Greenovating our City Buildings
The City received a grant through the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust’s Clean Energy Choice Program to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on several city buildings.
The funding came partly from Cambridge residents choosing to pay a small surcharge on their electric bills each month to support renewable energy, along with the bonus funds provided by the Renewable Energy Trust.
With the awarded funds, Public Works installed the PV panels on the William Frazier Building at the Department of Public Works and the Frisoli Youth Center. A total of 5.26 kW was installed; 2 kW on the Frazier Building and 3.26 kW on the Frisoli Center that feeds back into the grid. The project feeds real-time data into the City’s website for viewing.
Tracking Energy Consumption
The Public Works Department tracks energy and fuel consumption and cost data for all City buildings and vehicles through a web-based database called the Energy Information System (EIS). Public Works uses this tool to assess municipal energy performance over time and against national benchmarks in order to enable the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for future building improvements that maximize the benefit per cost.
GreenSense Energy Awareness Program
The Department has also played a lead role in the GreenSense energy awareness program, which engages 75 municipal employees in more than 40 City buildings to educate colleagues and promote energy-conserving practices in their departments. The first year introduced four energy saving tips including: Turn It Off, Power Down, Summer Sense, and Use Your (Green) Senses. The tips encouraged all employees to turn off unnecessary lights and other equipment, power down computers at the end of the day, reduce peak demand in the summer, and use their green senses to identify and report air and water leaks. In its first year, the program has helped reduce electricity consumption by 5% in participating buildings, enough to power all the City‘s fire stations for 6 months.
Energy Star Purchasing Policy
The City Manager issued an Energy Star purchasing policy in 2005. All new equipment purchased must meet the federal Energy Star standards or equivalent energy efficiency wherever practical. As the City replaces older equipment, new Energy Star equipment will reduce the energy load in City buildings. In 2008, the City Manager instituted a policy that all computer monitors in municipal buildings were required to be flat screens. Because the energy and cost savings were significant, the City replaced all CRT monitors with flat screens instead of waiting till they needed to be replaced. CRT monitors use twice as much energy as flat screens. While no exact savings calculations were run at the time, this changeover likely saved the City more than 80,000 kWh per year.
Did You Know?
The Frazier Building at Public Works and the Frisoli Youth Center join a growing list of buildings boasting green features. City LEED-certified buildings include City Hall Annex, West Cambridge Youth and Community Center, Healy Public Safety Building, Russell Field House, War Memorial Recreational Facility and the Main Library Expansion.
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