The Mayor Picks an Opportune Time to Unveil ‘green’ Initiative

By John Lynds

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Mayor Thomas Menino announces the detail of his administration's new 'Going Green' program last week at NOAH on Border Street.

Mayor Thomas Menino was in East Boston on St. Patrick’s Day Thursday to kickoff his new ‘Going Green’ initiative at the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing on Border Street.

Putting a new twist on the a day where everyone across Boston goes green with shamrock ties and green shirts Menino said Thursday going green is not good only for St. Patrick but good for the environment.

NOAH and two other sites have launch satellite offices leading grassroots marketing and outreach for the City’s “Renew Boston” energy efficiency initiative.

“Our climate-change work is about reducing our carbon footprint, yes, but it’s also about helping children who suffer from asthma [to] breathe better,” said Menino. “It’s about reducing energy costs for homeowners. It’s about creating new green jobs. We can’t let the technical elements of climate change overshadow the personal ones.”

Working with NOAH and other partners Menino said Renew Boston is expected to reach nearly 3,000 Boston households with no-cost energy efficiency services.

NOAH’s  Director of Community Building and Environment Kim Foltz said what makes this program truly unique is that Renew Boston is taking a community-based approach.

“Organizations like NOAH, Nuestra Comunidad, and the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation have long and deep relationships of trust in the neighborhoods where we work,” said Foltz. “And we know how to reach people who would otherwise be left out.”

By providing free insulation and other cost-saving measures, Renew Boston is helping income-eligible residents cut home heating and cooling costs by as much as 30 percent, while working toward Menino’s aggressive climate change goals for Boston. Boston’s older building stock accounts for nearly 70 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, the leading contributor to global warming. Renew Boston will help lower citywide emissions,  while saving Boston residents over $3.4 million in annual energy costs, and creating 58 local green jobs.

Foltz described the Renew Boston program as “just good sense”.

“All the air inside an average house in Boston is replaced by cold, outdoor air once every hour,” she said. “If a house isn’t well-sealed and insulated, residents pay to heat up that cold air only to send it out the cracks between the walls, and surrounding ducts and wires. “That’s a lot of money out the window, and a lot of wasted energy.”

NOAH holds weekly energy efficiency information sessions in Eastie on Tuesday’s at 6:30 p.m. and will also be working in the neighborhoods of Charlestown, the North End, Allston-Brighton, and the Fenway.

The two other satellite offices, Nuestra Comunidad’s Partnership for Greening Blue Hill Avenue will work with neighborhoods in the central/west zone of the City and Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation will cover outreach in the southeast zone zone.

“Together, the three community-based organizations leading Renew Boston marketing and outreach are ensuring weatherization reaches residents in every neighborhood city,” said Foltz.

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