SOMERVILLE, Mass. - The city of Somerville and Honeywell highlighted the benefits of a new $7.8-million energy conservation and building modernization program. The program, which builds on two previous energy projects Honeywell managed for Somerville, leverages energy-efficiency upgrades and renewable energy technologies to decrease the city’s utility costs and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent.

As part of the overall program, the city and Honeywell also launched the Act! Earth sustainability initiative during a community fair held at City Hall. The initiative will include a variety of educational workshops and informational materials for city employees, students, and school faculty to help improve energy awareness, promote a cleaner, healthier environment, and augment the impact of the facility upgrades.

Funded through a 20-year performance contract, the energy retrofit program is expected to cut more than $450,000 in annual energy and operating costs. The city will use the energy savings, which are guaranteed by Honeywell, to pay for the improvements. As a result, the work will not increase city operating budgets.

“We’ve made a long-term pledge to conservation and sustainability, and this program with Honeywell is central to that effort,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “The combination of facility improvements and the Act! Earth initiative ensures we can improve our facilities while also reducing carbon emissions, and with no additional cost to taxpayers.”

The improvements reduced electricity consumption by more than 1.4 million kilowatt-hours in the first year after Honeywell completed the upgrades - enough energy to power approximately 130 homes annually. They also significantly cut fuel oil consumption and decreased carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 3.5 million pounds.

The energy retrofits and Act! Earth initiative will help the city meet goals outlined in its Sustainability and Energy Conservation Plan, as well as fulfill commitments it has adopted as part of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

The Honeywell program incorporates a variety of conservation measures across more than 20 city facilities and schools, including upgrades to HVAC equipment, updated building controls, installation of energy-efficient lighting and low-flow water fixtures, and building envelope improvements.

The city has also adopted several renewable energy technologies to help reduce energy costs and offset its carbon footprint, including:

• Installation of two solar photovoltaic systems: one at Somerville High School to displace purchased electricity, and the other at John F. Kennedy Elementary School to provide a renewable source of thermal energy to heat the swimming pool.

• Implementation of a cogeneration system at the Public Safety Building that produces electricity for the building and heats water for the facility’s boilers.

• Purchase of $20,000 in green energy credits for 20 percent of the energy load for City Hall.

“We understand how facility systems and maintenance, and the way people interact with the building, all play a critical role in shaping the health of a facility,” said Paul Orzeske, president of Honeywell Building Solutions. “We’re hitting on all aspects of a successful sustainability program through our work with Somerville, and we see this project as an opportunity to help an entire community realize energy savings and reduce environmental impact.”

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Publication date:12/20/2010