Recovery Act Impact: Lancaster Energy Upgrades
"The stimulus grant was the first large scale grant we got to address and reduce energy consumption," said Noreen Piazza, Lancaster's Planning Board Director.
Piazza is referring to Lancaster's stimulus-funded Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant of $80K. The funding was used for the installation of energy efficient heating systems in the town's police station and central fire station as well as energy efficient heating system upgrades to the town library.
According to Don Atkinson, who runs Energy Efficiency Services, the contractor that installed the new systems, both the Police and Fire Station had chronic problems with their heating systems. He said both the propane hydronic system he is installing in the police station and the propane infrared system he is
"This grant took a high cost item and allowed us to spend less and enables us to redirect the monies elsewhere," said Orlando Pacheco, Lancaster's Town administrator.
According to Piazza, this grant was also a catalyst to the town's interest in becoming a "green community. It sparked our interest in the possibility that we could make our energy systems more efficient."
Pacheco noted that that town's second largest rising cost behind health care is energy.
This involves energy audits on public buildings, looking at how the town buys electricity and investigating the impact of converting some municipal buildings to waste oil.
The town was also motivated to pursue a "green community" designation for which it received a $141K grant.
"The stimulus grant energized a lot of people," said Pacheco. "It put us in a really good position."