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Medfield Officials Recommend Voters Pass 'Green' Warrant Articles Next Week

Two articles must pass for Medfield to qualify for a $148,000 grant.

Credit: Patch file photo.
Credit: Patch file photo.

Medfield voters next week will have the chance to bring the town one step closer to being considered a "Green Community."

Two articles need to pass at the April 28 Town Meeting for Medfield to qualify for a grant of $148,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resource, and the Medfield Energy Commission is recommending voters support both articles, according to Medfield Selectmen Osler "Pete" Peterson's Medfield02052 blog

Article 34 looks implement a "Large-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District," while Article 35 looks to enact a Stretch Energy Code to regulate the design and construction of buildings for effective energy use. 

Medfield's Annual Town Meeting takes place on Monday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Medfield High School. 

The following statement was provided by the Medfield Energy Commission:

For Medfield to qualify for an $148,000  grant from the State Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the two articles must pass at Town Meeting April 28. 

Medfield is working to become a Green Community within the Green Communities Act administered by the DOER. The Green Community designation acknowledges that a Town has taken steps to encourage energy conservation and facilitate renewable energy. There are 5 criteria that must be met to qualify. Article #34 achieves two of the criteria and Article #35 a third. The final two criteria are policies to be adopted by the Board of Selectmen and the School Board before the Fall 2014 application to the DOER.

Article #34, to “.. .add new Section 19, Large-Scale Solar Photovoltaic Overlay District (PVOD)…”  will fulfill the requirement to facilitate renewable energy in the town. The by-right overlay district will be the Industrial Extensive (IE) district that is North of West Street.  Section 19 regulates large-scale solar location, construction and operation to minimize visual and environmental impacts and provide financial assurance for the eventual decommissioning. 

Over 50 Massachusetts communities have passed by-right Solar Bylaws, including Sherborn, Medway, Dedham & Ashland. Article #34 was passed unanimously by the Planning Board and is supported by the Board of Selectmen and Warrant Committee. 

Article #35 to “…enact…“Stretch Energy Code”, for the purpose of regulating the design and construction of buildings for the effective use of energy…” The energy code is a component of the building code; it sets a minimum energy efficiency for new buildings and major renovations. The "stretch" energy code of 2009 is a more-efficient option available for towns to voluntarily adopt. Both base and stretch energy codes are updated every few years. This July, the current "stretch" code will be replacing the current base energy code statewide. Passing this Warrant Article will thus accelerate Medfield's adoption of the current stretch code by only a few months. As new "stretch" energy codes are developed, Medfield will adopt them immediately and not wait for them to become the new base energy code. The benefit of adopting the stretch energy code now is to be able to qualify for the $148,000 DOER grant.

Although 134 towns have adopted the stretch energy code, Medfield has not yet done so. Passage of this Article would keep Medfield one step ahead, meaning more efficient homes and buildings. The added construction cost to meet the stretch energy code is quickly recovered through reduced energy costs. (See attached table.)

The Board of Selectmen and the Energy Committee recommend passage of Article #35. The Warrant Committee vote was split 5-2-2.  

GM April 25, 2014 at 06:41 PM
The report on the Warrant Committee's vote on Article 35 as described in the Medfield Energy Commission statement is misleading. The Warrant Committee's split vote reflected a majority recommendation that the article be dismissed. It was not a split vote in favor of recommending approval of the article. A prime concern leading to this vote by the Warrant Committee was the likely adverse impact the Stretch Code will have on the cost to existing homeowners for renovations to their homes that will now need to comply with the requirements of the Stretch Code.

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