Mohawk Trail Regional Partnership
The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) is a group of 21 municipalities in northwestern Massachusetts, working with regional non-profit organizations, state agencies, and federal authorities to create a funding stream to help conserve forestland, enhance land-based economic development opportunities, and enhance the fiscal stability of participating municipalities.
Analytical Support for MTWP
UMass Clean Energy Extension has been engaged by the state Department of Energy Resources to provide technical and analytical support to municipalities related to their heating fuel and overall energy consumption. We are supporting the MTWP on two important fronts:
Heating Load Evaluations and Wood Thermal Potential
We are engaging with towns to use MassEnergyInsight (MEI) accounts to collect heating load and fuel use data for all significant municipal and school buildings in the partnership region. We are collecting data on each building’s existing heating system (boiler capacity, age, efficiency) and evaluating prospective wood pellet usage. We are providing each town with a report of the heating energy intensity (BTU/ft2) of its buildings and screening for those buildings that might be best targets for energy efficiency improvements. For a limited number of buildings across the region, Professor Ben Weil and our Energy Corps student team will be coordinating energy audits. We are also identifying 2-3 municipal buildings per town to screen for wood pellet boiler installations. The screening evaluates pellet boiler capacity, system layout, performance, costs, incentives, and economics.
In addition to work related to municipal buildings, we are assessing heat demand in the 21 MTWP towns across various sectors (i.e., commercial/industrial, public and multi-family housing, state facilities, and residential) and over a range of time scales. This analysis will be used to set the benchmark for current heating demand in the region from which renewable thermal market potential can be evaluated. The report outlining our cross-sector heat demand findings is available here:
Wood System Emissions and Public Health Assessment
The consideration of wood heating options is confounded by a lack of science-based information on the emissions profile of modern wood heating systems and their impacts on public health. Professor Richard Peltier in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, in coordination with CEE, is conducting emissions tests and public health analyses of recent chip and pellet system installations in MA.
Professor Peltier is monitoring 3-5 wood energy systems, along with 2-3 comparable fuel oil systems, over multiple winter heating seasons. Emissions results will be used to assess impact on public health of proximate populations. You can find a brief video about Dr. Peltier’s work here
Of the MTWP's 21 municipal members, those currently enagaged with CEE's support services are listed below:
- Ashfield (See Ashfield's Phase I Municipal Energy Assessment)
- Hawley (See Hawley's Phase I Municipal Energy Assessment)
- New Ashford
Information for MTWP Municipalities: Energy Data Collection Documents
The following documents will aid comnunities in gathering and compiling community energy information in support of their MTWP efforts:
- MTWP Municipal Energy Information Request and Instructions
- MTWP Municipal Energy Information Request Spreadsheet
- MEI Read-Only Access Authorization Form (for currently designated Green Communities)
- MEI Full Access Authorization Form (for non-Green Communities wishing to establish MEI accounts)
From this information, we will be able to better understand town heating requirements, and offer recommendations for municipal energy efficiency opportunities in town buildings. In addition, CEE can help to evaluate the potential use of wood energy and other clean heating technologies, including district heating systems. This effort, and the participation by all MTWP towns, will be useful for the Partnership as it further considers its energy strategy options.