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Massachusetts District Helps City Save Millions with Solar Installations

A school district has been the focus of upgrades for a city-wide energy reduction program that's anticipated to save Revere, MA about $700,000 a year for the next 15 years. Remodels at Revere Public Schools encompassed multiple projects. The largest consisted of dual gymnasium rooftop replacements at Beachmont Veterans Memorial School that included installation of a photovoltaic solar array expected to reduce the city's annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2,843 tons. That part of the program cost $3.2 million, which was defrayed by a $485,500 Department of Energy grant.

The district has also implemented a new "smart" energy management application that integrates energy consumption information with building controls at multiple facilities to optimize the use of heating, ventilation, and other climate systems. That includes a software tool to measure, manage, and reduce power used by the school's computers during unoccupied periods. Authorized users can monitor energy usage via a Web browser.

The $10.3 million district retrofit was done by energy service company Ameresco, which also secured incentives and rebates from a state sustainable energy trust and the local electric and gas utilities, totaling nearly $750,000. The bulk of the bill will be paid through combined energy and operational savings that the city reported it will receive over the next 15 years. Those savings are expected to total more than $13 million.

"As with most older, urban communities, Revere has many aging facilities, which are in need of repairs, upgrades and improvements. In the course of its work, Ameresco uncovered significant savings opportunities which allowed the city to fund the necessary capital improvements to these buildings," said City of Revere Mayor Thomas Ambrosino.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.