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Energy and Global Climate Change in New England

Mitigation Efforts: EPA New England

This section of the site houses information on energy efficiency achieved through the ENERGY STAR program, EPA New England's Community Energy Challenge, and the agency's efforts to help reduce energy consumption at drinking water and waste water facilities throughout New England as well as renewable energy. For a complete list of EPA's national Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives and regulations visit the national EPA climate web site.

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This page provides links to non-EPA web sites that provide additional information about Energy & Climate Change. You will leave the EPA.gov domain and enter another page with more information. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of information on that non-EPA page. Providing links to a non-EPA Web site is not an endorsement of the other site or the information it contains by EPA or any of its employees. Also, be aware that the privacy protection provided on the EPA.gov domain (see Privacy and Security Notice) may not be available at the external link. Click icon for EPA disclaimer.

Greenhouse Gas Regulations
EPA has issued regulatory actions under the Clean Air Act and in some cases other statutory authorities to address issues related to climate change. Visit the EPA National Greenhouse gas regulations page for more information.


ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STARENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. In New England, a variety of organizations and households take advantage of ENERGY STAR resources to reduce energy consumption, save money, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Visit energystar.gov for more information about nationwide energy efficiency programs.

ENERGY STAR Buildings

Across New England, hotels, grocery stores, businesses, schools, and government agencies are using ENERGY STAR tools and resources to assess energy performance and to improve energy efficiency. In order to improve your energy performance and/or make your operation more energy efficient, you need to determine a baseline or benchmark performance level. To date, more than 7,000 facilities in New England have benchmarked the energy performance of their buildings using ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager. Almost 500 buildings in New England have earned the prestigious ENERGY STAR label for superior energy performance. Click here for an interactive map to find ENERGY STAR Labeled Buildings in by state or Zip Code.

ENERGY STAR for Congregations

Photo of a churchENERGY STAR Congregations is a free, energy efficiency technical support program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the program click on the links below:

Congregation Website and Success Stories

For Frequently Asked Questions and Printable Informational Materials click on documents below

For Energy Efficiency and Renewable Incentives from Federal, state and local sources go to:

State by State Resource List - websites listed here are not sponsored by EPA. EPA is listing them for your information only. EPA is not responsible for the content of information from non-EPA sources, and does not endorse any commercial product, service, enterprise, or policy that may be included.

Connecticut

Maine

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

Rhode Island

Vermont

Other National Programs of Interest to Congregations

ENERGY STAR Partners

There are more than 1,300 ENERGY STAR Partners in New England, working with EPA and others to promote energy efficiency in products and in building design.

For a list of ENERGY STAR Partners in New England, click on each state below:

ENERGY STAR Leaders

Those ENERGY STAR Partners who demonstrate continuous improvement organization-wide, not just in individual buildings, qualify for recognition as ENERGY STAR Leaders. Those organizations in New England include:

EPA New England supports our partners by providing training on how to use ENERGY STAR tools and resources, as well as recognition for facilities that earn ENERGY STAR labels and demonstrate innovative energy efficiency.

New England ENERGY STAR Press Releases 

ENERGY STAR Products

Products in more than 40 categories are eligible for the ENERGY STAR. They use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment. Ask for the ENERGY STAR at your local retailer or visit the ENERGY STAR products page.

ENERGY STAR for New Homes

To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes. To learn more about the features of ENERGY STAR qualified new homes, visit the ENERGY STAR New Homes page.

ENERGY STAR home partners in New England

Take the ENERGY STAR Change the World Challenge! Ready to take action beyond municipal buildings? Click here:

Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR. Take the ENERGY STAR Pledge!

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Community Energy Challenge

Community Energy Challenge Basics
Join Our E-mail Group

Contact Cynthia Veit (Veit.Cynthia@epa.gov) if you'd like to be added to the EPA New England Community Energy Challenge E-mail group. You'll receive monthly e-mailings on a wide range of timely and important issues directly relevant to challenge members.

Monthly Email Update Archives »

In the News

Fixed costs like energy are a real budget-buster for fiscally strapped cities like Somerville. For us, reducing our energy usage it is not only responsible health policy, but also sound fiscal management. We recently committed to reducing Somerville's energy consumption by 20% in coming years. The EPA Community Energy Challenge provides us the tools and support we need to track our progress on this important initiative - and we're glad to participate.
- Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor

The Community Energy Challenge is an opportunity for municipalities across New England to identify simple and cost-effective measures that increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use while reducing air pollution and saving money.

Community Energy Challenge members - Case Studies
Read about other New England communities that moved from plan to action in reducing their energy use

Click to view enlarged Map of Communities in the Community Energy Challenge (PDF, 2 pp, 2.8MB). Click for List of Communities in the Challenge Click for List of Communities in the Challenge

The Community Energy Challenge: Step by Step

Click to enlarge photo.EPA is challenging all New England communities to save money and reduce air pollution by assessing their energy use, taking action to improve energy efficiency, and seeking out renewable energy choices. EPA will provide technical assistance to every community that chooses to Take the Challenge! (2 pp, 58 K, MSWORD)

Step 1. Take the Pledge. Agree to assess energy use in your community's schools, municipal buildings or wastewater facilities. Set a target for reductions (at least 10% lower than your baseline) in energy use intensity (energy use per square foot). The timeframe for reductions is up to participants. Submit the commitment letter (2 pp, 58 K, MSWORD).

Step 2. Assess energy use. Allow the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool to help your municipality take control of energy consumption in your municipality. Track energy use per square foot, costs, greenhouse gas emissions. Log onto the ENERGY STAR Web site to assess your buildings with the help of the free ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool. Contact us (see below) with questions. Be sure to take free, online webinars to learn how to use Portfolio Manager and more.

Step 3. Understand opportunities for efficiency. Challenge participants can use ENERGY STAR resources like the Building Upgrade Manual and work with organizations across the region to identify opportunities for energy efficiency and renewables. These groups include:

Click to enlarge photo.

ENERGY STAR
NSTAR
National Grid
ICLEI
CT Energy Efficiency Fund
Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Clean Air Cool Planet
Cool Monadnock

These organizations can help you increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy use within municipal operations and throughout your community as well. For examples of using ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager software to develop an Energy Management Plan for your municipality visit Nashua Regional Planning Commission.

Step 4. Recognize successes.
Let EPA – and the nation – know about your successes. Buildings that perform well are eligible for national ENERGY STAR recognition. With your permission, we'll be collecting information on cost savings as well as energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Just let us know how you're doing, and remember: all data entered into Portfolio Manager are private until you share it with us.

For more information, contact:
CT and NH: Linda Darveau (darveau.linda@epa.gov), (617) 918-1718
Mass: Jason Turgeon (turgeon.jason@epa.gov), (617) 918-1637
ME, RI, VT: Cynthia Veit (veit.cynthia@epa.gov), (617) 918-1666

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Energy & Water Infrastructure

EPA maintains a national webpage devoted to this topic.

Drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately 3-4 percent of energy use in the United States, adding over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually. Further, drinking water and wastewater plants are typically the largest energy consumers of municipal governments, accounting for 30-40 percent of total energy consumed. Energy as a percent of operating costs for drinking water systems can also reach as high as 40 percent and is expected to increase 20 percent in the next 15 years due to population growth and tightening drinking water regulations.

The good news? Studies estimate potential savings of 15-30 percent that are "readily achievable" in water and wastewater plants, with substantial financial returns in the thousands of dollars and within payback periods of only a few months to a few years.

Determining Energy Usage - Provides tools and guidance for water industry professionals.

Cutting Energy Usage & Costs - Provides information on how to develop an overall energy management program based on EPA's Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities as well as system best practices and strategies for making your utility more energy-efficient.

Renewable Energy Options - Provides guidance documents and materials to help water and wastewater facilities implement on-site renewable energy production and/or purchase green energy.

Designing RFPs and Contracts that Promote Energy Improvements at Contract Operated Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities - Contract language between system owners and contracted operators can impede or encourage improvements in energy management. The goal of this document is to encourage communication on the issue of energy efficiency and renewable energy between municipalities and contract operators.

Paying for Energy Efficiency

EPA's Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF) serve as an important source of financing for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Upgrades to decrease energy use are eligible for funding from these programs.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

State Efforts to Promote Energy Efficiency

Some states have programs to assist public water systems and wastewater treatment facilities to better manage their energy use.

Maine - EPA, Efficiency Maine and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently concluded a series of energy management roundtables for water and wastewater facilities in Maine. For more information, contact Gina Snyder (snyder.gina@epa.gov, 617-918-1837). Maine wastewater facilities in the Great Bay/Piscataqua River watersheds are also encouraged to attend a similar series underway in New Hampshire. More information is below.

Massachusetts - From 2007-2009, Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ran a pilot program for energy management in this sector. The results can be found at this link: Energy Management Pilot for Wastewater and Drinking Water Plants. The participating plants, along with several other plants in Massachusetts, received ARRA (stimulus) funding for energy upgrades. A case study about the results of the pilot and the ARRA-funded projects is available at this link (PDF) (8 pp, 988 K).

After the success of the pilot, DEP, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), and EPA New England joined forces to create a statewide program with the goal of introducing energy management techniques to all municipally-owned drinking water and wastewater facilities in the Commonwealth. All facilities will receive outreach and training opportunities and may request technical assistance. In addition, a group of "Energy Leaders" selected because of their size or existing work with energy efficiency and/or renewable energy has been invited to meet. This group will receive additional training and technical assistance, with the goal of increasing the number of facilities in the state that are "Zero Net Energy," meaning they produce as much energy over a year as they consume. A case study on Zero Net Energy facilities is available at this link (PDF) (2 pp, 175 K). For more information, contact Mike DiBara (Michael.Dibara@state.ma.us) at MA DEP or Jason Turgeon (turgeon.jason@epa.gov, 617-918-1637) at EPA Region 1.

This map (PDF) (1 pg, 188 K) shows the water and wastewater facilities and districts in Massachusetts that are working with MA DEP, MA DOER, and EPA New England to address energy use.

New Hampshire - In conjunction with New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NH DES), EPA has recently launched a series of energy management roundtables for wastewater utilities. This series is open to all facilities in New Hampshire but will have a geographical focus in the Great Bay/Piscataqua River watersheds. Facilities in Maine that discharge effluent into these watersheds are also encouraged to attend. For more information or to attend, contact Linda Darveau (darveau.linda@epa.gov, 617-918-1718).

Rhode Island - All 19 wastewater facilities in Rhode Island are working to increase their energy efficiency and use of renewable energy under a State Innovations Grant provided by EPA. For more information, contact Gina Snyder (snyder.gina@epa.gov).

Regional Examples

Lowell, Massachusetts

As energy costs steadily increased in the 1990's the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility (LRWWU) began focusing on energy efficiency, tracking energy costs and cost effective process improvements. As shown in the Energy Use Reduction Chart, since 1996 the facility has decreased energy use by over 35% through investments in high efficiency equipment and adopting an approach that makes energy efficiency a priority.

Some of the key areas that have made the LRWWU energy program so successful include:

  • Making a commitment to incorporating energy efficiency in system designs and operations.
  • Creation of an energy management team within the organization to review energy savings opportunities.
  • Tracking energy use and costs on a regular basis.
  • Performing periodic energy audits.
  • Setting energy saving goals and monitoring results
  • Taking full advantage of utility energy incentive programs to provide evaluations and support for project implementation.
  • Making use of on-site emergency generators to participate in demand response programs.

As the LRWWU continues to refine their program, they have embraced the "Plan-Do-Check-Act" approach in the EPA's new Energy Management Guidebook for Water and Wastewater Utilities. The utility is currently pursuing new energy-related projects including more efficient blowers, green roofs on all buildings, solar panels for electricity, and solar heat for some buildings.

This chart shows annual energy use at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility from 1994-2007. Chart courtesy of LRWWU.

This chart shows annual energy use at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility from 1994-2007. Chart courtesy of LRWWU.

Energy and Water and Wastewater Treatment (PDF) (1 pg, 1 MB)

Narragansett Bay Commission, Rhode Island

The Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) operates Rhode Island’s two largest wastewater treatment facilities, providing wastewater collection and treatment for ten cities and towns including the City of Providence.  The two facilities, which receive both wastewater and stormwater flow, use a combined total of 27,000,000 kWh per year.  For years, the NBC has pursued an active strategy of energy management planning to reduce energy costs and associated effects on the environment. In 2008, the Commission received an EPA State Innovations Grant to work on Energy Management Planning with all 19 wastewater treatment facilities in the state.

Using the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” principles in EPA's Ensuring a Sustainable Future: An Energy Management Guidebook for Wastewater and Water Utilities (PDF) (113 pp, 1.2 MB) and the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool as a basis for their work, the NBC developed an energy management plan for its own facilities that included audits, operational changes, energy efficient equipment purchases, and renewable energy projects at both of its facilities.

This chart shows the distribution of total electrical cost for one of the two treatment facilities.

This chart shows the distribution of total electrical cost for one of the two treatment facilities.

The Commission put together an Energy Team that included facility superintendents and managers, engineers, electricians, the finance manager, contractors from the local electric and gas utility, and students from the University of Rhode Island. The Energy Team developed an energy policy and baseline reports, and incorporated audit findings to develop a set of targets and a prioritized list of projects that are expected to reduce the facility's grid purchased electricity use by 22%.

Project Estimated Annual Energy Savings (kWh) Estimated Annual Renewable Energy Generation (kWh)
Electric Heater Efficiency Modifications 12,352  
VFDs for WWTF Water Pumps 387,617  
VFDs for WWTF Primary Sludge Pumps 55,112  
VFD and Controls for WWTF Primary Sludge Pump 38,546  
Heat Pump for WWTF Bi-Sulfite Storage Building 35,040  
VFD and Controls for WWTF Head-works Exhaust Fan 43,036  
High Efficiency Linear Mixer for WWTF Anaerobic Digester 100,499  
WWTF Lighting Upgrade 15,838  
WWTF Administrative Building Lighting Upgrade 99,895  
Wind Turbine Renewable Energy   7,000,000
Biogas Renewable Energy   5,000,000
Total 787,935 12,000,000
% of Total NBC Electrical Energy Use 2.5% 38.2%

This table shows the energy efficiency and renewable projects that the Narragansett Bay Commission is planning on implementing in 2012 at its two facilities.

Saco, Maine

The City of Saco, Maine, operates a small wastewater treatment plant with an average daily flow of 2.2 million gallons per day.  Although conventional wisdom holds that smaller facilities are inherently less efficient than larger facilities due to economies of scale, the Saco wastewater facility has proven to be the exception to the rule.  The facility, which pursues a strategy of continuous improvement and has participated in many of EPA New England’s trainings on Energy Management Planning, consistently scores in the top 5% of plants of its size for energy efficiency as rated by the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, and achieves results that rival many of its larger counterparts. 

Over the years, the facility has tweaked its operations to be as efficient as possible and has always worked to choose the most efficient equipment when making upgrades.  In addition, the facility has pioneered the use of cost-effective solar heating and geothermal heating using plant effluent as a heat source, virtually eliminating its use of imported fuel oil for building heat and saving thousands of dollars per heating season.

This chart shows the 88% reduction in heating oil use at the Saco WastewaterTreatment Plant from the 2004-2005 heating season through the 2010-2011 heating season.

This chart shows the 88% reduction in heating oil use at the Saco WastewaterTreatment Plant from the 2004-2005 heating season through the 2010-2011 heating season.

This aerial photo shows the many energy efficient and renewable energy upgrades that have been implemented at the Saco Wastewater Treatment Plant in the last decade.

This aerial photo shows the many energy efficient and renewable energy upgrades that have been implemented at the Saco Wastewater Treatment Plant in the last decade.

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Renewable Energy

This section of the site houses information on renewable energy including biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, ocean, solar and wind.

Renewable energy is energy that is produced from renewable sources such as the sun, wind, ocean, plants or waste. While some types of renewable energy have fewer environmental impacts than others, it is generally acknowledged that producing energy from renewable sources has fewer adverse environmental impacts than energy from fossil fuels. Please see the links below for information on common renewable sources, siting and development issues, funding, and policies and regulations.

Sources of Renewable Energy

Siting, Development, Promotion and Funding

  • State and Federal Incentives
  • Funding
    • DSIREusa: Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency includes Federal, State, Local and Utility Incentives
  • Siting renewables on contaminated land
    EPA is encouraging the development of renewable energy by identifying currently and formerly contaminated lands and mining sites that present opportunities for renewable energy development. Using these cleaned-up areas to site renewable energy facilities is one potential way to help meet the growing national demand for renewable energy while lessening pressure on greenspace and providing economically viable and socially beneficial futures for sites that are currently under-used or vacant.
  • 25x’25
    The goal of the 25x'25 program is for the United States to get 25 percent of its energy from renewable resources like wind, solar, and biofuels by the year 2025. In New England, the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont have officially endorsed the 25x'25 vision.
  • Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) is a voluntary assistance program through the US EPA that helps to reduce methane emissions from landfills by encouraging the recovery and beneficial use of landfill gas (LFG) as an energy resource. LFG contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas that can be captured and used to fuel power plants, manufacturing facilities, vehicles, homes, and more. By joining LMOP, companies, state agencies, organizations, landfills, and communities gain access to a vast network of industry experts and practitioners, as well as to various technical and marketing resources that can help with LFG energy project development.

Other Federal and Non Governmental Organization Links

  • US Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has set up task forces in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and they are in the process of setting up one for the state of Maine. For more information on the Bureau visit their web site.
  • Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
    Promotes the understanding, development, and adoption of energy conservation and non-polluting, renewable energy technologies.

Policies and Regulations

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