John W. Odell, Chief Sustainability Officer
The Department of Sustainability & Resilience's mission is to implement the ambitious and urgent goals of the Green Worcester Sustainability and Resilience Strategic Plan (GWP) which was approved by City Council on April 27, 2021. The GWP is a roadmap for making Worcester the greenest mid-size city in the country. The department's vision is to become a strong and reliable advisory and collaborative partner, which supports integration of sustainability and resilience into all functions of the City via policies, projects and initiatives.
A major goal in the first year of the GWP was to form a Green Worcester Advisory Committee comprised of non-governmental stakeholders to serve as the forum for information exchange and to advise on the City's sustainability and resilience activities. The Committee was formed and began meeting at the beginning of 2022. The committee members play a critical role in the implementation of the GWP.
Lakes & Ponds Program
The Department of Sustainability and Resilience envisions a Worcester where all of our waterways are clean and healthy, safe for their designated recreational uses and accessible to all residents. As such, the Lakes and Ponds Program has a mission to monitor and manage our waterways for environmental threats to protect and preserve their recreational value and ecological services.
Municipal Electricty Aggregation
The City developed a group electricity purchasing program, Worcester Community Choice Aggregation, which launched in February 2020 and offers its residents and businesses price stability and greater control over the environmental characteristics of their electricity supply. In the first year of Worcester's Community Choice Electricity Aggregation Program, 68,710,460 pounds of CO2e were avoided!
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.
Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
Over the past 10+ years, Worcester has led by example by significantly improving the energy efficiency and dramatically increasing renewable energy production of its municipal facilities. A number of the City's sustainability efforts, including legislative and policy initiatives, led to Worcester's designation as one of the first "Green Communities" in the State. Worcester was one of 35 Massachusetts municipalities to be designated a Green Community in 2010.
Worcester's goal is to be a 100% clean and affordable energy city by 2045. This includes using 100% renewable energy for municipal facilities, providing 100% residential renewable electricity citywide through the Community Choice Aggregation program and using 100% renewable energy for residences and businesses, including for heating and transportation.
The City of Worcester completed a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Assessment and Action Plan in the summer of 2019, which provided a path to make the City and the community more resilient to extreme weather events, especially those exacerbated by climate change. In 2021, the City completed an MVP funded resiliency project at the Senior Center by upgrading its parking lot using a nature-based approach to infiltrate water and reduce the heat island effect. In August 2019, citizen science volunteers working with WPI faculty conducted a study that found extreme heat islands present in the City's urban core and spurred the need for more research to be done. In 2021, the City began working with consultants to conduct a more detailed study of the heat risks throughout the City with possible solutions provided. The final results of this study should be completed and posted publicly by summer 2022.
The City's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory conducted in 2022 found that 16% of the GHG emitted from municipal operations was from the City's municipal fleet. As vehicles in the municipal fleet go out of service, our goal is to replace them, when possible, with electric vehicles to reach an all-renewable fleet by 2030. In 2021, two electric vehicles and two dual-port electric vehicle charging stations were purchased and installed for the Inspectional Services Department. DSR has made its Vehicle Electrification Program a main priority in the coming years.
*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.
Sign up for our e-list to receive updates about sustainability and resilience in the City and share your ideas - GreenWorcester@worcesterma.gov.