John W. Odell, Chief Sustainability Officer
The City of Worcester has a Green Worcester Plan, a roadmap for making Worcester the greenest mid-size city in the country! The Department of Sustainability & Resilience works to implements many of its goals via new policies, projects and initiatives, while encouraging action at the community level as well.
To learn more, please visit our Green Worcester Dashboard.
Worcester is working on building resilient solutions to the climate change impacts in our city – be it extreme summer, street flooding from the flash floods or snow and ice storms. Check out our two current projects where you can get involved in helping us gather street flooding data and plant dense urban forests to help with heat and building our community resilience!
Preserving Lakes & Ponds
We envision a Worcester where all of our waterways are clean and healthy, safe for their designated recreational uses and accessible to all residents. The Lakes and Ponds Program's mission since 2016 is to monitor and manage our waterways for environmental threats, to protect their recreational value and preserve ecological services.
Becoming a Zero Waste City
Worcester has established its commitment to a Zero Waste future by hiring our first ever Zero Waste Coordinator (ZWC) through the Department of Sustainability and Resilience. Building off DPW&P's reform of our curbside residential waste programs since the 90s, the ZWC will work in accordance with the Green Worcester Plan to evolve how we handle waste as a city. The ZWC will also work to develop a Zero Waste Master Plan, which will result in a comprehensive list of actions and programming to bring our community closer to a Zero Waste future.
The City has deployed numerous measures to improve recycling habits, including the introduction of new recycling bins, free curbside textile recycling for residents, distribution of educational materials, curbside audits and bin tagging. In 2023, we received the Casella Sustainability Leadership Award for our efforts in community education, which resulted in an almost 50% reduction in contamination.
Growing Green Worcester's ElectriCITY!
We launched a group electricity purchasing program in 2020, which offers its residents and businesses price stability and greater control over the environmental characteristics of their electricity supply. In the first year of the Program, 69 million pounds of carbon dioxide were avoided because of additional green electricity added to their supply - all while saving participants approximately $500,000 as compared to the National Grid's basic service rates!
The Current Energy Mix Disclosure Label is prepared and periodically updated by Worcester Community Choice Aggregation electricity supplier. It provides detail on the energy mix (i.e. fuels used to produce electricity as well as percentage and type of renewable energy) for all program options.
Increasing Renewable Energy Production
We have 20+ solar projects on Worcester Public Schools, the City's former landfill and other locations, totaling over 13 Megawatts of Solar Capacity. Green Worcester Plan's goal is for all City entities to use 100% clean and affordable energy by 2045. We plan to get there by using 100% renewable energy for municipal facilities, providing 100% residential renewable electricity city-wide through the Green Worcester ElectriCITY program and using 100% renewable energy for residences and businesses, including for building heating and transportation.
Saving on Energy Bills Due to Energy Efficiency Work
We have spent $80 million on energy efficiency work in 90+ municipal buildings since 2009, saving $14 million and Reducing Harmful Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 43%!
We are electrifying our municipal fleet (which currently contributes 16% of the municipal carbon emissions) and building new electric vehicle charging stations in municipal parking garages and lots. We recently installed 18 new charging stations in three public parking garages downtown for residents and visitors to use. As for municipal vehicles, when they go out of service, our goal is to replace them with electric vehicles (when possible) to achieve a goal of an all-renewable fleet by 2030.
Expanding Safe Streets for Pedestrians & Cyclists
We are working with other departments, including the newly formed Department of Transportation & Mobility, on developing long range transportation plans and short term priority projects that will make Worcester a more walkable, sustainable and accessible place to live! We’re currently developing design changes for Endicott and Bigelow Streets to increase safety and accessibility while reducing heat and flooding. Learn More about the Project.
*From the 19 municipal solar projects since 2011, and more being built now. Learn More!
Sustainability & Resilience
City Hall Room 108
455 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608
By Appointment: Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.