The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home is a multi-faceted health care facility available to eligible veterans of Massachusetts. One of the persistent challenges faced by the Home is the ability to provide modern services on a campus that includes a variety of aging buildings, some of which are more than 100 years old. Facilities Manager Bob Maniatis has risen to this challenge. A longtime member of the Massachusetts Facilities Managers Association (MAFMA), and a graduate of MAFMA University, Bob has been able to work across a variety of state entities to maximize available resources for the Home. In conjunction with the state’s Department of Capital Asset Management and Mass Development (DCAM), the Home’s largest building, the Quigley, received a new, $1.2 million roof and was selected for the installation of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels funded by an energy grant. The panels produce up to 60 kilowatts of electricity that is used on site.
Bob has shown tremendous initiative by taking advantage of rebate programs and matching fund offers offered by the utilities. For example, through NSTAR, the Soldier’s Home was able to complete several energy-efficient projects. Chelsea’s Soldier’s Home had many aging lighting fixtures that needed to be changed to more energy-efficient fixtures; similarly, incandescent and compact fluorescent exit signs were retrofitted to new light-emitting diode, or LED, signs. Compact fluorescent screw-in bulbs replaced older inefficient incandescent bulbs, and lighting controls have been installed in the Quigley building that operate on sensors, which ensure that rooms that have natural sunlight during the day do not use energy unnecessarily. Finally, Bob oversaw the installation of more efficient motors in the Air Handling Units at Quigley Hospital. The total cost of these three projects was approximately $78, 000.00; all of the projects were processed through NSTAR’s Municipal Program which provided an incentive payment that covered 45% of the total project cost. DCAM assisted with the remaining share. Not only was annual electric usage reduced by 150,000 kWh (kilo-watt hours) these three projects also produced an annual savings of approximately $24,000.00.
Additionally, Bob expanded the Home’s partnership with NSTAR to also work with National Grid, the state’s natural gas provider, to find cost and energy-saving solutions. Together, both utilities have agreed to fund an in-depth study of the campus and its energy needs. The proposal is still under review but the possibility of additional savings for the Home is exciting.
The list of recent upgrades to the Home is astounding. Some of the projects that have secured funding through the DCAM Deferred Maintenance Program or directly from DCAM include: the replacement of the Home’s walk-in coolers and freezers in the Quigley Building’s main kitchen; the installation of new fire alarm system in the Keville House, home to more than 70 veterans; the re-paving of the Home’s parking lots; the replacement of two hot water tanks (circa 1952) with new 900-gallon hot water tanks and an upgrade to the kitchen’s hot water loop in the Quigley Building.
There are many other improvements and the “old” Soldier Home has never looked better. Thank you and kudos to Bob Maniatis!
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