Deputy Director – Green Communities Division Department of Energy Resources
Many cities and towns across the Commonwealth own, maintain, and conduct daily business in historically significant buildings. These buildings, while storied, are often difficult to heat and cool during the changing New England seasons. The town of Hudson faced these challenges at its Public Library and was able to use funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – allocated by DOER through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – and funds from the Community Preservation Act to tackle this energy issue head on.
Built in 1905, this original Carnegie Library was sorely in need of new windows. The three-story brick Hudson Public Library building exterior is 30 percent windows, which were single paned and in many cases dated back to the original construction. Several of these windows no longer opened and others leaked air consistently through cracks and worn frames. South facing windows created a sauna-like effect in the summertime, and in the winter months, cold drafts from the single paned windows created an uncomfortable environment for employees and library patrons.
Hudson’s Community Development Department, in partnership with the Library Director and an architectural rehabilitation specialist, designed a project that would replace the aging and inefficient windows while maintaining the historical character of the building. The result was 117 new, historically appropriate windows and 27 new solar shades that are projected to reduce heating fuel consumption and electricity usage by 40 percent, save the town over $7,000 a year, ensure employees and visitors can use the library comfortably, and reduce the carbon dioxide emitted by over 40,000 pounds annually – equivalent to the carbon sequestration of planting four acres of pine trees. In addition, Hudson used the project to reach out to community members to teach them about the importance of energy efficiency. The town has also submitted a final completion report for viewing by others who may be interested in a similar project. The Hudson Library is a shining example of how the Recovery Act is impacting towns and cities across the Commonwealth and how municipalities are making energy efficiency improvements to their historical properties, benefitting communities for years to come.