For Immediate Release - July 23, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Federal Grant Award for School, Public Housing Energy Efficiency Projects Statewide

BOSTON– Monday, July 23, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced that the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded$715,000 to the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) for energy efficiency projects in Massachusetts schools and public housing developments, while pursuing opportunities for renewable energy-powered heating and cooling.

"Making our buildings more energy efficient produces big benefits by cutting energy use, reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and creating local jobs," said Governor Deval Patrick. "With these investments, together we can stabilize our energy costs and leave a better environment for future generations of Americans."

The funding – which seeks to leverage more than $165 million in energy efficiency financing from low-cost bonds and the Mass Save utility-funded programs – is targeted to enable energy efficiency improvements across 11 million square feet of regional public schools and public housing developments between now and2020. In addition to energy efficiency measures, these projects will seek to reduce high cost fuels such as oil, baseboard electricity and propane through installation of renewable thermal technologies, such as pellet boilers, solar heating and hot water systems, and highly efficient heat pumps.

The initiative is a partnership between DOER, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and the Massachusetts School Building Authority.

“Investing in energy efficient public buildings not only creates local jobs but cuts operating costs that can be directed to other vital state services. Reductions in energy use also ensure a better environment for future generations,” said Secretary Sullivan. “We’re proud that energy efficiency firms are looking to do business and grow their companies here because of innovative programs like these.”

“This grant will support DHCD’s efforts to apply renewable, green technologies and innovative financing to achieve energy savings and create healthy, sustainable futures for all residents of state-aided public housing. We thank Secretary Sullivan for his continued support and partnership in our mission to upgrade our aging state public housing stock,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein.

With this award, Massachusetts became one of 22 states selected by the U.S.Department of Energy to conduct energy efficiency upgrades in public facilities or develop local policies and programs to help reduce energy use in public buildings.

This program builds on the Obama Administration's existing Better Buildings Challenge,which works with private and public partners to reduce the energy use in their buildings by at least 20 percent by 2020. The DOER’s Leading by Example (LBE)Program became a charter member of this program in June of 2012, committing to a 20 percent reduction in energy use in state buildings by 2020.  

The LBE Program was established by an April 2007 Executive Order in which Governor Patrick directed agencies of state government to improve energy efficiency,promote clean energy technology, and reduce their environmental impacts. The order calls on state government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25percent, reduce energy consumption at state facilities 20 percent, and procure15 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2012. In addition, it established the Mass LEED-Plus building standard for new state construction,which requires energy performance to be 20 percent better than code.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in the U.S. buildings last year consumed more than 40 percent of all the energy used by the U.S. economy. Massachusetts buildings consume over 50 percent of the state’s energy.

“This grant builds on our ongoing efforts to make state and local buildings more energy efficient and we’re making great progress,” said DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia. “Commitments by 86 Green Communities to reduce energy consumption in public buildings by 20 percent, as well as the State’s Leading By Example Program, are projected to result in energy savings equivalent to the annual energy consumption of more than 150,000 Massachusetts homes.”

Energy efficiency projects create jobs in Massachusetts. There are 5,000 clean tech companies in Massachusetts employing 64,000 people, according to a recent Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) report. Those companies reported a6.7 percent increase in hiring last year. Half of the state’s clean energy jobs are energy efficiency-related jobs. Over half of all energy efficiency firms work in heating, ventilation and air conditioning or building controls,followed by lighting and building materials.

Massachusetts sits at the end of the energy pipeline, lacking indigenous fossil fuel sources and spending $22 billion each year to run power plants, fuel vehicles and businesses, and heat buildings. Of that sum, Massachusetts spends 80 percent on foreign energy sources from Canada, South America and the Middle East. That's nearly $18 billion in lost economic opportunity that Massachusetts stands poised to reclaim through investments in home-grown renewable energy and energy efficiency such as those supported by this program.

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