Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick wouldn't be
surprised to hear that according to SM&'s recently released
poll, 72 percent of Americans now believe that living in an environmentally responsible and
sustainable way is vital to achieving the American Dream. Since
his administration passed a suite of nation-leading energy laws,
including the Green Communities Act, Massachusetts has seen
thousands of individual homeowners, municipalities and businesses
go green through the state's portfolio approach to renewable
energy, which includes support for solar, wind, hydro and energy
Approaching the four-year anniversary of the law's passage this
summer, Governor Patrick joined a crowd of nearly 150 people from
the state's clean energy community yesterday for a conversation
about how Massachusetts has been leading the nation in clean
energy and is already living the green American Dream.
"If you ever wondered whether people want the opportunity to go
green, consider this," Governor Patrick said to the group gathered
at Boston-based energy storage company FastCAP
Systems. "A 'Green Community' is a designation created by
the Green Communities Act, but it is not easy to achieve. The law
set out tough statutory standards that require applicant
communities to make a serious commitment to energy efficiency and
other reforms. Today, nearly half of Massachusetts' residents
now live in a Green Community."
While the Green Communities designation program has helped cities
and towns operate in more environmentally responsible and energy
savvy ways, residents and businesses throughout Massachusetts have
also made the choice to go green as well. One example is Massachusetts' booming solar market, which was
recently covered in the Boston Globe. The amount of solar
energy installed has grown from 3.5 megawatts (MW) of solar
installed in the state in 2007 to more than 110 MW installed
Massachusetts also ranks first in the nation in energy efficiency,
according to the American Council on an Energy Efficiency Economy.
According to the state's Department of Energy Resources, in 2010 alone
more than one million residents and businesses made energy
efficiency improvements to their homes or buildings. Sierra
Briton, a Dorchester native working as an insulation technician at
Boston's Next Step Living, told the group that the
company now has 25 teams of technicians helping consumers make
energy efficiency improvements to their homes, compared to five
just two years ago.
Even professional athletes are making an effort to live more
sustainably. Boston Bruins defensemen Andrew
Ference, who is a leader in the National Hockey League's Carbon
Neutral Challenge program to help professional hockey players
offset the emissions produced by their travel, told the crowd that
whether it's recycling, composting or taking public transportation,
"we all have a piece of the energy puzzle."
Governor Patrick admitted that while Massachusetts has made great
strides in environmental responsibility by giving businesses,
families and governments the tools to change how they consume
energy, there is no single path or quick-fix to a clean energy
future. He suggested that states push for new forms of renewable
energy, such as biogass from food waste, and continue to support
the research and development of new clean energy technologies as
part of the portfolio approach that is already working for
residents, businesses and governments in Massachusetts.
"In America, we have rarely left our energy future entirely to
chance," he said. "From whale oil to petroleum, from
distributing coal to distributing electricity, we have moved
forward by examining our options and our opportunities, learning
from our mistakes, and keeping our eye on what kind of future we
want. And government has always had a role in that."
You can read Governor Patrick's entire speech here and
follow clean energy and sustainability news on Twitter by searching
the hashtags #cleanenergy and #susty.
(The above photo was taken by Jeremiah Robinson of the Governor's
Office. To see more photos, click here.)
Written by Kate Plourd, Senior Account Executive at Solomon McCown
& Co., Inc.