Greener Greater Boston: How Larger Institutions Practice Sustainability

Green Initiatives in Greater Boston, Sustainability Practices in Greater Boston Region

Solar Panels at Patriot Place 4/19/10 – Link to Original Photo

We write a lot about the small changes individuals can make to create a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves. For businesses, especially ones that require a lot of resources to maintain, “going green” is about bringing those sustainable practices to scale. Balancing the need for robust business with being a positive partner with the environment takes thoughtful planning, a committed team, and the right infrastructure. Here are examples of how local institutions are making “green” work for them.

The City of Boston

Sitting right at the water’s edge, with historical foundations for radical thinking and an uncertain climate future demanding innovation as soon as possible, the City of Boston has a particularly unique position when it comes to sustainability and climate change. Where the city has a responsibility to its constituents to prepare for rising sea levels as the climate changes, it also has the opportunity to provide leadership for other cities by trying new initiatives and disseminating the best-practice results.

The Greenovate Boston campaign is reflective of all of this, providing action plans, programs, grants and opportunities for individuals and businesses alike to make environmentally sustainable decisions now and into the future. The Climate Action Plan specifically outlines the city government’s sustainability practices, holding itself accountable for its own carbon footprint and environmental impact. Climate Ready Boston outlines the city’s anticipation of future environmental impact and proactive response that will protect citizens, businesses and infrastructure in sustainable, beautiful and helpful ways. Finally, the City invites residents to work on their individual use of resources, providing information on energy use, idling cars, heating help for renters, and more.

By engaging the present while proactively anticipating the future, all while inviting stakeholders at all levels to actively participate in changes big and small, the City of Boston is doing as it promised: providing leadership in the face of a significant problem and need.

The City of Cambridge

Not to be outdone, neighboring Cambridge has laid the foundation for their own sustainable future. Taking account of how the city government uses energy (for example, 60% of municipal energy use comes from their 60 buildings, another 8% from the street lights, park lights and traffic signals around the city), the government is striving to lead by example, making changes to government practices as it asks residents and businesses to do the same. The City created a “Green Fleet” Policy back in 2006, calibrating the size of municipal-use vehicles to their appointed tasks and replacing older models with new, fuel-efficient models. They have even invested time and money into better maintaining their urban forestry and public trees. Residents are invited to hold the government accountable by checking in on the Sustainability Dashboard and are also invited to learn more about ways they can get involved by checking out their Community Development Department page.

Sports Teams

Stadiums and arenas require a lot of resources to build, power and maintain. Thankfully, our local teams have been at the forefront in using green infrastructure to power their homefields. The Boston Red Sox became the first team in Major League Baseball to install solar panels in their ballpark back in 2008. Fenway Park continues their commitment to sustainable practices through composting food waste and recycling containers. A strong encouragement for using public transportation to get to and from the ballpark gives members Sox Nation opportunities to do their part by taking the T or even using a bike share service (they even offer free bike valet parking during home games!).

The Patriots utilize solar panels at Patriots Place, powering up their panel system in late 2009. The PV system provides approximately 30% of Patriot Place’s power. Solar-powered trash compactors are also used at Patriot’s Place. TD Garden utilizes a solar panel system to offset their energy use, as well.

 

You don’t have to be a big name, or even a big city, to make sustainable changes to your practice or lifestyle. All three of these examples came from thoughtful planning and a commitment to long-term solutions for the problems we all face. If you own a business in the area, or if you’re a resident here in New England, and you are looking for creative ways to do your part to make a sustainable world, keep reading our blog. We’ve got helpful solutions for you every month!

Looking for creative solutions for the energy needs of your home or business? Need a partner to help you with your long-term sustainable energy goals? Reach out to us today! We’ve got the resources and experts to help get you started.

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