Voters to consider energy efficient measures to earn Wareham grants

By Lydia Goerner | Feb 26, 2018
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Jim Barry gives a presentation on energy efficiency in Wareham on Monday night.

The Planning Board discussed painting the town “green” on Monday night, considering options to increase energy efficiency in Wareham and receive grants.

Jim Barry, the Western Massachusetts regional coordinator for the Green Communities Grant Program, gave a presentation on the program, resulting in board members voting to add an item to the Special Town Meeting agenda asking voters to approve a “stretch energy code.” The meeting will be held April 23 in Wareham High School.

The stretch energy code would require all new construction to be energy efficient. This only applies to new residential construction. Additions, renovations and repairs are exempt from this building code.

By becoming a "green community," Wareham will be eligible for grants to spend on energy efficiency. The minimum is $125,000 as a base grant, with the opportunity to receive more funds going forward. The grant money can be applied toward efficiency and renewable energy in municipal buildings such as schools, fire departments and town halls.

If the town adopts the code, all new houses would go through a home energy rating system. An energy subcontractor (costing $1,600 to $3,000) would help design and inspect the house to ensure energy efficiency. There is a MassSave rebate that covers much of that extra cost, Barry said.

"It's not rocket science, it's not difficult to do, but it's also not trivial," Barry said.

In one example Barry gave, conforming to the green guidelines added $2,600 to the cost of building a house.

The stretch code would also apply to new commercial buildings over 100,000 square feet in size, and 40B housing projects would not be exempt from the code.

There are already 210 communities in Massachusetts designated as green.

Voters will have the opportunity to vote to adopt the stretch energy code at the spring Town Meeting, set for April 23 in Wareham High School.

Comments (11)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 27, 2018 12:02

Excellent!  Becoming a Green Community is a no brainer!  Better late than never.  210 Massachusetts communities have already done it.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 27, 2018 12:36

"If the town adopts the code, all new houses would go through a home energy rating system. An energy subcontractor (costing $1,600 to $3,000) would help design and inspect the house to ensure energy efficiency."  Just big brother sticking its fat nose into places it don't belong.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 27, 2018 13:17

Sphere, agreed at a residential level.  Frankly, I wasn't aware that Green Communities got involved with houses.


The town's buildings is where it makes sense!  Free money!  Up to $250,000 per year!  Area towns use it to replace boilers, lighting, cooling. etc.


"The grant money can be applied toward efficiency and renewable energy in municipal buildings such as schools, fire departments and town halls."


Posted by: Phredzzz | Feb 27, 2018 13:59

How come there is NO mention of the Return on this so-called investment of $3,000 plus average home construction cost increase of $2600 for a Total out-of-pocket increase of $5,600 per home buyer? Also an expected Payback Period for the $5,600 per new residence would be nice-to-know information. If I was purchasing a new home, the Total Mortgage increase of $5,600 would be a substantial amount of money to get financed.  Just saying that 210 communities have followed the Herd-of-Sheep mentality does NOT make it the correct decision for Wareham. I have always been suspicious of anyone who pushes an agenda and follows it with an over-simplistic and shortsighted explanation about how a large group of individual's are doing something, so it MUST be a good idea for everyone else.  Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing !!!! I think a voluntary "GREEN" procedure where individual home buyers and builders retain their right-to-choose is much more American than a mandate from government which forces a citizen to make a decision which has absolutely nothing to do with their own personal Health, Safety, and Financial Welfare.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 27, 2018 17:29

I have no problem if people chose to be energy efficient, i think its great. I have a problem when the word CODE is used to mandate a service be used by the government. I will not be forced to buy something I don’t need by a government and certainly not at that ridiculous price.

Posted by: Uptohere | Feb 28, 2018 07:13

while I agree with the big brother sentiment I have to agree on this. My son live in a new green apartment complex and his bills are extremely low. His electric alone rarely excends $35 a month. And I can attest to the fact he isn't one to shut off lights. The same goes for his heat. While the expenses are up front in building they will recover in lower monthly bills.

Posted by: Phredzzz | Feb 28, 2018 08:50

UpToHere. If you agree, then why would you want the government to own your decision and take away your right to choose ??  Just saying; why do we need the government involved in forced compliance when it comes down to a decision about your own personal property ??

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Feb 28, 2018 09:49

Some of this conspiracy theory, big brother talk is not accurate.  Government involvement with building requirements is nothing new.  Massachusetts Building Code and all building codes have energy requirements that have always been set by the government.  It's been this way for decades.  Nothing new.


The specs for minimum insulation and glazing (R values and U values) must be met by all that pull a permit.  It used to be R-13 in the 2x4 walls.  Now it's R-19 in 2x6 walls.  R-38 in flat ceilings.  R-30 in sloped.  Specs like that have always been government mandated and something that we need to follow whenever  a permit is pulled for a new house, addition, renovation, etc.  Nothing new.  No big brother.


The old "its my house and I should be able to do anything I want" is just ignorance.    We only live a short time compared to a house.  Codes do protect us current occupants but really they're inplace to protect the future occupants.  Long after we are dead and our kids sell our estate, another family will occupy our home.  This can happen over and over because houses last a long time.  Our home's proper insulation, energy efficiency, structural soundness, safe electrical/gas, etc. is for the future...not us today.  So the "keep your laws off my body" mentality does not apply to houses.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Feb 28, 2018 10:31

It is something new or they wouldn't even be talking about it here. Having building standards is nothing new. Building to that standard or hiring a contractor that will build to that standard is something that we would all do. The difference here is being forced by your government to buy services you don't want or need and being forced to have someone you don't want or need to be making design choices on my private property. I pay for a building permit and house is inspected to assure its up to standards anything more is an intrusion on my private property rights and personal freedoms. It is also extortion much like Obamacare.

Posted by: Phredzzz | Feb 28, 2018 10:53

SPEREBREAKER is correct on this one. Its a new compliance that will add approximately "$5600" to any new home in Wareham. If we vote to approve this idea, then we are giving the local government another way to meddle in private affairs which do not have anything to do with Safe building practices. I say, we have enough building codes already and do not need to make this new "GREEN" idea into a mandatory compliance.

Posted by: rhbinma | Feb 28, 2018 18:35

building codes are fine but they should also be enforced to everyone. I have seen  inspectors walk up to projects without ever looking and sign permits so what good is the inspection. I have been in a restaurant eating and there was a inspector from Wareham  eating with some contractors some plumbers,some electricians and some builders. When one said he needed to call so and so inspector so he can keep going on his job. The inspector that was there eating with them told him to finish what he was doing he would tell the other inspector he checked it. Now the inspector that was there eating had nothing to do with that inspection . And what I mean is plumbing inspector telling the electrician to finish when it not his dept or  electrical inspector telling a plumber to finish his work.


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