Energy and Global Climate Change in New England
Medford Schools, MA
City Council /Mayor
Joined CEC in 2007
Make a Commitment
Medford joined the EPA's Community Energy Challenge in 2007 and committed to reduce their energy use by at least 10%. Since then the city has focused on energy savings in schools, has saved over $500,000 in energy costs and reduced total energy usage at both elementary and middle school buildings by 35%.
Energy is the second largest expense for many cities and towns in New England, and this is the case for Medford, MA. By adopting energy efficient practices throughout the City, Medford is making a commitment to a healthier and a more sustainable future for its residents and these practices have already saved the city's taxpayers.
Assess Performance, Set Goals
National Grid, the local utility, sponsored free energy audits for all of Medford's school buildings and identified opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades. The city's building manager, Rodger Windt, took this information and looked at low-cost and no-cost ways Medford could implement the recommendations at their K-8 schools.
Create Action Plan
The building manager worked with the city's Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Alicia Hunt, to create a plan to reduce energy usage in the schools. He tracked the information by creating spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations to illustrate the kilowatt hours (kWh), therms and dollar savings.
Using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software gave the building manager a uniform way to track this data and an opportunity to earn recognition for individual schools with ENERGY STAR labels. Funding to implement some of their goals came from a Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Implement Action Plan
By tapping into the energy efficiency funds available from National Grid and the EECBG grant, the City was able to upgrade their elementary and middle schools and also identify areas for future savings. The building manager implemented changes such as turning off unneeded lights and reducing heat settings at night and on weekends, adding insulation and sealing cracks, and performing routine filter and damper maintenance. The city also worked across department lines to enable an effective computer shutdown program.
Other efforts to reduce energy within the school included:
- upgrading lighting in K-5 schools to high efficiency ballasts and bulbs through a National Grid incentive plan
- upgrading software controls
- retro-commissioning mechanical equipment
- conserving heat by turning it down at 3pm instead of 11pm - temperature change depended on season, room, and individual equipment
- performing preventative maintenance such as belt tightening and replacement, greasing bearings, changing filters, cleaning heating/cooling coils and adjusting dampers
- cleaning gymnasium filters
- upgrading the remote Energy Management Systems to manage multiple sites from anywhere, to graph trends, receive alarms and diagnose issues
Five Medford schools have documented a combined greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction of 1,332 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to taking 261 cars off of the road for an entire year. In March 2011, five of the schools received ENERGY STAR labels recognizing them for being in the top 25% of all schools nationally for energy use.
Mayor Michael J. McGlynn is proud to have achieved these Energy Star ratings for all of Medford's elementary and middle schools in the same year, and looks forward to Medford achieving even greater energy efficiency. The City is already in the process of installing 700kW of solar panels on the school buildings through a Power Purchase Agreement. Medford's goal is to become a municipal leader in the use of clean power by promoting clean power options to residents and encouraging more development of renewable energy sources in Medford.