My Turn: Energy strategies to be added to Concord’s master plan
The Concord Energy and Environment Committee in collaboration with the Concord Planning Department has drafted an energy chapter to be added to the city master plan. A hearing on the draft chapter will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers.
The purpose of the chapter is to provide background information on Concord’s energy use and make specific recommendations about how the city should prepare for energy-related challenges now and in future years. As a result of significant reliance on fossil fuels – particularly foreign oil – and mounting concerns about climate change, the recommendations provide strategies to decrease the use of non-renewable energy sources on the local level. The recommendations build on the successful energy efficiency initiatives that the city has pursued in recent years, including thorough audits of municipal buildings, placing thermal solar installations at fire stations and the wastewater treatment plant, and idling reduction technologies for the vehicle fleet.
The draft chapter includes data and discussion about energy use in Concord, municipal energy conservation efforts, land use, transportation, land conservation, site and building design, renewable energy sources, waste management and sustainable food systems. The objectives and actions in the draft chapter follow these same broad headings, providing a template for future policy development. Several of the recommendations would require city council action, such as including the establishment of a property tax exemption program for small-scale renewable energy systems, or requiring future large-scale developments to meet specific energy efficiency standards.
The Concord Energy and Environment Committee invites all interested Concord residents to attend the planning board hearing on Wednesday. Your input is needed to ensure that the recommendations in the chapter encompass the best efforts of the city and its residents to build a sustainable community in the years ahead.
(City Councilor Rob Werner chairs the Concord Energy and Environment Committee.)