from other non-voting individuals with skills and expertise to complete discrete projects required to achieve the committee’s objectives. It is expected the committee will collaborate with the Sustainable Weston Action Group (SWAG) and will utilize representatives from Facilities, Public Works, and other Town departments as resources when working.