Following are examples of the work we have done to help Massachusetts cities and towns understand and reduce their energy use, while also improving comfort and indoor air quality in their facilities. For more information on our services, see our Municipal Assistance page.
Green Communities Review
We are currently conducting our Green Communities program review process with a community that has received substantial grants over several years in the Green Communities program but reported minimal energy savings.
- Our thorough review of the town’s energy data showed that some oil use was missing from their baseline. We helped the town to correct this, which makes their energy reduction calculations more accurate and shows that the actual reduction is more than they previously reported.
- The middle school accounts for 9% of the town’s total energy use, and we found that its natural gas use has nearly doubled in the past decade. Through a zoom meeting and a brief visit to the school, we identified several causes for the dramatic increase in energy use. We will soon report to the town on recommendations to improve operating efficiency of the school’s heating system, as well as improving temperature control and comfort for the students, staff and faculty.
- Energy consumption in the water treatment plant, which accounts for 10% of the town’s total energy use, has significantly increased since the town’s baseline year. We have offered to arrange an audit of the plant through DOE’s Industrial Assessment Center program.
- Our final report will include these recommendations, along with ongoing actions that the town can take to improve energy management in the future.
Elementary School Audit
We met with an urban school department to identify a facility for an audit, and they told us about numerous challenges in the one of the city’s oldest school buildings. There were frequent complaints about room temperatures and indoor air quality, and the school’s energy use intensity (EUI) has consistently been one of the highest in the city. In our site visit, we found that the building has minimal insulation; a steam heating system, which is inherently inefficient and difficult to control; and a mix of ventilation systems, most of which are no longer operating as designed. Insufficient fresh air is provided to parts of the building during school hours, and there is significant heat loss from open dampers when the building is unoccupied. We provided a report detailing a holistic plan to upgrade this inefficient, uncomfortable and unhealthy building and transition it off of fossil fuels with heat pumps and solar energy.