Massachusetts Pushes to Cut Energy Use
From Boston Globe
By Erin Ailworth
Community swimming pools, skating rinks, state universities, courts, police barracks, and highway depots. They will all undergo renovations as part of an initiative launched Tuesday to cut energy consumption at hundreds of state facilities and save an estimated $43 million annually.
The plan will be implemented over the next three years at a total cost of more than $400 million. Renovations at 700 facilities are meant to help the state reach energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals set in 2007 by Governor Deval Patrick.
The renovations will run the gamut, but are expected to include replacing lighting, installing new windows or insulation, upgrading existing heating and cooling systems, and putting up renewable energy sources, such as solar panels.
“Massachusetts will continue to lead the country in the clean energy revolution,” said Richard K. Sullivan Jr., secretary of energy and environmental affairs. “This is absolutely ratcheting up the aggressiveness of the program.”
The effort, overseen by the state’s Department of Energy Resources and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, will be funded by bonds and the Mass Save assistance and incentive program.
While the state is borrowing the money for the renovations, officials say they will use the annual savings expected over the life of the improvements to pay for it all.
“It’s a very creative and effective financing mechanism to make a leap forward in greening the Commonwealth’s facilities,” said Glen Shor, secretary of administration and finance.
The state government is the largest energy user in the Commonwealth, spending over $250 million and consuming more than 1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year.
The average Massachusetts home uses roughly 630 kilowatt hours a month, or about 7,600 kilowatt hours a year.
Patrick identified cutting energy consumption as a key issue early in his first term. Among other things, he aimed to cut energy use at state facilities by 35 percent from 2004 levels within the next seven years.
“He was very clear that if we’re going to ask the citizens of Massachusetts to invest in energy efficiency and renewables, we at the state level have to lead by example,” said Mark Sylvia, commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, one of the initiative’s leading agencies.
Since then, Sylvia said, the state has invested approximately $10 million in stimulus funds outfitting facilities with meters that help track energy use in real time.
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