An Update on the Climate Action Plan

January 5th, 2011

On November 17, 2010 the Nantucket Board of Selectmen met to determine adoption of the Climate Plan. The result of this meeting was a decision to take some time for the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission to further develop the Plan, and present that plan for review at the February, 2011 Commission meeting. If approved, it will be referred to the Selectmen for their approval/adoption. The Selectmen affirmed their commitment to adopt a plan during the current fiscal year-by June 30, 2011. We will keep you posted on further developments.

Sustainable Preservation Guidelines

July 31st, 2010

In  2009, in order to assist residential homeowners and commercial business owners in their quest to green their buildings with wind and solar installations, Sustainable Nantucket, in partnership with Clean Air‐Cool Planet and funded by the 11th Hour Project, collaborated with the Nantucket Historic District Commission to facilitate the drafting of a set of “green building” guidelines, entitled Sustainable Preservation Guidelines which are an addendum to their longstanding publication “Building With Nantucket in Mind”. These guidelines delineate the HDC’s approach to renewable energy and energy efficiency inside and outside of the Old Historic District, in new and existing buildings. The Sustainable Preservation Guidelines were formally adopted in October of 2009 and are among the first of their kind in the nation.

The Guidelines address the HDC’s approach to energy efficiency & renewable energy as they relate to: windows and storms; solar-thermal and solar-photovoltaics (PV), wind energy, alternative materials, green roofs, rain-barrels, and strategies related to energy-efficiency.

An example of language from the Guidelines regarding Solar and Photovoltaic Installations:

Under Existing Buildings and New Construction:

  • Photovoltaic and solar thermal installations need to be designed carefully and positioned to be in scale with the structure’s roofline, while maintaining a balance, scale, proportion, and rhythm with other features of that elevation.
  • Systems should be on the same plane as the roof with the color of the panels in keeping with the surrounding roofing materials.

Recommended Materials:

Applications should include materials adequate to describe the proposed equipment, the structure, and the surrounding area. These may often include:

  • A sample of the product and supporting documentation if available.
  • Photographs of the installation site and surrounding area.
  • A scaled drawing of the proposed system including all supplementary equipment.

 The full copy of the approved Guidelines are available at the HDC Office and by clicking here.

 Background on the Guidelines

The creation of these guidelines was facilitated during the Summer of 2009 by Sustainable Nantucket (SN) in order to get a jump on one of the major goals of the Climate Protection Action Plan for Nantucket.

The guidelines were drafted with the input and review of representatives of the HDC via an ad hoc “Historic/Green” work group. The group consisted of representatives from the Historic District Commission and staff; several Sustainable Nantucket representatives including SN’s Historic/Green Fellow, Ginny Way; Nantucket Energy Study Committee representative, Mike Burns; and several members of the building community. The meetings of the Historic/Green Work Group were open to the public.

After the drafting process was completed, the guidelines went through a public comment and review by the Commission for a period of almost 6 weeks prior to adoption.

 Funding provided in part by our generous partners:

Clean Air, Cool Planet

11th Hour Project


June 16th, 2010


The First Step – Nantucket Joins the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign

In 2008 Sustainable Nantucket formally requested that the Town of Nantucket join the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. This request was unanimously granted by the Board of Selectmen. Nantucket joined over twenty-seven participating communities in Massachusetts alone, including, among others:  Amherst, Barnstable, Boston, Falmouth, Gloucester, Hull, Kingston, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Salem, Somerville, Springfield, Williamstown and Worcester.

What is the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI’s) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCP)?

The International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI’s) Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCP) is a performance-oriented campaign that offers a framework for local governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve livability within their municipalities. It is designed to educate and empower local governments worldwide to take action on climate change.


  • What are the Milestones of the ICLEI Cities for Climate Protection Campaign?
  • Milestone One: Conduct a baseline greenhouse gas emissions inventory for the entire community and municipal operations.
  • Milestone Two: Set an emissions reduction target.  
  • Milestone Three: Develop and adopt a local action plan or a collection of initiatives to reach the target reductions. These initiatives will include finding efficiency and technological improvements available to the municipality.
  • Milestone Four: Implement actions. This milestone involves municipal government to formally adopt individual emission reduction initiatives. Further, various municipal departments may be called upon to coordinate and implement the adopted initiatives.
  • Milestone Five: Monitor emission reductions. Perform follow-up inventories.

What is a Climate Action Plan?

June 16th, 2010


What is a Climate Action Plan?

Clean Air, Healthy Environment

It is a collection of initiatives to reach the target reductions. These initiatives will address both primary and secondary sources of carbon emissions, and include finding efficiency and technological improvements available to the municipality. Areas addressed will include buildings, (Historic District Commission guidelines; incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy sources)  lighting, town fleet, public transportation, community policies (e.g., idling policy), life cycle cost analysis for purchases, composting program, gray water /lo-flow toilet program, bio-degradable plastic  trash bags; biker/pedestrian friendly community; public education campaign for the environment; school curriculum…

Why create a Climate Protection Action Plan?

There are many benefits economic and environmental benefits to creating a Climate Protection Action Plan including

Cleaner air and water.

Cost Reduction Through:

  • increased energy efficiency
  • development of renewable energy
  • reduced dependency on fossil fuels

Reduced traffic congestion & pollution, benefiting tourist economy and downtown revitalization.

Economic benefits of becoming an eco-tourism destination.

Increased availability of locally-grown & produced food & specialty products.

Potential for economic benefits through agri-tourism.

Nantucket has a strong motivation for joining this Campaign and making a definitive commitment to reducing fossil-fuel use and carbon emissions. Unlike many of these other towns and cities, our unique geographical situation makes us particularly vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change – advanced erosion should sea-levels rise as predicted, and devastating storm damage if the wind and water currents are altered. Yet it also gives us access to significant renewable energy resources (wind-power and tidal-power) and makes energy independence a real possibility for us in the not-too-distant future. Completion of the Climate Protection Action Plan will fulfill criteria set by the Massachusetts Green Communities Act, thereby significantly increasing the Town of Nantucket’s eligibility to receive state funding toward renewable energy development on Nantucket.


Climate Initiative

June 15th, 2010

The goal of our Climate Initiative is to reduce our community’s overall carbon emissions. Reduction of Nantucket’s carbon emissions will provide multiple economic benefits by creating cost reductions through:

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Development of renewable energy and reduced dependency on fossil fuels
  • Reduced traffic congestion & pollution benefiting tourist economy and downtown revitalization
  • Increased availability of locally-grown & produced food & specialty products, benefiting local food
    producers and distributors
  • Potential for economic benefits through eco-tourism and agri-tourism

Think Local First!

June 15th, 2010

In June 2008, Sustainable Nantucket and the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with a group of committed business owners and managers, formed a Steering Committee to find ways to encourage Nantucketers to support our local businesses and help our economy. Based on the “Buy Local, Hire Local” campaign initiated by Sustainable Nantucket in 2006, “Think Local First! Nantucket” was born.

Think Local First! is ongoing and is primarily an education and public awareness campaign,  designed to encourage resi­dents and visitors to “think local first” when purchasing goods and services. Buying and hiring locally strengthens our economy and helps us maintain the unique character of our Nantucket com­munity. In numerous studies, retail­ers in towns and cities with “Buy Local” campaigns reported an increase in sales.

For news and information on Think Local First!, to find local products and services, or to become a member, visit

Climate Plan Education

June 15th, 2010

Our Climate Initiative includes a campaign to educate and raise awareness in our community around municipal policies in the Climate Plan and community-wide adjustments to that will be necessary to achieve our emissions reductions targets.

This campaign is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2010 and will include press releases, publications, community forums and informational panel discussions.

2010 Objectives

June 14th, 2010

Climate Plan: 2010 Objectives

  • Review of the Plan draft and laying of implementation groundwork with Town departments
  • An education / outreach initiative in the summer of 2010 for the Climate Plan. This will include community forums, guest speakers from other communities, and printed information about the specifics of the plan as an effort to help residents and visitors understand the complex nature of Climate Change and the positive steps the Town of Nantucket is planning to adopt.
  • Passage of the Climate Protection Plan

The Climate Plan is focused around the municipality acting as both a leader by example – reducing its own carbon emissions– and as a catalyst –by implementing both policy changes and community-wide education– to bring about substantial change on-island, and to realize our vision. We envision the island as a carbon neutral entity and an energy producer utilizing our strongest available source of renewable energy –wind, while reducing our other primary and secondary sources of carbon emissions as much as possible.

We see most, if not all, municipal and individual vehicles being electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles within ten years – brought about by marketplace demand, and municipal regulation. These vehicles could avail themselves of clean & renewable energy, and would act as a reservoir and battery for the local electricity supply. This Plan would provide the added bonus of supporting the local economy by providing additional local jobs and, ideally, making us an eco-tourism destination, as well as –the electric vehicle element – helping to greatly decrease carbon emissions and traffic noise and pollution. We also envision producing as much of our food on-island as possible, given our natural limitations.

Currently, many opportunities and policy implementations are coming together making this the perfect time to put into practice a climate plan for our community. Drafting a Climate Plan qualifies us for “Smart Growth Points” in Massachusetts, improving the Town’s “credit score” with the state, which increases our eligibility for grants and lower-interest rates on long term municipal loans for capital projects.

Key criteria for funding for renewable energy and energy–efficiency projects ($10 million will be available for grants, annually, for Towns in Massachusetts with populations under 35,000), as provided for in the Massachusetts Green Communities Act, include completing and implementing a Climate Protection Action Plan such as the one we are currently drafting, and creating as-of-right siting for renewable energy projects in designated locations, an element which are incorporated into the Plan.

In Progress: Achieving the 3rd Milestone of the Campaign, designing a Climate Protection Action Plan for Nantucket.


June 14th, 2010

In May of 2009  the Town of Nantucket achieved the first two milestones of the Climate Protection Campaign process with the help of Sustainable Nantucket.

On March 25, 2009, Nantucket achieved the first two milestones of the Climate Protection Campaign process. Board of Selectmen Chair, Michael Kopko & Selectmen Brian Chadwick, Allen Reinhard, Patty Roggeveen, and Rick Atherton accepted the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory report completed by Sustainable Nantucket on behalf of the Town, and approved the suggested targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions reduction detailed in the report.

Achievement of these milestones fulfills two of the criteria outlined in the Green Communities Act for Nantucket to be considered for upcoming “Green Communities” funding from the state of Massachusetts – which could provide significant funding from the state toward renewable energy initiatives on the island.

Top Up from the Tap!

June 13th, 2010

Clean Water Nantucket

In 2008 the Sustainable Nantucket Youth Council began a “Top Up from the Tap!” Campaign — raising awareness and educating our community about the island’s superb water quality; and performing advocacy aimed at providing alternatives to plastic water bottle consumption on-island.

In 2010, as part of Top Up from the Tap! the SNYC will be:

  • Working with the NNS Science dept to test and collect data on the most popular water bottle brands to determine water quality and show comparison of bottled water vs. island Town water. Outcomes to be publicized as part of the education and outreach effort.
  • Improving public access… the SNYC  will follow up with Stop N Shop and Grand Union representatives regarding their proposal to install water vending machines at the two supermarkets on island. They will follow up with Wannacomet regarding their request to winterize the public fountain on Milestone Road.
  • Selling (at a discounted rate) Klean Kanteens (stainless steel, reusable, and recycled containers) as an alternative to using and purchasing plastic bottles.
  • Distributing an information packet of facts and statistics pertaining to Nantucket’s water supply and bottled water quality.