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Worcester Takes 'Green' Steps, Applies For State Grants

The city of Worcester is taking steps to make its construction industry more green while also hoping to secure extra funding for future eco-friendly projects.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to toughen Worcester's energy efficiency guidelines. The vote was the final step on the city's path for becoming eligible for up to $1 million in state grants to help fund energy efficient projects.

"Worcester is committed to making itself a model community for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability," said Mayor Joseph O'Brien.

Some of that state grant money — from the Green Communities Act — would go to offset higher construction costs. O'Brien says construction costs under the new rules would be anywhere from 1 to 3 percent higher than current costs.

"Although on the short term, there'd be a very small increase in the actual cost of construction, the owners of those properties will recapture those costs and actually have additional savings over time in energy costs," he said.

O'Brien called many of the guidelines "commonsense," such as better insulation in windows or more efficient light bulbs that he said will lower electricity and heating bills.

In order to become eligible for the state grants, the city must submit its application by May 14.

"Worcester is, as a city, proud to be a leader in the area of energy conservation," O'Brien said, "and we're excited about the work that's being done to make us in line for the Green Communities Act."

This program aired on May 5, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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