- Increase public awareness & participation in energy efficiency & renewable energy programs.
- Increase the Town’s supply of carbon-free power to Norwood Municipal Light Department’s (NMLD) energy mix.
- Strengthen the incentive/financial support and the energy efficiency services available to residents and businesses.
- Assist Norwood residents and businesses switch from fossil fuel heating systems to electric heating systems.
- Make it easier for residents and visitors of Norwood residents to own or lease an electric automobile.
- Reduce town-wide greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030 using 2019 as a base for measurement.
- Increase the supply of carbon-free electricity to the Norwood grid to 50% by 2030 using 2019 as a base for measurement.
- Develop and maintain a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for the town with assistance from and using the Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s (MAPC) Community Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool.
- Partner with the NMLD to better promote their:
- Efficiency incentive programs;
- NMLD Heat Pump Program;
- Municipal Light Plant Solar Rebate program, a residential solar program; and
- Norwood Drives Electric program, an incentive through Norwood Light for electric car purchases with a level two charging station installation.
- Partner with National Grid (NGRID) to promote the participation, awareness, and benefits of their natural gas efficiency programs by reducing greenhouse emissions and increasing efficiency.
- Work with NMLD, the DPW, and the Planning Department to develop the following:
- Renewable energy systems to high-profile locations in Norwood, including solar parking canopies in municipal parking lots.
- EV Charging Stations to high profile locations in Norwood.
- Organize demonstration projects for ratepayers focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and tracking energy and carbon reduction progress (benchmarking).
- Investigate the feasibility and benefits of town-wide electrification related to reduced energy use and reduced carbon emissions.
- Investigate offering a Green Choice Program as an option for ratepayers to add additional renewable energy credits to supplement the existing NMLD portfolio.
- Adopt a town bylaw requiring that all newly constructed or renovated municipal buildings meet net-zero energy building standards.
- NMLD provides the Sustainability Commission with regular updates regarding new rebates, initiatives, etc., regarding energy use in Norwood.
In an early 2019 Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) report, A Comparative Analysis of Massachusetts Municipal Light Plants' Clean Energy and Climate Action Performance, Norwood ranked 39th of 41 municipal electric service providers, scoring 27 out of a possible 100 points. As a counterpoint, Belmont ranked first, scoring 89 points. Yet over the past two years, Norwood has made substantial progress in addressing these two areas. The light department has increased its public-facing efficiency programs, launched a solar rebate program, an electric vehicle program providing rebates on both vehicles and chargers, a monthly bill credit for off-peak electrical vehicle charging, a monthly bill credit for demand response on residential hit water heaters, an air source heat pump rebate program, participating in demand response programs at the substation level, promoting commercial and industrial shared savings demand response programs, and increased the amounts given for home appliance and weatherization rebates. The Town of Norwood has become a designated Massachusetts Green Community, having committed to reducing municipal energy use by 20% over the next five years and is receiving grant money to help in meeting this goal. Still, the Town can do more.
With room for improvement, the goals of decreasing energy use and carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 can be more easily achieved if Norwood aligns itself with well-established state goals and programs. While joining Green Communities is a start, the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008 and the Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap offers guidance, concrete solutions, and often mandated performance levels and funding for all communities and every energy-consuming sector across the Commonwealth. And while 50% reductions are lofty goals, the Massachusetts legislature, as of January 4, 2021, enacted legislation that requires reductions of 80% by 2050. Regardless of the scope, all energy and carbon reduction plans can be summarized in three words: reduce, electrify and decarbonize, and a common conclusion is that the only viable path to deep reductions in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions is through a combination of reduced energy consumption, expanded availability of clean electricity, and electrification of the transportation and heating sectors. Norwood can act quickly and independently in establishing more aggressive conservation measures and green energy generation facilities with a municipal light department. It can also adopt building codes that require net-zero energy compliance for all new construction and major renovation projects. Greater participation in existing utility conservation programs and promoting energy efficiency or renewable energy demonstration projects that would share construction documents, host tours, and share results would also help achieve these goals.