Nashua’s Environment and Energy Committee Promotes Bike and Solar Programs, Sets Bold Energy Goals for Buildings, Vehicles
By Chris Gillespie
Nashua, New Hampshire’s Environment and Energy Committee recently presented the city’s Aldermanic Planning and Economic Development Committee with a series of sustainability-focused recommendations, including goals to cut municipal greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025 and to power municipal buildings with 100 percent clean energy sources by 2050.
Nashua’s Environment and Energy Committee was formed in 2017 after Mayor Jim Donchess pledged allegiance to the Mayor National Climate Action Agenda, in which he and 273 other mayors across the country agreed to uphold the values and goals of the Paris Climate Agreement after President Trump withdrew the United States from it.
Although Nashua’s Board of Aldermen is yet to officially approve the energy goals for 2025 and 2050, some of the Environment and Energy Committee’s ideas have already come to fruition.
One such realized idea is Nashua Solarize+, a campaign that hopes to encourage homeowners in Nashua and the neighboring suburb Hudson to go solar and optimize the energy efficiency of their homes.
Nashua Solarize+ launched on June 1 and will run through August 31. During this time, Nashua residents who buy solar panels through Granite State Solar or weatherization services from Turn Cycle Solutions will receive a special discount. The exact amount of the Nashua Solarize+ discount will be determined by how many homeowners take advantage of the campaign—as the number of new contracts increases, so will the discount.
“We are very optimistic that a lot of people are going to sign up, so that people are going to get the greatest price,” Granite State Solar’s Jaimie Harris told WMUR News in regard to the campaign.
The Environment and Energy Committee has also found success in bringing easily accessible clean transportation to the Gate City. On June 3, two hundred turquoise-colored bikes were stationed around the city to kick off Nashua’s four-month pilot program with VeoRide, an adaptable, dockless bike-share system.
Using the VeoRide smartphone app, anyone in Nashua can locate, reserve, unlock and pay to rent one of the communal bikes (15 minutes of ride time only costs 50 cents).
If demand is great enough, 100 more bikes will be added to the pilot program. If the pilot program is deemed successful overall, Nashua will have the option to continue the partnership with VeoRide into the future. The pilot program, which has been described by Nashua’s transportation and long-range planner Julie Chizmas as “a commuting solution as well as a recreational option,” is not costing the city any money.
While the Environment and Energy Committee has already accomplished a great deal in its first year, its work is far from finished.
In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, the Environment and Energy Committee is also pushing the city to update the energy efficiency of the municipal’s buildings and to adopt a standard of replacing retiring municipal fleet vehicles with vehicles that are more energy- efficient. The Committee has also suggested creating a city-wide Energy Manager position, as to better facilitate energy projects and energy tracking.
“Our goal is to really reduce our emissions and make Nashua a more enjoyable, livable and sustainable community,” said Nashua Waterways Manager Madeleine Mineau, member of the Environment and Energy Committee. “We are ultimately working to save taxpayers money while benefitting the environment.”
For more information on Nashua Solarize +, visit https://nashuasolarize.com.
Chris Gillespie is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.