National Grid has announced its winter heating season rates for electric customers in Massachusetts, effective November 1, 2023. Read on...
Green Committee members with Larry Chretien from left to right Pat Konecky, Sharon Waskow, Marj Wexler, Juliette Haas, Larry Chretien, and Emily Eyre
HOME ENERGY & ELECTRIC VEHICLE INCENTIVES SPEAKER EVENT FOLLOWUP
Thank you to all who participated in Bringing Climate Action Home: Your Road to Energy Savings. We had a great in-person turnout for our event with our special guest Larry Chretien of the Green Energy Consumer's Alliance on July 19th. Still, we realize those who attended via Zoom could not hear part of the presentation. Fear not! The slides from the presentation are available to download HERE, and future climate action events are in the planning stages. Stay tuned, stay involved, stay engaged, and keep fighting the good fight for a healthier planet!
Below, you can access the handout and links to additional resources mentioned during the presentations.
- Rewiring America IRA Calculator: Answer the Question of How Much Money Can You Get with the Inflation Reduction Act
- Federal Energy Efficiency Tax Credits: Advice from the IRS
- Green Energy Consumers' Heat Pump Program (Abode Energy Management): Free Program to Access Vetted Heat Pump Installers, Compare Heat Pump Quotes, and Independent Advice
- Compare Solar Quotes with EnergySage
- Electric Vehicle Tax Credit Qualification (from US Dept. of Energy)
Agendas & Minutes
Zoom Links to Video Recordings of Meetings
Click here to access Zoom recordings of meetings. To find a specific Green Committee meeting, scroll through the chronological list of all Zoom-recorded meetings. Note the passcode which you will have to type in.
- Richard Allen
- Emily Eyre, Chairwoman
- Robin Goldberg
- Bonnie Greenwood
- Juliette Haas
- Pat Konecky
- Sharon Waskow
- Marj Wexler
Green Community Designation
The Town of Egremont, a community of 1,473 residents in Western Massachusetts, designated a Green Community by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is a community that actively supports clean, renewable energy; energy reduction and conservation; solid waste reduction; and good recycling practices. Egremont adopts, honors, and upholds the principles and goals enshrined in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Egremont will continue to meet current energy-reduction goals and work to create a 21st-century clean energy economy. Egremont will continue to lead. Egremont will continue investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Egremont will continue efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean, healthy environment, and stand for environmental justice. Egremont will work to build and strengthen relationships across the Commonwealth and the nation to protect the planet from harmful climate change.
Green Committee Member Bonnie Greenwood on Composting 101
Greenwood, a retired Environmental Health Specialist, answers why compost, how to compost, and how to build a compost pile in her Composting 101. Here are a few takeaways, and below is a link to download Composting 101 (PDF) for much more.
- Food waste in landfills generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Composting creates a soil amendment that reduces the need for water and chemical fertilizers in gardens.
- Composting involves mixing organic materials (such as kitchen scraps, leaves, and grass clippings) with water and air to promote decomposition.
- Composting requires a balance of carbon (browns) and nitrogen (greens) materials.
- Meats, fish, poultry, bones, dairy products, oils, grease, weeds with seeds, pet waste, ashes, and treated wood products should not be composted.
- Building a compost pile involves layering browns and greens, adding water, and turning the pile every few days.
- Compost piles can be located in shady or sunny areas and directly on the ground or raised for easy turning.
- The Town of Egremont offers subsidized backyard composting bins for residents - see below.
Purchase a Compost Bin for Backyard Composting
The Town of Egremont offers an incentive to get even more of our residents interested in composting. The Town offers to purchase Earth Machine® backyard composting bins at the reduced price of $25 each (the regular retail price is $110).
The 80-gallon Earth Machine® is a durable backyard compost bin made from recycled plastic and designed to compost food and yard waste. When we compost kitchen waste like coffee grounds, eggshells, and fruit and vegetable peels, we can divert as much as 40% of our trash from the waste stream. Composting is super easy, and the finished product is a great, nutrient-rich additive for your garden.
If you take your kitchen scraps to the Transfer Station and dump the material in our community compost bins, please continue to do so. If you would like to purchase a compost bin from the Town for backyard composting at the reduced price of $25, please email the Green Committee.
Be Informed & Save Money: Learn About Federal and Massachusetts Clean Energy Incentives
The federal incentives for clean energy (particularly for electrification) through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), coupled with incentives available in Massachusetts, make going green more affordable than ever. Download this bullet list (PDF) to know what you can save for your home and if you purchase an electric car.
Source: Green Energy Consumer Alliance, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit working to harness consumer power to speed the transition to a low-carbon future.
National Grid Basic Service Rate Change
Effective May 1, 2023, National Grid will lower the cost of their Basic Service (supply) rate for electricity from 33.89 cents/kWh to 14.12 cents/kWh. National Grid changes this rate twice a year in the spring and fall. This 39% supply rate reduction will be welcome news to those in our community who are receiving the supply portion of their electricity from National Grid.
Since 2018, the Town has offered residents electricity through community aggregation. This group purchase structure allows the Town to provide electricity at competitive rates while at the same time purchasing electricity that comes at least partially from renewable "green" sources.
For example, last fall National Grid's rate was 33.89 cents/kWh, and the Town's rate was 10.908 cents/kWh. Looking towards spring, the Town's rate of 10.908 cents/kWh will still be lower than National Grid's 14.12 cents/kWh rate.
The Town's current rate is locked in until January 2025. Right before the term expires, the Town will review market rates and strive to purchase affordable electricity with rates with a renewable "green" component. As a result, the aggregation rate may not always be lower than the Basic Service rate. Our track record since 2018 has delivered on our goal of providing savings to our residents over the program's life.
If you want to sign up for the Town's program, read more below about the Community Choice Supply Program with Dynegy Energy (our current supplier).
Community Choice Power Supply Program
Egremont Municipal Power Aggregation
Dynegy Energy Services, the Town's current designated supplier of its Community Choice Power Supply Program projects electricity savings for enrolled residents once the new National Grid rates go into effect on November 1, 2022. Dynegy Energy uses an average of 600 kWh/month for residents. Enrolled residents will save $0.22983 per kWh per month, which, based on the average usage of 600 kWh/month, is a savings of $137/month for November 2022 through April 2023. This kWh rate is locked in until December 31, 2024. Savings affect supply, not distribution which remains a National Grid charge. Your National Grid bill will display Dynegy Energy under the electricity supplier to confirm your enrollment. If you are not enrolled but choose to enroll, contact Colonial Power online or by phone at 866-485-5858 or visit their website.
Background on Dynegy Energy and Community Choice Power Supply Program
Dynegy Energy is the Town's current designated supplier for its Community Choice Power Supply Program (Program). It is also a "greener" (more renewable content than required by Massachusetts) product than the standard "brown" basic service electricity provided by National Grid.
This Program is a municipal aggregation that enables local government to combine the purchasing power of its residents and businesses to provide them with an alternative to National Grid Basic Service (M.G.L. c. 164, Â§ 134). The Program covers all Egremont residents unless a resident chooses to opt-out. This Program only affects the supply portion of your monthly bill. It will not affect the delivery portion of your monthly bill. National Grid will continue to deliver your electricity, but Egremont has chosen the supplier for the Program. Dynegy will provide an electric power supply for all consumers on Basic Service in Egremont.
Per state law, this will inform you of your rights and options if you choose not to participate in the Program. You will not notice any change in your electricity service. The only difference you will see is that Dynegy will be printed under the "Supply Services" section of your monthly bill. You will continue to receive one invoice from National Grid and send your payments to National Grid for processing. National Grid will continue to respond to emergencies, read meters and maintain the distribution and transmission lines. Reliability and quality of service will remain the same. Furthermore, you will continue to have all existing consumer rights and protections.
Transfer Station and Recycle Center Programs
Mattress and Textile Recycling
Effective November 1, 2022, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) added textiles, mattresses, and box springs to its ban on disposing of these items in landfills, meaning they must be recycled. The ban's goal is to reduce the amount of waste deposited in the constantly shrinking landfills. According to the MassDEP, 95% of the textiles recovered can be recycled. The Town of Egremont has met this new ban by adding two collection programs to the Town's many other recycling programs. Find out what you need to know about the mattress recycling program on the Transfer Station and Recycling Center page; read below about the textile recycling program.
Don't trash clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, bedding, towels, or small area rugs. If you need to dispose of these items, you can either bag them and take them to the Goodwill store in Great Barrington (where the attendant will give you a tax slip for your donation) or deposit your textiles into one of the two blue kiosks at the Transfer Station. The items in the kiosks are donated to Big Brother/Big Sister for reuse or sent to a textile recycler, where the fibers are turned into new items like cleaning cloths or car rugs. The town even receives a small payment for this collection program.
Yard Waste Collection
To further reduce trash production and to help turn organic material into nutrient-rich compost, the Egremont Transfer Station accepts loads of grass clippings and leaves from our residents.
Deposit your grass clippings in the first section of the community compost bin. Deposit your leaves in the designated leaf drop area (noted with a sign) on the hill on the way up to the Transfer Station.
Commercial loads of grass clippings, leaves, or brush are not accepted.
Best Practices for the Transfer Station
You may have noticed that our Transfer Station has become a bustling hub lately. Our attendant has reported some issues that we want to see if we can get corrected.
- You must have a transfer station decal. You can obtain one by contacting Town Hall at 413-528-0182, ext 17.
- Drive slowly and carefully - going up and down the driveway and when arriving, parking, and leaving. We want every to feel and be safe at our center.
- If you are bringing compost, please put it in the space between the concrete barriers. Avoid tossing in front of the barriers. Also, it's compost - no plastic - food waste only.
- You must bag your trash. You cannot dispose of loose waste in the Compactor.
- You must adhere to Egremont's recycling program. You must sort your trash following the program's guidelines. Signs posted at the Transfer Station will remind you. You can obtain details of the recycling program by calling Town Hall, 413-528-0182. The Town incurs fines for failure to recycle correctly.
- If you plan to browse the Swap Shop, please keep your vehicle in front of the compactor and recycling bins. Be respectful to others needing to park and move your car out of the way.
- There is a fee for some items to be dumped. Please check with the attendant before leaving anything in the C and D and the Metals bins.
- And last, but most importantly, be kind to our attendants. They are only doing their jobs. They did not make the rules but are charged with their enforcement.
If in doubt as to whether something has to be separated, bagged, is not accepted, or to confirm if there is a fee for dumping the item, contact Town Hall.
Yes to Recycling
Please recycle the following items:
- Paper envelopes with windows, magazines, newspapers, inserts, junk mail, post-it notes, business cards, catalogs, white and colored paper, shredded paper (in a paper bag), corrugated cardboard, paperboard (for example, cereal boxes), clean pizza boxes (no grease or food), paperback books and phone books, construction paper, gift wrap, gift bags, cards and gift tissue paper (no metallic inks, foil, wire, glitter).
- Aluminum cans, foil, pie pans.
- Steel (tin) cans, empty, aerosol cans (laundry, food, beauty), beverage, and pet food cans.
- Cartons: milk, juice, soup, soymilk, and drink boxes.
- Glass food and beverage bottles and jars.
- Plastic (2.5 gallons or less, caps and lids ok) food containers - margarine, yogurt, cooking oil, condiments, peanut butter; beverage bottles and jugs - soda, water, juice, milk; detergent bottles; clear clamshells; personal care bottles such as shampoo, soap, conditioner.
No to Recycling
Please do not include these items in your recycling mix:
- Plastic bags
- Plastic trays
- Plastic cups
- Anti-freeze and motor oil bottles
- Black plastic
- Plastics over 2.5 gallons
- Paper frozen food packaging
If you have any questions about recycling, please visit the Springfield, MA. Materials Recycling Center's website.
Plastic Film Recycling Information
Please bring your plastic film to the bins in the bottles and cans redemption rooms at the Big Y and Price Chopper supermarkets. Examples are plastic shopping bags, bread bags, vegetable produce bags (but NOT compostable produce bags), dry cleaning bags, and plastic wrapping from paper towel, toilet paper, beverage packs, etc. Rule of thumb: If it stretches like plastic, it goes in the plastic film collection bin, but if it tears like paper (ex., chip bags), it doesn't.
Recycle Smart: What You Put in Your Bin Matters
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection offers a groundbreaking, statewide recycling education initiative to reduce contamination in recycling by asking residents to "do their part and recycle smart." Visit their website for a quick answer to can I recycle this, browse the F.A.Q., take a quiz to test your recycling knowledge, watch a video on why some everyday objects are not recyclable, read featured stories and sign up for the site's newsletter.
Pill Bottle Collection at Egremont Town Hall
Did you know that you cannot recycle most prescription pill bottles in our area?
Instead of throwing them away, please bring them to the Egremont Town Hall. The collection bin is under the Little Free Library box at the right of the entrance.
Prescription and over-the-counter pill bottles are acceptable. They can be any size. Caps can be child-resistant or not, but they must be all plastic.
Please follow these important instructions to make this collection program work:
- Remove labels, leaving no glue or residue (if the adhesive is strong, try soaking in warm water or rubbing with oil or a product specifically intended to remove adhesive). To protect your privacy, please be sure your name does not appear on the bottles.
- Wash bottles and lids in boiling water and dish soap.
- Rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Replace the lids on the bottles.
The Green Committee delivers the bottles to Eddie O'Toole of Berkshire Amistad and his team, who take them to impoverished communities in Honduras. Many people in these areas receive medications in paper envelopes, which can be ruined by moisture or crushing.
If you wish to start a pill-bottle collection somewhere other than Egremont, the bottles can be sent to Matthew 25: Ministries. This organization sends pill bottles with medical supplies to needy communities worldwide.
How to Receive Local Information from Your Neighbors
Created by residents and primarily for residents, the Google listservs, NeightborsNet, and Egremont Discussion can provide the following:
- Practical neighbor-to-neighbor assistance.
- Sharing local events.
- In-depth exchanges on topics affecting Egremont.
The listservs are not controlled, maintained, or regulated by the Town of Egremont. The Town is not responsible for the content.