Green Community

A number of the City's sustainability efforts, including legislative and policy initiatives, led to Worcester's designation as one of the first "Green Communities" in the State. Worcester was one of 35 Massachusetts municipalities to be designated a Green Community in 2010. (As of 2014, 136 municipalities (38%) in Massachusetts have been designated as Green Communities.)

This designation demonstrates Worcester’s commitment to its Climate Action Plan’s goals, and provided the City with access to grant funding enabling it to further develop green initiatives.

Worcester staff that worked on the city's Green Community designation

Designation Criteria

Worcester earned the Green Community designation by meeting five criteria relating to different aspects of reduction of energy use and promoting renewable energy:

  1. Renewable/Alternative Energy. Provide as-of-right* siting of renewable or alternative energy generating facilities, renewable or alternative energy research and development facilities, or renewable or alternative energy manufacturing facilities in designated locations. (*As-of-right means that the proposed land use does not require a discretionary permit from a Board in order to be located in a given zoning district. )
  2. Renewable/Alternative Energy Permitting. Establish an expedited application and permitting process under which these energy facilities may be sited within the municipality and which shall not exceed one year from the date of initial application to the date of final approval.
  3. Energy Use Reduction. Establish an energy use baseline inventory for municipal buildings, vehicles and street and traffic lighting, and put in place a comprehensive program designed to reduce this baseline by 20% within five years.
  4. Fuel-Efficient Municipal Vehicles. Purchase only fuel-efficient vehicles for municipal use whenever such vehicles are commercially available and practicable (with certain exemptions for police and public safety vehicles).
  5. Building 'Stretch' Code. Require all new residential construction over 3,000 square feet and all new commercial and industrial real estate construction to minimize, to the extent feasible, the life-cycle cost of the facility by utilizing energy efficiency, water conservation and other renewable or alternative energy technologies.
    To learn how the City met and/or is meeting  these criteria, click here.