Boston’s Growing Green Scene
You’ve likely heard the buzz about Boston’s green scene: Fifth leading city for environmental sustainability. One of the top ten cities for green jobs. First city to establish green buildingstandards…Boston’s eco-cred is legit to say the least. But while most of us have seen the headlines and are aware of the awards, do we really know what’s behind the buzz?
Few Bostonians are familiar with the eco-friendly initiatives earning our city national recognition. Despite the scale and significance of Boston’s innovative environmental programs, many residents remain ignorant of the policies transforming our city from Dudley Square to Fort Point. It’s time for a little environmental education.
We’ve broken down Boston’s green scene into four key sectors. These are the core components driving eco-friendly innovations here in the Hub and making our city a beacon of environmental responsibility. If you want to tune into the sustainable movement here in Boston, this snapshot of the local green scene is a great place to start!
Image: Higher Ground Farms via Inhabitat
Revamping our transportation system to be leaner and greener has been a top priority for the City of Boston. From fueling public vehicles with a cleaner blend of biodiesel to a partnership with Hubway, the local government has made numerous steps to greenify public transportation.
The most notable example is the city’s comprehensive transportation initiative, Boston Complete Streets. The programs aims to improve the quality of life of all Bostonians by making streets multimodal, green, and smart. This translates to wider sidewalks and bike lanes; green design including trees, rain gardens, and bio-swales; and smart meters, electric vehicle sharing, and more to improve efficiency and convenience.
The most innovative element of Complete Streets might be EVboston, a pilot program wherein the City of Boston installed 22 free dual electric vehicle charging stations and will study their impact.
Technology is the cornerstone of Boston’s green movement. Our city was able to tap into the thriving local tech scene and apply innovative solutions to the issue of sustainability. In addition to high-tech transportation initiatives, the City of Boston has launched multiple green energy programs. This progressive integration of alternative energy is a key reason Boston is considered a leader in sustainability.
Renew Boston Solar aims to achieve the widespread adoption of solar energy by easing permit requirements, driving down the cost of solar energy, maximizing participation in incentive programs, and mapping and tracking solar use. Mayor Thomas M. Menino even installed solar panels on his house!
Boston is also the second largest municipal purchaser of wind power in New England, reports theCity of Boston. If you’ve ever strolled by the Harbor, you’ve likely spotted the wind turbines on Deer Island. That is only one of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority’s wind turbine projects, which are estimated to save $600,000 a year in energy costs. Another example of Boston’s green tech initiatives is the installation of LED street lights across the city.
Boston is among the top ten cities for green jobs, reports Forbes, and an undeniable cleantech business Hub. Not only is our city booming with successful green startups – Practically Green, Next Step Living, and Retroficiency to name a few – but local businesses across industries have embraced environmental sustainability. This private sector support significantly reinforces the initiatives pioneered by the City of Boston.
The Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) is coalition of organizations that has been working to build a local, green, and fair economy for over 25 years. By providing programs helping businesses to “go green” and hosting events like the Boston Local Food Festival, SBN has been an influential force driving both businesses and individuals to embrace eco-friendly living.
While local government and businesses lead the green movement here in Boston, it is the grassroots community who fuel its growth. Without the people of Boston supporting and endorsing eco-friendly living, all of the City of Boston’s efforts would be for naught.
Greenovate Boston is a community hub for Bostonians who want to “go green.” It’s mission is to engage individuals with the City’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25%. Their website gives visitors the resources they need to make Boston a better, healthier place; and shows how everyday people find simple ways to be more sustainable.
For further proof of the grassroots green movement, look no further than your community garden. Urban farming is flourishing here in the Hub, reported EcoWatch, which listed the top ten urban agriculture projects in the city. Higher Ground Farms broke ground last year atop the Boston Design Center, and when completed will be the second largest rooftop farm in the world, reportsInhabitat. Quite literally, the Boston community is going green…
Boston is going green, are you? JM Electrical is a local expert in sustainable construction. Follow their Channel for more eco-insights and to learn how they’re leading Boston’s renewable energy initiatives.