The City of Lowell was one of four municipalities recognized by Governor Deval Patrick’s 5th Annual “Leading by Example Program” for successfully reducing energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and taking other steps to improve overall environmental quality at public facilities at a ceremony at the State House on Wednesday.
Mayor Jim Milinazzo stated how pleased he was the city was recognized for its work in the area of energy conservation and sustainability. “Our investment to become a “Green Community” by reducing energy use and taking steps to improve overall environmental quality at public facilities is something this city council and the administration, along with members of the Green Commission, have been focusing on over the last few years. I am pleased Governor Patrick and members of his administration recognized our efforts with this Leading By Example Award.”
Lowell, which garnered a “Green Communities Designation” from the Department of Energy Resources in 2010, entered into a partnership with Ameresco to conduct an energy audit and identify ways to upgrade existing infrastructure with renewable energy solutions funded by energy saving performance contracting (ESPC) and creative financing which included Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds and Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds. Through the partnership with Ameresco the City is leveraging over $1 million in utility rebates as well as $250,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to implement a comprehensive $21 million performance contract and power purchase agreement. The comprehensive performance contract is being implemented across 47 city-owned buildings, nearly 3 million square feet of building space, including schools and city facilities. These projects include a 341 kW solar PV array, electricity conservation measures, mechanical improvements, and the weatherization of buildings. All told the $21 million project will pay for itself out of savings in 20 years.
On hand to accept the award from Richard Sullivan, Secretary, Executive Office of Environmental and Energy Affairs were City Manager Bernie Lynch, Adam Baacke, Assistant City Manager, Tom Moses, CFO and Aaron Clausen, Associate Planner, and Hal Meyer, Ameresco. “I want to thank the delegation for their support of the City’s efforts to be a leader in the pursuit of clean energy efforts,” stated Bernie Lynch, City Manager. “I also want to acknowledge the members of the City Council who had the foresight to recognize the potential of the Ameresco project to address the important city priorities of improving our facilities, saving money and being environmentally proactive in reducing the use of energy.”