Utilizing $1.9 million in stimulus funding, the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) in Lowell recently started construction on a deep energy retrofit that is projected to reduce energy consumption by 68%.
The expansion and renovation of the current youth center aims to turn their current historic building into a LEED Platinum certified green building. This retrofit will upgrade the historic building through a combination of building envelope treatment and passive heating and cooling techniques, which will condition the center with little to no support from mechanical systems. These efficiency renovations will include air sealing, insulation, window upgrades, high efficiency wood pellet boilers, natural ventilation, solar control, daylighting, and several other efficiency building methods.
"As we are now in the midst of construction, we couldn't be more excited about our grant from the DOER," said Gregg Croteau, Executive Director at United Teen Equality Center. "It represents a huge investment in transforming a former church building, first built in 1839, to a model for energy efficiency and community education across the Commonwealth and beyond. Ultimately, this award allows us to double the number of youth served in our workforce and educational programs - enhancing sustainability in the personal lives of the youth we serve, as well as the overall sustainability of our community."
Founded in 1999 as a positive response to local gang violence, the UTEC is a youth-led agency that blends a drop-in, safe-haven center with more structured workforce development and educational programming. The result of this project will be a job-creating renovation and demonstration of passive space conditioning, which provides long-term energy savings for UTEC as well as new and expanded opportunities for youth in Lowell.