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.


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.


“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

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.

Eco-Books Recommended By Thomas Crane Public Library
December 2013

The Thomas Crane Public Library created a recommended reading list of new ecological books. Click Here to see the list on the Thomas Crane website.

QCAN Press Release:
October 28, 2013

School Committee Candidates Respond to School Energy Questionnaire

In response to a five-part questionnaire from the Quincy Climate Action Network (QCAN), school committee candidates Emily Lebo and Ann Mahoney detailed their support for a green energy agenda for Quincy Public Schools, including energy education, renewable energy production, and programs aimed at lowering energy use. The two other candidates, Barbara Isola and Noel DiBona, who also received the questionnaire, offered brief statements of support for green programs in the schools but no direct answers to the questionnaire items.

Energy in the Curriculum

In her response to the questionnaire, Emily Lebo wrote that “the Next Generation Science Standards, although not yet fully released, have a significant amount of content on energy efficiency, and I will be happy to see those in place.” Ann Mahoney called for energy education across the Quincy Public Schools curriculum. “Alternative energy, energy use and the path to efficiency, and use of clean energy,” she wrote, should be topics not only for science instruction but also in “English, mathematics, art, and social studies classes. “ She added that the schools “must do our best to educate the general public as well as our students” about the economic benefits of efficiency and renewables and counter “some of the … propaganda by fossil fuel companies when it comes to adopting green energy.”

Energy Efficiency and Conservation

While lauding the recent installation of new, more-efficient windows at Montclair School, Mahoney suggested that before new windows go into any other schools, current energy use at the schools be measured. With that baseline data, Mahoney writes, “We can calculate the savings [resulting from] the new windows after they are replaced. This exercise would validate and quantify the window replacement project for the QPS students as well as the citizens of Quincy.” Also in the area of efficiency, Mahoney calls for simple behavior changes such as turning off lights when they’re no longer needed and for “recommissioning” building systems to assure that they operate at maximum efficiency.

Like Mahoney, Lebo offered a list of free or low-cost changes that would reduce the schools’ carbon footprint. These include putting lights on motion sensors, finding ways to reduce the power load from computers that are not in use, recycling more, and composting school cafeteria waste.

Renewable Energy

Mahoney voiced support for small, 10 kilowatt wind turbines at both the city’s high schools, not only for their educational value but also as a source of clean energy for the schools. She wrote that “having a working turbine system available to students would allow them a firsthand opportunity to compare theoretical calculations with actual performance.” Mahoney also wrote that she would welcome photovoltaic solar parking structures on school property providing they “fit the school and neighborhood.”

Lebo agreed that any solar parking structures would need neighborhood approval. “Our parking spaces at the schools are not parking lots,” she wrote, “but also serve as playgrounds for our students. I would not want to see anything that would block the light from the buildings [or] interfere with playing in the lots around the schools.” When it comes to small turbines, she pointed out that she wrote a grant proposal “that got QHS solar installation trainers, an inverter and a small turbine. The turbine was never installed, and it may be able to be put up somewhere still. I do think turbines should be placed where they will get the most wind and disrupt the fewest abutters.… If the school and community agreed with this, I could possibly see a small turbine going up in back of Broad Meadows [School].”

“Quincy Climate Action Network applauds Emily Lebo and Ann Mahoney for taking the time to articulate their visions for saving money and increasing energy efficiency in our schools,” said Hough’s Neck resident Rebecca McWilliams, QCAN’s chair. Click on this link for the full text of candidate responses.


Quincy Access Television interviews QCAN’s Rebecca McWilliams about QCAN’s mission and future events.
Podcast: Rebecca McWilliams of QCAN – Quincy Climate Action Network talks with QATV’s Joe Catalano on a recent episode of Currently in Quincy.

EVENT – THUR., SEPT 19th at 7:00 p.m. – Getting Efficient: Ideas for saving energy and money in your home

Where: Thomas Crane Public Library 40 Washington St., Quincy, MA 02169.
All ages are welcome.

Making small changes can add up to big savings.
Learn what money-saving actions you can take at home with Quincy CAN (Climate Action Network), a group of citizens working to promote conservation, efficiency, and the use of renewable energy in Quincy. Discover resources that are available to you and learn about new gadgets that can help identify energy-saving opportunities at home.

See for yourself. We’ll demonstrate some gadgets that can help you identify energy-saving opportunities at home. Then you can try them out yourself.

Learn about QCAN’s initiatives and how you can take part. Quincy CAN is a group of citizens working to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energy in Quincy neighborhoods, businesses, and public buildings.

Bring your questions, ideas and success stories to share!

EVENT – TUES. Sept 3rd at 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. QCAN Solar Workshop
Where: Adams Historical Society, 53 Adams Street Quincy, MA 02169

Did you know only 1500 homes in Quincy look good for solar? Did you know you can get FREE solar on your home!?

Join Quincy CAN and special guest Next Step Living at the Adams Historical Society on to learn how you can qualify for a solar assessment of your home.

If Solar isn’t for you, you can still get a free home energy audit!

  • Find and stop phantom energy use
  • Install insulation and sealing air leaks
  • Switch to more energy-efficient heating

Visit http://www.quincycan.org and join us! For more info, email QCAN at info@QuincyCAN.org.