Energy Committee Develops Stretch Energy Code

It was all business at the monthly meeting of the Marion Energy Management Committee on July 30 as the group prepared for upcoming sessions with local contractors and residents in preparation for the Fall Town Meeting.

The committee is placing an article on the warrant proposing the Town adopt the “Stretch Energy Code,” a bylaw “for the purpose of regulating the design and construction of buildings for effective use of energy … [and] provide a more energy efficient alternative to the Base Energy Code.”

The bylaw, which a Town Meeting must adopt and is a requirement for Green Community designation, would apply to new residential constructions and commercial buildings.

Despite not having received comments back from town counsel on the document, the committee approved, in large part, a draft crafted from the Town of Dighton’s, with minor changes specific to Marion. That language has already passed muster with the Attorney General.

The region’s Green Communities Coordinator Seth Pickering is assisting the committee in tweaking the language of the bylaw as well as with public outreach to help the residents and contractors understand the bylaw’s individual elements. The committee, with Pickering, will be hosting two informational meetings to introduce the bylaw to the public. The first one for Marion Town Officials and construction contractors on Monday, August 27, and a second session for the general public on Monday, September 24. Both meetings will be held at the Marion Music Hall.

In other business, someone contacted Chairman David Pierce expressing an interest in developing a solar array on the town landfill, referred to as the “Benson Brook Solar Array.”

Committee member Jennifer Francis reported that in order to entertain a new proposal, the Town would need to issue a new Request for Proposals to obtain information on developers’ interest in the project. The committee must also ask the town administrator to submit a pre-application to Eversource.

The committee will ascertain whether it is possible to connect to the grid from the location at the landfill.

Members Bill Saltonstall and Christian Ingerslev are working with the Mass Energy Insight Program, a web-based program designed to help towns “understand their energy use and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Preliminary numbers indicate that Sippican School comprises 14 percent of the Town’s energy use, while the pumping stations, including the landfill, use 22 percent. The Town’s energy is powered 10 percent by oil, 44 percent by natural gas, and 46 by electricity.

The LED streetlight program is moving forward as the Town awaits an estimate from Eversource for the cost to purchase the old existing streetlights, expected at around $10,000.

Francis reported that the “big money” will be in purchasing the new LED lights, but that the overall savings will more than make up for that. Saltonstall noted that the purchase may be funded with the money generated by the First Generation Wind project, which has made the town roughly $167,000 in two years.

The Town is also looking into getting some new electric car charging stations and will need to determine their locations and the manufacturer. Ingerslev observed that while on a recent visit to the harbor, there were no signs or any indicators of the two charging stations located there; therefore, there were regular cars parked in the spots designated for the electric cars.

Marion Facilities Director Shaun Cormier, who attended the meeting, indicated that after installing the charging stations, “[he’s] getting a lot of pushback from the people who run the wharf,” he explained, to not install signs or paint the parking spots to indicate restricted parking. Saltonstall noted that parking is at a premium at the harbor, but having the charging stations there “doesn’t make much sense if we are not willing to designate the space to electric [vehicles].”

Cormier suggested the committee make a formal request to the town administrator for the signs and line painting.

While the committee considered moving the charging stations to a new and more convenient location, depending on the access to power, Pierce concluded that the committee should move incrementally on the ideas and first facilitate getting signs installed.

“We are here to help out!” Pierce declared.

The next meeting of the Marion Energy Management Committee is scheduled for August 27 at 7:00 pm in the Marion Music Hall.

Marion Energy Management Committee

By Sarah French Storer


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