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October 2022

Westford Climate Action's mission is to drive climate action. We promote sustainability and advocate on a local level for actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and safeguard the health of our community for future generations.
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Westford's October 17th Special Town Meeting:
Your Vote Can Shape the Future
Westford Climate Action encourages voters to attend Special Town Meeting on Monday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in the Westford Academy gym, 30 Patten Road. 
Voters at the Meeting will be voting on several articles that reflect the town’s commitment to promote clean energy and reduce fossil fuel use. Your presence and support can make these sustainable plans a reality.

Proposals to fund two town buildings include fossil-free plans. Warrant Article 5 would replace the old Center fire station with a new community building at 51 Main Street.

Article 6 would expand and renovate the J.V. Fletcher Library. In addition, Article 4  authorizes the purchase of hybrid and full-electric vehicles.

For details on Special Town Meeting and the warrant, click here.

Construction funding for the two buildings will be voted on both at this Town Meeting AND on Westford’s local ballot on Tuesday, November 8. Come and learn more about both at Town Meeting.

Westford Climate Action urges voters to vote yes on Articles 4, 5, and 6 at Special Town Meeting on October 17 and vote yes on both questions on the local ballot on November 8.

Haven't yet registered to vote? It's too late to register for the Special Town Meeting, but the deadline to register for the November 8th election is 5 p.m. on Saturday, October 29. Register online here or at the Town Clerk's office.
Proposed 51 Main Street Building
Proposed J.V. Fletcher Library Expansion
Sounds across Seas Benefit Concert for Westford Climate Action
On September 2, a concert, “Sounds across Seas” was held at the Parish Center for the Arts to a full house for the benefit of Westford Climate Action.

Pianists Malvika Bhardwaj (on right) and Estelle Cui (on left) flawlessly performed favorites from composers like Chopin and Mozart familiar to many as well composers from Argentina, Brazil and South Korea which were new to many ears. The final piece of the evening, the lovely “Emma’s Lullaby,” was written and performed by Leslie Hitelman, the girls’ music teacher. The performers received a well-deserved standing ovation.

Ms Bhardwaj and Ms Cui are both students at Westford Academy and members of the Environmental Club there. Westford Climate Action deeply appreciates their reaching out to us to offer a memorable evening of music.
True Net-Zero Opt-In Specialized Stretch Building Code Needs Support
On September 23, the MA Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released language for the proposed updated Stretch Energy Code and the brand-new Opt-in Specialized Municipal Building Code*. It has been sent to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (the TUE) for review which has 30 days to call for a public hearing on the proposed regulations. 

MA Climate Action Network (MCAN) is deeply disappointed that fossil fuel pathways remain for residential and commercial buildings in the specialized stretch code. By including this pathway, DOER has fallen short of its mandate to establish a true net-zero stretch code. A true net-zero code is one that requires new construction and major renovations to be energy efficient, all-electric, and have renewable energy available on or off-site, with no fossil fuel pathway.”

Consequently, MCAN is asking people to call, write, or email to our Massachusetts legislators Sen. Edward Kennedy ( and Rep. James Arciero ( and urge them to ask Sen. Barrett and Rep. Roy, Joint Chairs of the TUE Committee, to take action to ensure that the opt-in specialized stretch energy code is truly net-zero and supports climate-resilient buildings for all communities. This is a sample template you can use.

"I urge you to ask Sen. Barett and Rep. Roy to take action to ensure that the opt-in specialized stretch energy code is truly net-zero and supports climate-resilient buildings for all communities. An opt-in specialized net-zero stretch code will help Westford reach its goal of net-zero by 2050." Be sure to include your home address.

*The Massachusetts State Building Code consists of a series of international model codes and any state-specific amendments adopted by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS). The BBRS regularly updates the state building codes as new information and technology becomes available and change is warranted. In 2009, Massachusetts became the first state to adopt an above-code appendix to the "base" building energy code-the "Stretch Code". The Stretch Code, which emphasizes energy performance, as opposed to prescriptive requirements, is designed to result in cost-effective construction that is more energy efficient than that built to the "base" energy code. (definitions are from website)
Electrify Your Lawn Mower
When it comes to maintaining your lawn, less is better. Less fertilizer, less irrigation and less mowing. Longer grass is more resilient during a dry, hot summer. But if you have to mow, you should replace your old gas-powered lawn mower with a new battery-powered electric one.

According to the EPA, gas lawn equipment generates most of the non-road emissions nationwide. Using a gas-powered mower for one hour produces the same amount of emissions as driving 11 new cars for one hour. 
A battery-powered electric lawn mower is the answer. Electric mowers are much quieter, lighter and easier to handle compared to a gas mower. With a push button start, new electric mowers can mow up to half an acre on a single charge with no unhealthy exhaust to breath while you're mowing.

Electric mowers are easier to maintain with no oil, spark plugs, or air or gas filters to replace or expensive gas to buy. Your local lawn and garden store has many models to choose from along with other new electric lawn equipment. This year, MassSave has rebates for electric lawn mowers of up to $75. MassSave also has rebates available for electric string trimmers, chain saws, and leaf blowers.

When it's time to dispose of your old gas-powered mower, bring it to the bi-annual Westford Electronics Recycling event (after draining out the oil and gas). This and other options can be found in the Recycling Commission's How to Recycle Most Anything Guide under "Yard Equipment"

Be the first on your block to join the revolution - go electric with a new battery-powered electric mower and save money while helping the environment.

Editor and proofreader's notes: I purchased a second battery online for my electric mower so I could do a fairly large lawn without having to wait to recharge the battery. The charger included with my mower can fully charge a battery in about 20 minutes. If your lawn isn't too large or too hilly, consider buying a classic reel mower. Greener than an electric mower and you'll get a better workout too!
Westford Schools Receive Grant for Electric Mail Van
Westford Public Schools was the recipient of $56,000 from the State for an E350 Electric Transit Mail Van with the help of State Representative Jim Arciero. Dr. Christopher Chew, Superintendent of Schools, gratefully accepted the check, saying “As we continue into the 21st century, it’s vital we start implementing solutions to create a more sustainable, environmentally friendly district and Commonwealth.” The new vehicle comes with significant savings – cutting down on the current $600 per month budget in fuel for the existing Cargo Van. The town's Director of Facilities, Jeff Goodwin, said, “I think the biggest benefit for replacing our 2014 Cargo Van with the E350 Cargo Van is that it reinforces the Town of Westford’s commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and electrify as much of our fleet as possible.” Pictured left to right - Assistant Town Manager Eric Heideman; School Superintendent Dr. Christopher Chew; Sustainability Coordinator Susan Thomas; State Representative James Arciero; Westford Climate Action Co-Chair Carol Morse; Facilities Director Jeff Goodwin.

The Westford Police Department began the town’s transition to hybrid and electric vehicles in July of this year by purchasing two hybrid vehicles for $57,895 with ARPA funds.
Westford POP Protects Residents from Rate Hike

The rate hike recently announced by National Grid will not affect Westford residents and businesses enrolled in Westford Power Options Program (Westford POP). Westford, which is under contract with electricity supplier Constellation, offers electricity program rates that are fixed and will not change through December 2023. The vast majority of Westford households participate in the Westford POP program.

The standard Westford supply rate is $0.10793 cents/kWh. That’s less than a third of the $0.33891/kWh default Residential Basic Service Fixed supply rate that National Grid announced will go into effect on November 1.

You can confirm you’re enrolled in Westford Power Options Program by looking at the Supply Services Section of a recent National Grid electric bill. If it says “Supplier: Constellation – Westford,” then that account is enrolled. If it says something else such as Basic Service Fixed or names a supplier other than Constellation, then that account is not enrolled.

Westford’s standard product, POP Green, has 10% extra renewable energy included, above and beyond the state requirement. The optional products – Pop Silver 50% and POP Gold 100% -- provide additional renewable energy that let residents take an even bigger step in the fight against climate change.

We strongly urge those who can to upgrade to POP Gold 100% -$0.13695/kWh, well less than half of the National Grid rate - and help save our environment! Opting up to POP Gold 100% is a powerful way to take action to combat climate change. Learn more about Westford POP and how to opt up here.
Copyright © 2022 Westford Climate Action, All rights reserved.

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