For Immediate Release - September 21, 2009

Patrick Administration Solicits Proposals for Projects that Demonstrate Energy Solutions for Massachusetts Buildings

$15 million in stimulus funding allocated for trailblazing "high performance" building projects that deliver dramatic energy savings and economic benefits

BOSTON - As part of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is inviting proposals for $15 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for projects that demonstrate dramatic increases in energy efficiency in buildings across the Commonwealth. The stimulus funding opportunity is open to both public and private entities, including businesses, hospitals, universities, municipalities, community organizations, and others.

DOER's Program Opportunity Notice seeks proposals for innovative projects offering solutions to long-standing building energy challenges. The Massachusetts High Performance Buildings Grant Program is a key component of the Commonwealth's State Energy Program for investment of ARRA funding, which the US Department of Energy approved in July. Demonstrating ways to significantly reduce energy use, as well as substituting clean energy alternatives for fossil fuel, the program will pave the way for widespread building energy performance improvements beyond measures provided through existing state- and utility-run efficiency programs.

Successful proposals, which are due to DOER by October 30, must be shown to work throughout Massachusetts in buildings of similar size and type. Proposals must also provide evidence that projects will yield significant economic, energy, and environmental benefits.

"Governor Patrick is committed to making Massachusetts the hub of the 21 st century clean energy economy," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Ian Bowles, whose office oversees DOER. "We look forward to putting these stimulus funds into pilot projects that will demonstrate building energy innovations that cut operating costs, boost the Massachusetts green economy, and reduce our carbon footprint."

DOER's solicitation of proposals for high performance building projects is in line with Governor Patrick's March 2008 challenge to the building industry to put the Bay State on a path toward zero net energy buildings. A zero net energy building generates energy on site with clean renewable resources equal or greater to the total amount of energy consumed over the course of a year. The Governor's Zero Net Energy Task Force recommended two state building projects to strive for near zero net energy performance.

"Energy efficiency holds tremendous potential to transform our economy nationwide, creating jobs while providing long-term savings for consumers, businesses, and governments, " DOER Commissioner Phil Giudice said. "Achieving deeper energy savings in buildings is crucial to making the Commonwealth as energy efficient as it can be."

The High Performance Buildings Grant Program is designed to advance the state's clean energy policy agenda, which includes statutory goals to reduce fossil fuel use in buildings 10 percent and to decrease electric load 25 percent by 2020.

 

DOER is seeking projects that address one or more of these challenges:

  • Demonstrate a deep energy retrofit at one or more existing buildings that achieves at least a 50 percent reduction in annual energy consumption at each building;
  • Demonstrate technologies such as high efficiency and ultra low emissions biomass-fired boilers and furnaces, solar thermal space heating and/or cooling systems, passive and/or active thermal energy storage; and high efficiency cold-climate heat pumps;
  • Implement high impact energy conservation measures in buildings heated with fuel oil, propane and other unregulated fuels;
  • Mobilize community approaches to achieve energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy deployment through significant increases in the rate at which energy customers choose to participate in energy savings programs.

 

Awards under this program are expected to range from $500,000 to $5 million each for projects that are ready to begin immediately after the award and can be completed within three years. DOER expects to announce awards in December.

"This is an economically and environmentally smart investment - it encourages energy efficiency and when we save energy, we save money. Companies and organizations across the state have an incentive to come up with aggressive and creative ways to conserve energy so they should waste no time in applying for one of these awards," said US Senator John Kerry.

"In crafting the stimulus plan, the Massachusetts delegation made clean energy funding a top priority," said US Rep. Bill Delahunt. "This funding will not only create jobs and boost the clean energy industry in our state but will help taxpayers by reducing energy costs to state and local governments."

"Investing in projects that would improve energy efficiency in buildings across Massachusetts is a cost-effective way to cut carbon emissions and reduce our energy costs. As the original co-author of the Green Jobs Act, I am also pleased that this funding would aim to advance projects that spur job creation in the Commonwealth's growing 'green economy,'" said US Rep. John F. Tierney.

Investments in projects to maximize the energy efficiency of Massachusetts buildings is a critical component of Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

 

  • Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
  • Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and support clean energy, broadband, and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.