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Help Us Build a Net-Zero Elementary School!

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

The Green Meadow School Building Committee is in the process of planning the new Green Meadow Elementary School, but they have not made a commitment for the future building to be net zero or net-zero ready. We hope you will share your voice in advocating for geothermal heating and cooling—the sustainable choice.


Check out the talking points listed below, and choose the ones that speak to you! (You don't have to include all of them!) We've included a sample letter to help you kick-start the process, but we encourage you to make your letter your own.


TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT LETTER:

  • Be kind! Building a new building is an enormous and complicated task!

  • Make it personal: tell your story about your relationship to the school and the goal of net zero.

  • Choose whichever talking points speak to you; you don’t have to write about all of them!

  • Your letter doesn’t have to be long!

TALKING POINTS FOR YOUR LETTER:

  • Energy efficiency saves money in the long run—potentially millions of dollars over the lifetime of the building—by reducing the utility bills for the school

  • Renewable energy like solar panels and geothermal (ground-source heat pumps) produce energy on site, reducing reliance on the grid

  • Energy-efficient buildings are more comfortable for the occupants

  • Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment makes the building more resilient to extreme weather like cold snaps and heat waves because it does not require as much energy to heat and cool

  • The state of Massachusetts and our utility (Eversource) have generous incentives and rebates that reduce the upfront costs of purchasing and installing efficient equipment

  • Other schools in Massachusetts have been built to net zero standards

  • An energy-efficient and self-supplying building can serve as a resilience hub in case of disasters when the grid goes down

  • Net-zero equipment and operation offers educational opportunities to the students of the school and beyond

  • Eliminating fossil fuels from the building eliminates the risk of natural gas fires or explosions.


SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear [Name],


I’m excited for the new elementary school building planned in town and want to thank you for the hard work you’re doing in planning this enormous project. I am also eager that the building be as energy efficient as possible: net zero or net zero capable.


Sustainability is often viewed as “nice to have,” but in reality we can’t afford not to make the building as efficient and self-sufficient as possible. This will have climate benefits and benefits to the town’s annual operating budget, since it will lower the utility bills for the school. Additionally, it can make the indoor space more comfortable—especially on the hottest and coldest days—if the building is well sealed and insulated with high efficiency HVAC equipment. With the growing focus in the state on dealing with climate change, there are ample incentives and funding available to offset the upfront cost of the equipment.


I hope the new building will include air and ground source heat pumps, solar panels, and energy-efficient windows. I also hope it will have electric kitchen equipment (like induction stoves), a composting program, bike lanes, and preserved green spaces. These will not only make the building (and the town’s budget) more resilient to extreme weather but also provide crucial educational opportunities for the students. Keeping fossil fuels out of the building will also eliminate the risk of fires and explosions from natural gas infrastructure.


Once again, thank you for all your hard work in planning the new Green Meadow Elementary School building. I look forward to sending my child as a student in the coming years!


Sincerely,

[NAME]

Maynard resident and parent


EMAIL YOUR LETTERS TO:

• Brian Haas (School Superintendent): bhaas [at] maynard.k12.ma.us

• Jerry Culbert (Chair, School Committee): jculbert [at] maynard.k12.ma.us

• Justine St. John (School Committee): jstjohn [at] townofmaynard.net

• Jeff Swanburg (Chair, Selectboard): jswanberg [at] townofmaynard.net

• Natasha Rivera (Chair, School Committee): nrivera [at] maynard.k12.ma.us

• Gregory Johnson (Town Manager) gjohnson [at] townofmaynard.net


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