Sustainability Accomplishments (a list)

Click here if you would like to see the accomplishments organized by categories instead.

1990-1992

Streetlights

Partnered with National Grid to replace all existing incandescent and mercury streetlights with improved efficiency high pressure sodium lamps.

 1994

 Recycling

Curb-side recycling and pay-as-you-throw trash program reduced total annual waste stream by approximately 40%.

1997-2014

Traffic Lights

The Worcester’s 1,400 red traffic lights were converted from inefficient incandescent bulbs to high efficiency, long-life LEDs (light emitting diodes) in 1997. Since then, most associated green and amber traffic lights have been replaced with LEDs as well.

2003

Cities for Climate Protection Campaign

City Council adopted a resolution to join the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign, an initiative of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. Through this resolution, the Council pledged to take a leadership role in promoting public awareness about the causes and impacts of climate change, while also undertaking a program to reduce both greenhouse gases and air pollution in the city.

2004

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

Worcester’s first greenhouse gas emissions inventory (municipal and community) was completed. Building energy, vehicle transportation, and waste were identified as primary sources of emissions (Section 2.1 of the 2007 Climate Action Plan).

2005

Clean Renewable Municipal Electricity

City Council adopted a resolution that set a goal of purchasing 20% of electricity for municipal uses from clean, renewable sources by 2010, and encouraged residents and businesses to choose the clean energy option on their own energy bills.

Click here to learn more about the City's accomplishments in the renewable energy field.

2005

U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

Worcester Mayor Timothy P. Murray signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement,  which committed the City to strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets (7% below 1990 levels by 2012). The Agreement was re-affirmed in 2009 by Mayor Joe O'Brien.

2006-2007

Climate Action Plan

Worcester developed a Climate Action Plan with the help of a consultant and the Energy Task Force, appointed by the City Manager.

The Plan, adopted by City Council on August 28, 2007, established greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and recommended actions to reduce City's emissions and energy use.

2007

Large Wind Ordinance

The City adopted a Large Wind Energy Conversion Facilities Ordinance, which enabled installation of wind energy turbines in Worcester by Special Permit with certain provisions for height, buffers from abutting uses, and noise regulations.

These new regulations enabled a large wind turbine at the Holy Name Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School

2007

High Efficiency Lighting Retrofits

The City completed fluorescent and metal halide lighting retrofit of select City-owned buildings and four public parking garages through a National Grid incentive program.

2007

Single-stream Recycling in Schools

Worcester Public Schools implemented single-stream recycling (no sorting required) at all school facilities.

2008

Single-stream Recycling for Residents

Worcester implemented single-stream recycling (no sorting required) for curbside residential customers (1-4 dwellings).

2009 - Ongoing

Clean Renewable Municipal Electricity

Consistent with its commitment, since 2009, the City has purchased Renewable Energy Certificates (i.e. green attributes of electricity sourced from renewable sources) applying them towards municipal electricity. In 2014 and 2015, the City exceeded its 20% goal by purchasing enough RECs to cover 23% of the municipal electrical consumption!

2009

New Staff

The City hired an Energy Efficiency & Conservation Program Manager to implement the Climate Action Plan initiatives, to oversee the City’s comprehensive building energy audit, and to administer the Energy Savings Performance Contract.

2009

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant

Worcester was awarded $1.7 million from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program, funded by a 2009 federal ARRA grant. The grant funded installation of a solar array at Worcester Technical High School, a City Hall building energy efficiency project, a small businesses sustainability audit program, and rebates for energy efficiency upgrades to residential income eligible property owners in targeted areas.

2010

Small Wind Ordinance

The City amended its Wind Energy Conversion Facilities Ordinance by adding allowances for small-scale wind turbines (maximum rotor diameter 20-ft, maximum height 95 ft).

2009-2017

Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC)

  • 2009 - Completed an Investment Grade Audit (IGA).
  • 2011 - Executed $26.6M energy savings performance contract (ESPC).
  • 2011-2016 - Implemented ESPC - Phase I. Implementation of Phases II, III and IV is on-going.

2010

Green Community Designation

Worcester was designated a Green Community by the Massachusetts DOER's Green Communities Program and consequently awarded an $852,000 Green Community Designation Grant.

2011

Utility Energy Tracker for Municipal Facilities

MassEnergyInsight (MEI) website was developed by a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources contract. The City set up its accounts allowing for utility energy use tracking (for all types of fuels) in all municipal facilities over a period of time, tracking improvements in energy efficiency from the baseline, improving energy and cost monitoring, and allowing for faster identification of areas for improvement.

2011

Stretch Code

Worcester became the 28th municipality in Massachusetts to adopt the new energy-saving building “Stretch Code,” a pre-requisite to Green Community designation by the state. This affected both new construction and major renovations. During fiscal years 2012 – 2014, 137 buildings (mostly residential new construction) successfully met the new building code.

2011

Green2Growth Summit

The City co-hosted with National Grid a "Green Today – Grow Tomorrow" Worcester Energy Summit focused on Sustainability.

2011

Worcester Energy Program

The City launched the Worcester Energy program with the following goals:

  1. To lead by example and improve the energy efficiency of municipal operations;
  2. To communicate the City's efforts related to energy efficiency, conservation and sustainability; and
  3. To provide local relevant information in order to encourage residents, businesses and institutions to take action to reduce their energy use and carbon footprint.

As of 2015, through this program, the City administered the EECBG Grant (see above), Small Business Sustainability Pilot, and Residential Rebate Pilot.

2012

Small Business  Sustainability Pilot

The City completed 25 detailed small business energy assessments in cooperation with GDS Associates, Prism Energy, and National Grid and with assistance from Federal EECBG funds. Click here for the Final Report summarizing lessons learned and challenges faced by Worcester’s small businesses in implementing recommended sustainability assessment actions.

2012

Better Buildings Challenge Partner

Worcester became a U.S. Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge Partner by publically pledging to reduce municipal energy use 20% by 2020, and being nationally recognized for the City’s energy reduction successes.

2012

EPA's Green Power Partnership

Worcester joined the EPA's Green Power Partnership and was designated a Green Power Partner as a result of its commitment to purchase green electricity above 20% of its municipal electrical usage. In April 2015, EPA included Worcester in a Top 30 Local Government list, which is comprised of the largest green power users among local government partners within the Partnership.

2013

Organizational Capacity Growth

The City formed a new Energy and Asset Management Division that focuses on sound and responsible building and energy management practices and implementation of municipal sustainability initiatives.

Additionally, a new position of Sustainability Project Manager was created to manage the Worcester Energy program, develop and oversee implementation of the Climate Action and Sustainability Plan, administer Green Community grant/s, and work on related long-term planning activities.

2011-2014

First Municipal Solar Installations

The City installed solar arrays at four sites: Worcester North High School, Sullivan Middle School, Worcester Technical High School, and the City’s water filtration plant in Holden. These installations total approximately 598 kW-DC in capacity.

2013-2017

Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) Amendments

The project’s scope of work was increased to include eleven solar installation projects and retrofit (conversion to LED) of municipal street lights and the lights in four municipal parking garages raising the total investment to $75 million. As a result, the guaranteed savings to the City have increased to $1.7 million per year for 20 years.

2014

Residential Rebate Pilot

A Residential Rebate Pilot was launched in 2014 to encourage energy efficiency improvements by providing financial incentives to Worcester homeowners. The project funded 167 energy efficiency projects which included 207 dwelling units for 1-4 family homes. Energy performance scoring was another educational aspect of the Pilot.

2014

34% Green Municipal Electricity

As of 2014, approximately 34% of the City's municipal electricity use came from renewable energy. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) purchased by the City account for 23%, with an additional 11% certified by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (Class I and II) - the state-mandated green portion of electricity supplied to Massachusetts that year.

(Note: While the City committed to purchasing 25% green electricity, due to complexities associated with estimating electrical consumption, the actual amount of renewable credits amounted to 23% of the actual consumption.)

2014

Solar Net Metering Credit Agreement

The City executed a Solar Net Metering Credit Agreement with SH Solarne 2 LLC to purchase 5 megawatt-hours of electricity from a solar farm in Brimfield, MA for the next 20 years. This agreement is saving the City approximately $225k in electricity costs annually while supporting a local solar energy project!

2016

Energy Efficiency Work Completed and Accepted

City accepted all energy efficiency work in municipal buildings under Phase I of the ESPC Project, with calculated savings of $1.7M for 2016 exceeding guaranteed savings of $1.3M.

2017

Four Municipal Garages Completed LED Lighting Upgrades

City Hall Garage (455 Main Street)

Federal Plaza Garage (564 Main Street)

Thomas Street Garage (aka Major Taylor Municipal Garage) (93 Thomas Drive)

Union Station Garage (205 Franklin Street)

2017

Municipal Solar Farm (largest in the state!)

June - Municipal Solar Farm on the former Greenwood Street Landfill is mechanically complete. This is the largest landfill solar project (8.1 MW-DC) in the state to date. The solar farm is expected to produce an equivalent amount of electricity annually to power 1,370 homes!