| 2 min. read | by Seth Kinker,|

Photo by Vivint Solar on Unsplash

About a year ago, the Chelsea Sustainability Advisory Commission (CSAC) met for the first time. Over the course of the next year, they would research six topics to eventually present to the city council for further study or action.

Those six topics were alternative energy, green building technology, green infrastructure, recycling, and waste management, transportation and mobility, and water resources.

Tom Girard, one of the CSAC members, went over their findings with the council at the Oct. 21 city council meeting.


First, the CSAC defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of today without compromising future generations.” In battling causes of climate change, the CSAC mentioned reducing energy consumption. Transportation wise, it means driving less or more efficiently. Building wise, it’s about making sure they’re super-insulate and right-sized. Finally, another way to reduce energy consumption would be to shift towards renewable energies (solar, wind, bio).

In taking the six topics, the CSAC came up with around 80 ideas and value-engineered criteria to weight the different ideas. Ideas gained more points based on their impact on sustainability, ease of implementation, cost, and community engagement.

Ideas that “rose to the top” for the CSAC included the city hosting a “Green Fair” as well as recommending large scale and community-owned solar.

Other smaller and easily applied recommendations included rain barrels, three-compartment waste receptacles, and having a net-zero city building,

The CSAC will compile the written report for the council by the end of this month and Girard then told council it was up to them to act. The report given to council can be found, here.

Councilmember Jane Pacheco asked about the next steps and examples of continuing implementation. Girard answered that attacking it in bit and pieces would be best, using an example of the cities resources to be able to start addressing solar implementation.

Council Rick Catherman brought up an argument against the high cost of solar and asked Girard to expand on costs. While explaining the reasoning for both residential and large scale solar, Girard emphasized large scale solar would be the most cost-effective.

Mayor Melissa Johnson thanked Girard and the CSAC for their work, noting how important information like this was for the city to have as it tries to grow….well sustainably.