Quincy CAN

Quincy Climate Action Network promotes energy conservation and efficiency, and the use of renewable energy by government, businesses, and residents.

QCAN came together in early 2012 in response to the city’s abandonment of plans for a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine on Moon Island. Since our founding we have made our views known in the media and in several meetings with city officials. In addition, many QCAN members serve on the mayor’s Climate Change Committee, finding ways to reduce fossil fuel usage and increase the production of clean renewable energy in our city.

We welcome Quincy residents and others to our monthly meetings, and we are looking for new members to bring the ideas and energy to our projects and endeavors. For more information or to join, please contact info@QuincyCAN.org.

NEWS

Quincy Climate Action Network Hosts Leadership Summit

On Saturday October 25, Quincy Climate Action Network gathered local leaders to discuss ways the city will need to change in a time of rising temperatures and rising sea levels. The summit, which took place at First Parish Church, drew 27 residents, including officeholders Sen. John Keenan, at-large city councilor Doug Gutro, and school committee member Anne Mahoney, as well as staffers from city government and leaders from local business, religious, scouting, educational, and environmental organizations.

Attendees brainstormed projects on which their groups could collaborate. Some ideas that emerged include a push for municipal composting of kitchen waste and expanding recycling to Quincy businesses and large residential buildings. Both composting and recycling have been shown to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The event, emceed by Rebecca McWilliams, QCAN’s outgoing chair, and cosponsored by Roche Brothers supermarkets, also introduced leaders to likeminded colleagues. “It was great to … meet environmental leaders from all over Quincy that are ready to tackle issues like sustainability, climate change, and open space preservation,” said Jonathan Twining, assistant professor of biology at Eastern Nazarene College. “I hope that ENC can contribute, not only by becoming more sustainable as an institution, but also by our students being engaged in helping to solve the environmental issues the city faces.”
QCAN, added Mahoney, “is working hard to open up critical lines of communication [and to] educate Quincy about some of our future challenges. I was thrilled to be part of the discussion.”

Leadership summit attendees included (from left) Prof. Jonathan Twining, Eastern Nazarene College; Sen. John Keenan; Sarah Briggette, student, Eastern Nazarene College; David Reich, QCAN board member; Shelly Dein, energy manager, City of Quincy; City Councilor Doug Gutro.

Leadership summit attendees included (from left) Prof. Jonathan Twining, Eastern Nazarene College; Sen. John Keenan; Sarah Briggette, student, Eastern Nazarene College; David Reich, QCAN board member; Shelly Dein, energy manager, City of Quincy; City Councilor Doug Gutro.

Summiteers brainstorming ideas for stopping climate change. Seated at the front table, left to right, are Les Tyrala, board member, Neponset River Watershed Association; Vandana Sharma, Vrindavana Preservation Society; Susan Karim, Quincy Planning Department; and QCAN members Fay Strigler and Patti Keville.

Summiteers brainstorming ideas for stopping climate change. Seated at the front table, left to right, are Les Tyrala, board member, Neponset River Watershed Association; Vandana Sharma, Vrindavana Preservation Society; Susan Karim, Quincy Planning Department; and QCAN members Fay Strigler and Patti Keville.

Quincy Climate Action Network joins 400,000 in New York for People’s Climate March
“Quincy CAN” banner presented by Quincy Climate Action Network (QCAN) at the People’s Climate March in New York City September 21st. L-R: QCAN Chair Rebecca McWilliams; Christine Grundy; Rob Baker.

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“Quincy CAN!” was the watchword as local residents and members of Quincy Climate Action Network (QCAN) boarded one of more than 50 buses starting from Massachusetts in the dark of early Sundaymorning. Destination: the People’s Climate March in the heart of New York City.

QCAN members Rob Baker, Sarah Belfort, Gaëtano Belfort, Mike Cotter, Christine Grundy, Cyndy Roche-Cotter, and Rebecca McWilliams joined Sustainable South Shore and 350Massachusetts members for the long trip. In New York, they met up with 400,000 concerned men, women and children from all corners of the U.S. and the world, to march in an urgent call for immediate action on climate change, ahead of the UN Climate Summit on September 23.

QCAN members reported that the sheer magnitude of the March was stunning. The river of humanity flowing down the Avenue of the Americas seemed endless. When organizers called for a cheer, a deafening roar from the crowd rolled through the urban canyons in waves.

While marching, QCAN founder Rebecca McWilliams was interviewed for a segment on Wall Street Journal Online. “This March is even beyond anything I expected. It is the largest climate march in history,” said Ms. McWilliams. “Equally amazing are the diverse groups that are here today speaking up to demand action from our policy makers. People are realizing that climate change is a game changer for us all. We saw survivors of Superstorm Sandy marching, and we thought, if we don’t act now, that could be Quincy. But if we can bring this level of energy and enthusiasm about climate change home to our neighborhoods over the course of the next year, we can change the tide.”

The Quincy contingent held a QCAN banner and a sign stating “Your legacy, your grandchildren’s earth. What will you say YOU did?” Ms. McWilliams added, “To mitigate the effects of climate change, it starts with individuals. Each of us can choose where we buy our energy, our household products, and our means of transportation.” Consider yourself challenged to leave a sustainable legacy, Quincy.

Quincy Climate Action Network Letter to the Editor
Patriot Ledger
April 29, 2014

Dear Editor,

Quincy Climate Action Network (QCAN) would like to congratulate Mayor Koch on the signing of a contract to put solar panels on the roofs of 27 city buildings, including many schools.

This project, for which the city pays nothing, will save us hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by allowing city government to buy electric power at 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour, well below market rate. Because the solar provider will keep the price constant for the life of the contract, the annual savings will increase with time as the cost of electricity from gas- and oil-fired generators rises, as it surely will over the next twenty years.

Equally important, the solar installations will lower the city’s carbon footprint and help improve the quality of each breath we take by reducing the need to burn fossil fuels for electricity generation.

Having so much solar distributed so widely through the city will also do wonders for our image as a green community in one of the nation’s greenest states. And putting solar on so many of our school rooftops will provide a great learning opportunity for Quincy’s students.

Of course, two megawatts of solar power in one city, while it’s a wonderful first step, will not end the threat of climate change, although it will slightly mitigate it. Our city, like others, can and should do more. With that in mind, we’re asking the mayor to pursue the possibility of tripling our solar energy production using solar parking structures and ground-mounted solar on city property.

QCAN members serving on the mayor’s Climate Change Committee have worked with the city to bring about the rooftop solar project, and we plan to keep working to help the city reduce its energy usage and maximize the its solar energy production. Three times the solar power, after all, will mean three times the savings for taxpayers, and three times the reduction in dangerous pollution. Please visit our website, and consider donating or joining us for our next meeting.

Rebecca McWilliams
Chair, Quincy Climate Action Network
http://www.qcan.org

Quincy Climate Action Network Wins $2,000 Grant
January 30, 2014

Quincy Climate Action Network has won a $2,000 grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, a Vermont-based nonprofit that supports long-term civic engagement and action on local environmental issues.

“QCAN serves a crucial role in their community of educating and encouraging residents, businesses, and civic leaders on the key energy and climate change issues while serving as a model for groups in other Massachusetts and New England communities,” said Julia Dundorf, NEGEF’s energy and climate change program director. “The Grassroots Fund is enthused about the progress of QCAN and their plans for 2014.”

In its first year, the Quincy group, founded in October 2012, cosponsored the public library’s popular Kill-a-Watt loaner program; signed up 40 residents for free energy audits; held 10 public forums on home energy use; and worked with city government to hire a new energy manager and identify ways for city departments to lower energy use by 20%, in accordance with Quincy’s obligations under the state Green Communities program. The group has also been working to increase renewable energy production on city property, with a focus on installing solar panels on the roofs of public buildings.

Plans for 2014 include a membership drive, a major fund-raising event, outreach to the business community, and continued engagement with city government.

QCAN was one of 59 grantees in NEGEF’s fall 2013 funding round. The grants help local environmental groups build organizational capacity, according to Dundorf.

“I’m thrilled that NEGEF has recognized our work,” said Rebecca McWilliams, QCAN’s chair. “The grant will fund activities that help us get our name out and continue our work for energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the production of renewable energy in Quincy.”

To learn more about QCAN, visit http://www.quincycan.org or come to a meeting on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Houghs Neck Community Center.

QCAN Welcomes Quincy’s New Energy Manager
January 20, 2014

The Quincy Climate Action Network would like to thank Mayor Koch for hiring Shelly Dein as the city’s new Energy Manager. QCAN members serving on the mayor’s Climate Change Committee helped select Ms. Dein, a volunteer with Sustainable Arlington who formerly served as Energy Manager for Marlborough; before that she managed large energy-use-reduction projects in the nonprofit housing sector.

Both Ms. Dein and energy technician David Scott, another recent city hire, are wonderfully qualified to lead the city toward a healthier, more sustainable, less wasteful future. However they face substantial challenges in getting us there. First and most important, they will have to help the city meet its commitment, under the state’s Green Communities Program, to cut the city’s energy use 20 percent by summer 2016.

Only minor progress toward that goal appears to have been made in Quincy’s first two and a half years as a Green Community, so we have much catching up to do. Yet we already know how to get most of the way to 20 percent, thanks to a city-commissioned study by the Boston-based Peregrine Energy Group. The 2011 study recommends measures like adjustments and upgrades to HVAC systems in city buildings, occupancy sensors to turn off lights in empty rooms, converting streetlights to energy efficient LEDs, retrofitting building equipment motors for pumps and other equipment with variable frequency drives, and so on.

Other reductions may come from ongoing efforts to replace old city vehicles with more efficient ones and to retrofit schools with new, tighter windows–and from changes in old habits like idling parked vehicles and running electronics when they’re not in use.

QCAN hopes to work with Ms. Dein and Mr. Scott to implement all these changes, which deserve the support of every Quincy resident. Reducing city energy use by 20 percent will require financial investment by the city and lots of hard work by city officials, but in the end these improvements will more than pay for themselves in a smaller carbon footprint, more breathable air, and, lower energy bills for the city.

Join our campaign to tackle this global challenge on a local level! QCAN is on Facebook, Meetup, and http://www.quincycan.org and we are recruiting new members.