Sustainability is an age old idea, grounded in conservation and maintaining balance so that the ecosystem, and life on earth, persist indefinitely.  Today, sustainability is married to the need for a new energy infrastructure and consumption patterns precipitated by both the climate crisis and a new understanding of how our waste products and behavior are impacting the health of the planet.  The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has a terrific Introduction to the Clean Energy Home.  The Center is also a great resource for understanding the costs and benefits of a potential purchase or system change, and offers a list of installers.

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Westford's Roadmap to netzero

While conservation and sustainability goals are not new to Westford, the town first started discussing these initiatives under the heading of sustainability with a Climate Action Resolution, sponsored by Westford Climate Action, at Special Town Meeting, on October 17, 2020.  The resolution  "to resolve that, in response to the escalating climate crisis, Westford commits to take actions to promote clean energy and reduce fossil fuel use, including promoting energy efficient upgrades in all town facilities and in private homes and businesses and purchasing the highest percentage of clean, renewable energy in town contracts as feasible.", passed by almost unanimous vote.

The same Town Meeting also directed "The Select Board will charge a task force with studying and making recommendations for specific strategies for Westford to achieve the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ limit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with intermediate goals. The committee will provide a plan to the Select Board within 9 months of receiving its charge and it will report the town’s progress towards those goals annually at Town Meeting."  As a result, the Energy Committee was restructured and became the Clean Energy and Sustainability Committee (CEASC) in 2021.  

This Committee developed the first Green House Gas Inventory and Westford's Climate Roadmap, a living document that outlines steps for moving the entire community (residents, businesses and municipal government) toward this goal.  One of the first goals under Governance is to hire a Westford Sustainability Director to assist with the implementation of the Roadmap.  The current Sustainability Coordinator, shared with Carlisle and supported by an Efficiency and Regionalization Grant for FY 2023, is a first step in this direction while the town budgets for a full time position in FY 2024.