If you want to hear good news about energy in Massachusetts, let me introduce you to two state agencies, two colleges, four municipalities, and two extraordinary individuals. At a late October State House ceremony, the Patrick Administration presented awards to various public entities and individuals for Leading by Example in the fields of clean energy, energy efficiency, and overall environmental sustainability.
In the large category (pop. 35,000 or more), Arlington was honored for its diligent work to reduce its own energy consumption by at least 20 percent. The town is converting its streetlights to LEDs, and upgrading HVAC and other building control systems. It worked with Mass Save® to get 400 home energy audits. As a Solarize Mass community, in 2012 Arlington installed over 710 kilowatts (kW) of solar electric (photovoltaics or “PV”). The City of New Bedford received an award for its improvements in energy efficiency and energy conservation at eight of its facilities, expected to save over $400,000 annually. The city has also made strides in renewable energy projects: 4.3 MW of PV expected by the end of 2013 and eight new electric vehicle charging stations.
Amherst, a small municipality (pop. fewer than 35,000), was honored for its commitment to sustainability, exemplified by its efforts to plant 2,000 trees over three years, and its policy banning polystyrene products and containers in the municipal landfill. The town also received a $302,000 Green Communities Grant for a streetlight retrofit project that will reduce municipal electricity use by 270 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, saving the town $48,000 annually. Chelmsford was also honored for entering into a net metering contract to support significant renewable energy generation, and for adoption of hybrid and electric vehicle technology. The town plans to retrofit municipal buildings to be more energy efficient, and convert its 2,200 streetlights to LED.
Public Higher Education
Framingham State University’s Climate Action Plan received an award. The university just completed a $7.1 million energy project, which will reduce energy costs by a staggering $735,000 per year, decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 48,000 tons, and eliminate the use of more than 350,000 gallons of heavy oil. Greenfield Community College was honored as a standout in virtually every sustainability category. The college recently completed the installation of high efficiency HVAC, more efficient lighting systems, a solar thermal array, and a 77 kW solar PV system.
The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) lead by example through its $25 million comprehensive energy project at the Hogan Regional and Wrentham Developmental Centers. The project featured power plant upgrades, repairs to over 700 steam traps, combined heat and power installations, thermal installations, lighting and insulation upgrades, saving $3.2 million in energy use in the first year, and dropping GHG emissions by 77 percent. The Department of Environmental Protection exemplified the goals of the Leading by Example program for its Wall Experiment Station. The lab is the first LEED Platinum rated state building in the Commonwealth and the first Platinum lab anywhere that is not owned by Harvard University. The facility uses 40 percent less water and 21 percent less energy than a building built to the standard building code.
An individual award went to Nantucket’s Lauren Sinatra. In her time as Nantucket’s Energy Project and Outreach Coordinator, Lauren has overseen a 1,000 percent increase in Mass Save program participants and the installation of six public electric vehicle stations. She also drafted the winning proposal to make the Nantucket Airport carbon neutral. The final award at the ceremony was given to Paul Piraino of UMass Lowell, who oversees UML’s climate action plan, its $9 million utility budget, and who has a long list of accomplishments including energy efficiency projects, energy contracts, on-site renewables and net metering contracts. His efforts save UML well over $1 million per year.
Bust that Myth Video: Windows as Energy Investment? posted on Jan 15
While new windows can make your home look great and increase your comfort, DOER first “But that Myth” video debunks the common misperception that investing in windows is a smart energy efficiency action.
Easy to Use Web Tool Shows How Massachusetts Uses Energy, Makes Progress on Clean Energy Goals posted on Jan 5
Do you like data? Are you interested in finding out whether Massachusetts homes use more energy than Massachusetts businesses or how our energy prices compare to other states’? You don’t have to be a data nerd or a policy wonk to answer “yes.” The Department of Energy Resources has just launched an online dashboard to answer these and other questions about how Massachusetts uses energy.
Power Down and Save Up posted on Dec 23
Between Thanksgiving and the cusp of a new year, many of us feel the festive energy. Burning lots of energy seems to go along with celebrating – think of all those holiday lights and cookies we bake. But that extra energy use also gives everyone …Continue Reading Power Down and Save Up