Tuesday, April 25, 2017

City Council weighs Community Choice Energy

By Eric Smalley

The Boston City Council held a working session on April 25th to take testimony and discuss bringing Community Choice Aggregation to Boston. Community Choice Aggregation will allow city residents to band together to buy greener electricity.

Experts and community leaders joined Austin Blackmon, head of the city’s Energy, Environment and Open Spaces department in giving testimony. The lively session was led by councilor Matt O’Malley, chair of the Environment & Sustainability committee.

Here’s a recent blog post about Community Choice Energy, the name of the campaign Boston Climate Action Network and the Green Justice Coalition are leading to bring Community Choice Aggregation to Boston.

You can watch the video: Working Session: Implementation of a Community Choice Aggregation in the City of Boston

Here’s what you can do to help make Community Choice Energy happen:
  • Call District Councilor Tim McCarthy at (617) 635-3040 and Mayor Marty Walsh at (617) 635-4500 and tell them to bring Community Choice Energy to Boston.
  • Help with the campaign for Community Choice Energy. If you’d like to join us, send a note to info@greeningrozzie.org.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Pam won!

By Eric Smalley

GreeningRozzie board member Pam Sinotte won this year's Greenovate Award in the Trees, Open Space, and Landscaping category. Way to go, Pam! Pam won for her innovative thinking and hard work in putting together The Memory Tree Project.

The project helps increase the survival rate of street trees by encouraging people to care for a street tree in memory of a loved one. The project, in partnership with Boston Parks and Recreation, is being piloted in Roslindale.

To join The Memory Tree Project, check out the project webpage or stop by the GreeningRozzie table at the Roslindale Farmers Market. See the Events page to find out when we'll be there.

Check out all of the Greenovate Award winners.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Community Choice Energy: greening our electricity collectively

By Eric Smalley

We have a unique opportunity to lower Boston’s carbon footprint and there are steps you can take to make it happen. First, some explanation.

With a stroke of the mayor’s pen and at no added cost, Boston can increase the amount of renewably generated electricity that residents and businesses consume. At current energy prices, the boost in renewables through this Community Choice Energy initiative would be enough to jump us nearly 8% of the way toward the city’s 2020 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2005 levels.

Community Choice Energy takes advantage of a Massachusetts law that allows cities and towns to buy electricity for themselves rather than relying on the utility companies to do the purchasing. The law was passed as part of the state’s deregulation of the electricity market, which required the utility companies to get out of the business of producing electricity thus opening the way for competition among electricity generators.

When cities and towns buy electricity for their residents, the purchasing decisions can take into account the residents’ interests and values. Other cities, including Melrose and Dedham, have started buying electricity. They’ve increased their mix of renewables by almost half without increasing residents’ electric bills. Community Choice Energy will allow Boston to do the same.

State law requires utilities to purchase 12% renewable electricity. According to the city’s latest calculations, the Community Choice Energy initiative would increase that to 18% renewables without raising electricity rates.

Community Choice Energy will:
  • Increase the amount of renewable power available to everybody, including renters and others who can’t put solar panels on their roofs.
  • Build more renewable energy sources. Each additional percent of renewable energy consumption in Boston translates to about five new wind turbines.
  • Create jobs here in Massachusetts and New England, especially jobs building wind farms.
  • Help minimize extreme heat, extreme storms and sea level rise from climate change, all of which threaten Boston.
Here’s what you can do to make this happen!
  • Call District Councilor Tim McCarthy at (617) 635-3040 and Mayor Marty Walsh at (617) 635-4500 and tell them to bring Community Choice Energy to Boston.
  • Attend the city council working session scheduled for Tuesday, April 25 at 3:00 pm in the Iannella Chamber on the 5th floor of Boston City Hall. The city Council will take input and discuss Community Choice Energy.
  • Help with the Boston Climate Action Network/Green Justice Coalition campaign for Community Choice Energy. If you’d like to join us, send note to info@greeningrozzie.org.
In addition to boosting Boston’s renewable electricity consumption across-the-board by supporting Community Choice Energy, you can take action right now on your own. You can switch your home to 100% renewable electricity through the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance’s green electricity buying program.  (Note that Mass Energy is a Massachusetts nonprofit offering local renewable electricity, not one of the many for-profit companies that have been going door-to-door and calling people lately.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Tell the city to ban single-use plastic bags


By Eric Smalley

The Boston City Council has a Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance in the works. Let the city council and mayor know that you support the ban on single-use plastic bags. This online petition at Change.org features a video put together by a group of Dorchester Girl Scouts.

Also call District Councilor Tim McCarthy at (617) 635-3040 and Mayor Marty Walsh at (617) 635-4500 to let them know you strongly support the ban.

West Roxbury Saves Energy has a great collection of links about the ban, including a link to the proposed ordinance.

Vote online now for Healy Community Garden funding!

By Eric Smalley

The Healy Community Garden project is in the running for $25,000 in the Seeds of Change grant challenge. Vote now and every day until Wednesday, April 19. (You’re allowed to vote once per calendar day.) The 50 entries with the most votes will move on to the final judging phase. With your help, Healy Field could be one of the grand prize winners.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Buying program cuts electric car prices

By Eric Smalley

Now’s the time to buy an electric car. Check out the Drive Green buying program from the nonprofit Mass Energy Consumer’s Alliance. The program, which runs through February 28, 2017, includes discounts from area car dealers. The discounts, which vary by make and dealership, are on top of a federal $7,500 tax credit and state $2,500 rebate. The deals make buying an electric car less expensive than buying a comparable gas-powered car.

The program covers buying or leasing a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Ford C-MAX Energi or Ford Fusion Energi. There’s also a waiting list for the new Chevy Bolt, which is expected to be available in Massachusetts by the middle of February.

With the current mix of generating sources on the electric grid in Massachusetts, driving an electric vehicle accounts for about a third of the carbon emissions of a gas-powered car. If you combine an electric vehicle with Mass Energy’s green electricity buying program, you can drive a truly zero-emission vehicle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Join us for the final Maker Mob: Yard and Garden Design session

By Eric Smalley

Sign up now to participate in Session 3 of GreeningRozzie’s Yard and Garden Design Maker Mob. Laura Smeaton will lead us in transforming a barren, shaded side yard into a welcoming path to the backyard using woodchips and ferns.

Session 3 is this Sunday, October 30, from 10 am to 1 pm at Scott’s yard in Roslindale. RSVP for the address. If you have questions email us at info@greeningrozzie.org.

Below are some of the maps we made in Session 1. Read about the first session here: Reimagining Scott’s Yard.

(Catch me at the Maker Mob and I’ll give you a preview of Mass Energy’s soon-to-launch electric vehicle buying club that will dramatically lower the cost of buying an electric car.)