Climate Action Corner

Save Energy, Save Money, and Lower Your Carbon Footprint

Penni McLean-Conner

Massachusetts continues to lead the nation with robust energy efficiency offerings that provide residential and small business consumers the opportunity to save energy, save money, and lower their carbon footprint.  And these programs just got better with enhanced rebates for consumers investing in heat pumps for heating and cooling.  If you have been thinking about how you can take action to reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint, consider doubling down with the winning combination of weatherization and upgrading to a new heat pump.

The first step on this two-part plan is to schedule a no-cost energy assessment.  An Energy Specialist will assess your current usage and work with you to develop a plan to make your home or business more energy efficient.  Additionally, the Energy Specialist will evaluate your heating and cooling systems and develop custom recommendations on whether a heat pump makes sense for your home or business.  Heat pumps efficiently heat in the winter and double as a cooling system in the summer--while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.  This clean technology is environmentally friendly, affordable to operate, and can last longer than other heating and cooling systems.

The best part is that by acting now, you may be able to receive an additional bonus by completing eligible weatherization work prior to installing a heat pump.  Please visit the Save Money & Energy section of eversource.com for information on heat pumps and scheduling your energy assessment.

Medfielders Must Accelerate

Fred Davis, Chair of Medfield Energy Committee

Medfield needs to keep reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.  How quickly? Faster.

Reductions in the past have been too slow.  That's not a complaint; its recent history.  Between 1990 and 2017, statewide emissions dropped, on average, 0.83% per year.  At that less-than-1%- reduction-per-year rate, net- zero emissions would not be reached until well beyond the year 2090.  So that pace was too slow, by forty years.

Last March, Governor Baker signed the landmark "Roadmap" legislation, which set declining limits for greenhouse gas emissions for the years 2030, 2040, ratcheting down to a net-zero level by 2050.

A much quicker rate is required now.  Annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions need to be averaging 2.11% to reach the state limit for 2030.  That's a pace two-and-a-half times faster than what actually occurred in the period before 2017.

Experts are more than concerned that the actual rate of reduction happening today is nowhere near the required rate.

The large reductions needed now must come from households switching to: driving electric, heating with heat pumps, and installing solar.  Hundreds of Medfielders have  already been making these crucial changes, and more and more Medfielders are doing so all the time.  That's what's needed to accelerate.

 Learn about how to make the switch in your household at SustainableMedfield.org.

House feeling drafty? Get a MassSave assessment.

Jim Nail, Medfield Energy Committee

With the serious cold weather we had in January and the blustery winds that accompanied the January 29 blizzard, have you been feeling cold drafts? That could mean your house needs more insulation and air sealing. MassSave will pay 75% of the cost of insulation and 100% of the cost of air sealing and these actions will not only make your home more toasty but could decrease your heating bill by up to 20%. And did you know that each month you pay a small charge on your electric bill to fund these incentives? Since you pay into MassSave, why not get some of that money back! Read more about insulation here:

https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/residential-rebates/home-insulation  then call MassSave to set up an assessment at 866-527-SAVE (7283).

Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan (TOMCAP) Presents!

Tricia Pembroke, Medfield Energy Committee

The Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan (TOMCAP) in collaboration with the Medfield Energy Committee made its first presentation Monday, January 31st via zoom. Thank you to all who attended. If you missed it, here is a summary: 

The climate crisis is indeed an emergency, but rather than being scared, we have an opportunity to plan for and take action toward a brighter future. Everyone can choose a piece that they are comfortable with and together we can make meaningful change in the trajectory of global warming. The goal of TOMCAP is to plan for reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The focus is to provide education and guidance to residents on how to take action.

The two biggest areas of greenhouse gas emissions in Medfield are passenger vehicles (42%) and residential homes (39%). Therefore, town residents will be strongly encouraged to consider Electric Vehicles when it's time to purchase a new car or to consider Heat Pumps (which are electric) for homes when replacing oil or gas furnaces. TOMCAP is collaborating with Sustainable Medfield (sustainablemedfield.org) to provide information on actions, and available grants, incentives and rebates to assist residents and provide a platform for the sharing of ideas.

TOMCAP will publish a written draft of the plan followed by a public comment period this month. A report will be published by March 2022. If you wish to stay informed you are invited to make a profile on https://sustainablemedfield.org/ and to give your email to TOMCAP@medfield.net. All residents are encouraged to reach out with their questions, concerns and ideas.

These are the (Design) Days

Fred Davis, Chair of Medfield Energy Committee

Outdoor temperatures lately have been hovering around 'design-day' temperatures, the coldest conditions for which our heating systems were engineered.* It is why appropriately-sized heating systems are running so often lately.

Unfortunately, peak heating season also means that these are the days our carbon footprint is at its maximum.

During days of bitter weather, there is usually little to do to substantially decrease our heating load, because it's the time when water pipes are in most danger of freezing. But it's certainly a good time to plan ahead for major changes.

As existing heating systems need work or replacement, more and more Medfielders are installing systems that don't burn fossil fuels (oil, gas, propane). High-efficiency electric heatpumps have a much lower carbon footprint, and set the stage for full decarbonization as our electricity is increasingly generated with renewables like wind and solar.

A team formed by Medfield Energy Committee has been hard at work drafting the Town of Medfield Climate Action Plan, and will hold a public forum on Jan. 31.
Medfield is entering a new era of environmental awareness, and soon we will be looking back to realize that these were the days when our collective and individual responsibilities to decrease our carbon footprint came into focus.

Watch this space.