Government Fleet Top News

The City of Somerville Is Looking A Shade Greener

August 29, 2007

SOMERVILLE, MA - The city's "greening" initiatives includes adding eco-friendly vehicles to its fleets and harnessing wind energy, according to http://somervillenews.typepad.com.

The Somerville Fire Department is the first to replace four of its vehicles with hybrids, but other departments and city workers could be driving similar types of vehicles in the future, said Mills.

The city plans to spend just under $89,000 for the new hybrids to be used by the Fire Prevention Department. Historically, Fire Prevention has inherited its vehicles from the police department.

City officials have been making inroads toward turning Somerville a more environmentally friendly city. The city bought 481,928 kilowatt hours of renewable energy from Sterling Planet. The new agreement means City Hall will run on wind-generated electricity and is expected to take care of providing electricity to City Hall for the next year. The reduction in harmful toxins released into the environment is expected to decrease about what it would if 66 less vehicles were on city roads, according to government officials.

In a prepared statement, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone referred to the recent deal as “a down payment on Somerville’s renewable energy future.”

Mills said efforts to go green really started with last year’s budget. He said all of the city operations looked at their energy use and cost. A strategic plan to move away from unnecessary energy use and harm to the environment was created. He said other communities have also been creating plans to improve their environmental impact.

Somerville schools are also onboard with the citywide plan. Solar panels will go into the high school, offsetting the use of standard power. And the swimming pool at the Kennedy School will soon be heated via solar panels as well.

Mills said it will take 20 to 25 years for the solar panels to start paying off, but the benefits go beyond just an anticipated payoff.

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