Article 18 at the fall Town Meeting asks the town to adopt the stretch building code. Many people want that to make houses more energy efficient and therefore help avoid global warming.
I support the stretch code because it opens the door to a much bigger way for Falmouth to save energy and money. Massachusetts makes substantial grants available to state-designated Green Communities, but to become an SDGC a town must first adopt the stretch code. More than three-fourths of Massachusetts towns have adopted it and are getting the grants. The first year’s grant is an unrestricted grant which, for Falmouth, would be about $150,000. Grants in subsequent years would be for projects that make the town and schools more efficient. We can use somebody else’s money and get ourselves lower utility bills. We could have done it 10 years ago. The Falmouth Energy Committee estimates that, by waiting until now, we’ve walked away from about a million dollars.
This “somebody else’s money” is really our own money that Massachusetts takes from us when we buy electricity. The state’s justification is that it can help lower energy bills and reduce those carbon dioxide emissions. The million dollars we didn’t get was our own money, which we paid year after year, so that the state could give it to those other towns which became green communities before us.
So let’s adopt the stretch code now, to satisfy the state and start using those grants for conservation in our own town.
Charles M. Rader