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 Flood Watch: Community Science Project for Climate Resiliency
Have you seen your City's streets flood? Have you ever wondered why? Do you want to help Worcester reduce street flooding and make your city become more resilient to extreme storms? This is a great opportunity for community members to contribute their time for the community's climate change resilience efforts and learn about how City's stormwater system works! Become a community scientist and join the Flood Watch.
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.
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%!
Building Resilience to Floods, Extreme Heat and Winter Storms
We developed a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Assessment and Action Plan in 2019. Our first resiliency project, completed in 2021, was a raingarden at the Senior Center to infiltrate water and reduce the heat island effect in a heavily urbanized area. In early 2023, we completed a detailed city-wide extreme heat study that will help us target resilience solutions, such as increasing the tree canopy, where they are needed most. Now we are working on a multi-year project to develop a Drainage and Green Infrastructure Master Plan to reduce flooding and heat islands throughout the City. Join us in making Worcester more resilient to floods by volunteering with the Flood Watch.
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.