Efficient Buildings

Identifying Efficiency Measures

Municipalities often find themselves with a confusing array of choices when trying to identify projects to make their buildings more efficient. How to Choose An Energy Assessment for Municipal Buildings in Massachusetts pdf format of Audit Recommendations for Municipalities includes a short overview of energy assessment types, including those available through Mass Save® (the investor-owned gas and electric utilities, plus Cape Light Compact). Recommendations to make an energy assessment as successful as possible include:

  • Specify the scope and payback criteria.
  • Require a site visit by the energy auditor.
  • Require the energy auditor to identify the anticipated amount of all utility incentives for measures with a payback of 10 years or less.
  • Suggest that the energy auditor include all measures for all facilities in a single table that includes facility, measure, annual cost savings, project cost, utility incentives, net project cost and measure life.
  • Be prepared with accurate and complete energy usage and cost data.
  • Have a plan for funding and implementing the recommended energy conservation measures.

Many municipalities and other local and regional public entities find that using the services available through Mass Save Municipal Program pdf format of Mass Save Municipal Sector Sheet file size 1MB is the simplest and least costly path to implementing efficiency measures in their buildings. In 2011, approximately 90 municipalities worked with Mass Save®  to collectively save more than 25,000,000 kWh of electricity (equivalent to the electricity needed to power close to 3,500 homes) and 420,000 therms of natural gas (equivalent to the amount of natural gas needed to heat more than 400 homes). If you are interested in identifying and pursuing energy efficiency measures, please contact your electric and gas account representative(s) or see the Mass Save website. Note that energy conservation projects of $100K or less can typically be pursued directly with utility-contracted vendors (see Guidance on utility contracts pdf format of Guidance on Utility Contracts for Energy... under M.G.L. c.25A, sec. 14).

Additionally, municipalities may contract for energy evaluations directly with an auditor. DOER has released recommendations for selecting an energy evaluation and an overview of the types of energy evaluations: How to Choose An Energy Assessment for Municipal Buildings in Massachusetts pdf format of Audit Recommendations for Municipalities . For a more in-depth review of building types and factors relevant to assessing their energy usage, see the Field Guide to New Hampshire’s Municipal Buildings & Energy Audit Guidelines. (Please note that the specific RFP and procurement content in this document was developed for New Hampshire and that Massachusetts municipalities must comply with all Massachusetts procurement rules.) Municipalities may use the state energy services contracts # DCP-0711-EX1 or PRF-46 to directly select an auditor qualified through the state’s competitive procurement process. If using these independent energy evaluation services, municipalities need to consult with Mass Save to determine if energy efficiency measures identified are eligible for financial incentives.

The Green Communities Division is available to help facilitate energy evaluation services and to act as a technical resource to answer efficiency-related questions. Please contact your Regional Coordinator or Aimee.Powelka@state.ma.us (617-626-7356).

Implementing Efficiency Measures

A number of measures may be implemented at low or no cost and can build the case for implementing larger efficiency projects ( Massachusetts Leading by Example Zero and Low-Cost Strategies pdf format of Energy Reduction Guidance Zero- and Low-Cost Strat ) ( Energy Star Efficiency Best Practices Checklist pdf format of Municipal Efficiency Best Practices Checklist ). Behavioral programs can have a significant input with a minimal amount of funding ( Acton-Boxborough Regional School District Case Study pdf format of Acton & Acton-Boxborough Schools Power Down Program ). National Grid municipalities and schools may be eligible to receive support towards building a behavioral program using a See the Light Energy Toolkit.

Mass Save incentives are available for a wide range of efficiency projects saving electricity and/or natural gas. It is critical that you contact your utility BEFORE moving forward with an efficiency project in order to be eligible to receive incentives. If you are interested in identifying and pursuing energy efficiency measures, please contact your electric and gas account representative(s) or see the Mass Save website. Note that energy conservation projects of $100K or less can typically be pursued directly with utility-contracted vendors (see Guidance on utility contracts pdf format of Guidance on Utility Contracts for Energy... under M.G.L. c.25A, sec. 14).

How to Handle Mass Save Incentives

Municipalities working with their electric and gas utilities through Mass Save's efficiency programs may be eligible to receive incentives. The billing process for Energy Efficiency Measures and any subsequent distribution of incentives is determined by the municipal customer. Common procedures for applying incentives include on-bill credits for measures paid through on-bill financing, reduction of the total cost of measures by crediting the incentives to the vendor, or credit to municipal general funds. Please consult with your legal counsel.

Comprehensive energy upgrades involve multiple measures and are targeted towards achieving significant energy savings. Although these projects take more time to plan and coordinate upfront, they typically achieve much deeper energy and cost savings than a piecemeal approach. Comprehensive energy upgrades can be financed through a number of pathways for single facilities, such as schools (DOE Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts), or for multiple facilities. Private companies willing to manage these comprehensive energy upgrades, or energy management services, are called Energy Service Companies (ESCOs); for more information see DOER’s Energy Management Services web page .

Efficient Streetlights

LED streetlights provide many benefits including energy savings, cost savings, improved lighting and less light pollution. Municipalities that own their streetlights in Massachusetts can retrofit these streetlights to LEDs. In addition, metered lights, parking lot and garage lighting, exterior building lighting and traffic lights make excellent candidates for LED conversion. The following is a list of resource for communities interested in pursuing LED exterior lighting.

Overview: Getting Started with Exterior LED Lighting ( LED Street Lights 2-Pager - updated 5/21/13 pdf format of LED Street Lights 2-Pager - updated 5/21/13 )

Products: Design Lighting Consortium 

Bid-Free Purchasing: Statewide Contract FAC76 Section 6 

Group Procurement: the Metropolitan Area Planning Council is able to assist municipalities statewide on joint procurement for LED streetlights 

National Grid Tariff for Municipally Owned Streetlights (in effect 06/01/2013) 

Online Discussion Space: Mass Municipal Energy Group 

LED Streetlights in Gateway Cities and Beyond (June 11, 2013) Workshop Presentations 

Efficient Vehicles

DOER is working with municipalities to address energy used by vehicles, an often overlooked usage that can be challenging to address. The designated Green Communities use an average of 19 percent of their total municipal energy use on vehicular fuel. In small towns, this number can be much higher - up to 35 percent. Energy usage by vehicles can be decreased by purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles and by improving the efficiency of existing vehicles ( Municipal Fleet Efficiency pdf format of Municipal Fleet Efficiency ).

Efficient Water and Sewer Treatment

DOER is collaborating with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide energy management services targeted to drinking water and wastewater treatment plants. We participate in the Energy Leaders Roundtable, in on-site energy visits, and help connect drinking water and wastewater treatment plants with the efficiency services offered through Mass Save®. There are many cost-effective options available to reduce energy use and cost at drinking water and wastewater treatment plants.

Efficient Policies

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has just released a policy analysis tool that may help municipalities assess the impact of the energy policies they implement.

Energy Audit Program

DOER’s Energy Audit Program (EAP) was designed to assess and decrease the energy use of cities, towns, regional school districts, and water/wastewater districts. DOER held two application rounds for communities interested in participating in the EAP. More than 100 communities received EAP services from the first round in 2008. Of these, DOER was also able to provide one-time funding to implement projects for the first 17 communities, using proceeds from the first Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction. The second application round closed in April 2009 with 135 applicants. Energy efficiency services for these applicants were provided by Mass Save®. See the maps below for participating municipalities and regional school districts. To request an energy evaluation of a building, see Efficient Buildings above.

DOER's Energy Audit Program Participants

 

If you have questions, please contact your Regional Coordinator or Aimee.Powelka@state.ma.us (617-626-7356).


This information is provided by the Department of Energy Resources.