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Looking Back on 2018 
And Forward to 2019
Upcoming Events:
  Zero Energy Home
Needham High School, Room 206
Thurs Apr 25, 7-8:30 PM & Sat. Apr 27th
10-11 AM
  Low-Maintenance Gardening
2 Thursdays:  Mar 28 & Apr 4th    7-9 PM
Needham High School, Room 409
Thurs. March 14
7-8 PM
Needham High School, Room 409
Intro to Sustainable Vegetable Gardening
4 Mondays: Feb 25-Mar 18 6:30-8 PM
Needham High School, Room 203
Advancesd Sustainable Vegetable Gardening
4 Thursdays: Feb 28-Mar 21 6:30-8 PM
Needham High School, Room 203


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About Green Needham The Green Needham Collaborative is a community-based group bringing together people and organizations to build a more sustainable community through collaborative efforts on energy and the environment. 




























Dear  ,
2018 Retrospective:
2018 was a busy year for Green Needham, with the Earth Day launch of its GO GREEN Needham Campaign to encourage local businesses, schools, organizations, houses of worship, and the Town government to take next steps toward sustainability.   Green Needham also continued its efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Needham homes and to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.

GO GREEN Needham Campaignparticipants committed to efforts to improve recycling, lower waste, and reduce energy use. Commitments ranged from small actions such as eliminating the use of straws, to larger actions such as major lighting retrofits or creating a Sustainable Practices Policy.

The November 10th GO GREEN Needham Expo, a sustainability fair co-sponsored by Green Needham and the League of Women Voters, was a highlight of the year and attracted over 400 visitors.

The 29 exhibitors represented a wide variety of fields, from electric cars to home composting to solar panel installation.  Other exhibitors included the Town of Needham, the Needham Community Farm, Needham Bikes, and several state environmental groups. With children's activities and lectures and exhibits for adults, everyone learned something about how to live more sustainably, and, we hope, were inspired to take personal action.

A "Plastic Bag Ban," an initiative to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags in Needham, was started by Needham High School students in 2016.  Our advocacy with the Select Board led to their taking up the issue in 2018, resulting in a "voluntary ban" covering Needham's large retailers. 

The voluntary program was fully implemented in Jan. 2019, with all eight stores now in compliance with the voluntary ban.  Needham is among the 80 Massachusetts cities and towns with various types of bans.   In addition to a significant reduction in single-use plastic bags being distributed, we hope the ban will raise consumer awareness about this issue, and encourage us all to bring re-useable bags with us  when shopping.  As part of this effort, and with the help of Green Needham's Plastic Bag Team, the Town purchased and distributed 10,000 re-usable bags.
More Energy Efficient Homes. Working with our Mass Save partner, HomeWorks Energy, Green Needham continued to encourage Needham residents to get a no-cost home energy assessment and subsidized follow-up work, helping them save money and energy.  Our success in 2018 was as follows:
  • 203 Needham residents completed no-cost home energy assessments
  • 65 Needham residents had insulation installed (residents pay only 25% of the total cost -- up to a maximum total project cost of $2,000)
  • 10 Needham residents had a new HVAC system
2019 Initiatives:
Let's become a Green Community! A top priority is to have Needham become a Massachusetts Green Community.  Benefits of becoming a Green Community include:
  • Receipt of an approximately $149,000 designation grant
  • Eligibility for annual $250,000 competitive grants
  • Annual energy savings that free up town resources to help fulfill other core missions
  • A more flexible, comprehensive approach to facilities and infrastructure management
  • Immediate savings to new home buyers in Needham through lower utility bills
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions
All of our neighboring towns, and 68% of the State's cities/towns, are already Green Communities.
Encouraging more residential solar. We are exploring the possibility of a second Solarize program.  Yes, Solarize Needham helped 160 Needham residents add solar arrays in 2014.  With 450 systems now installed, many more residents can look at a neighbor's house and  ask, "why shouldn't I do that?"  A second Solarize program  could make it easier for many additional Needham residents to install solar, adding more green energy to the grid. 

We may pair the Solarize program with a companion program promoting heat pumps, an efficient heating/cooling solution that uses electricity instead of gas or oil, and may be a good fit for some homeowners with solar.
Informing ourselves and others. One of our core missions is education about climate change, and how to live more sustainably.  We hope to organize programs - events, talks, or films - that  convey the extreme urgency of climate action and emphasize the opportunity offered by solutions available now.
Legislative advocacy.   Massachusetts' two-year legislative term began in January.  Check out our Legislative and Policy Advocacy page to keep informed about important energy bills.  Proposed legislation from both houses of the legislature and from the Governor seeks to accelerate Massachusetts' response to climate change and our  transition to a clean energy economy. 

We have a  strong  working relationship with  our representative, Denise Garlick, on energy and environmental issues.  Our returning Senator, Mike Rush, and our new Senator, Needham's Becca Rausch, are both supporters on these issues.  We will expand our direct engagement with all three of our Legislators. 

As a member of  Mass Power Forward, a coalition of 200 Massachusetts organizations committed to clean energy, we will continue to advocate collectively for important environmental bills that address climate change and lead to a just transition to renewable energy.

Can we do everything on our 2019 list?  With your help, we think we can.



Michael Greis
Green Needham Collaborative