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Sunderland considers energy-saving changes

SUNDERLAND — The town could save more than $10,000 a year if it retrofits the lighting in the public safety complex, highway garage, the town office building and the wastewater treatment plant.

Replacing the lighting at the four town buildings with more efficient lights could net an energy savings of 68,204 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year in electricity.

The lighting retrofits may start as early as this week, Town Administrator Margaret Nartowicz said.

Universal Electric Co. of Springfield will undertake the project.

The Energy Committee proposed the retrofit projects, which involves replacing existing lights with more efficient ones, such as LED lights, after conducting an energy audit of municipal buildings. The committee determined retrofitting the town buildings would create the most savings, and pay for themselves within two years.

“These are the low-hanging fruit,” said Aaron Falbel, an Energy Committee member.

Although the retrofits will primarily be LED lights, in some instances, existing fluorescent light bulbs will be replaced with fluorescent bulbs with reduced wattage and higher efficiency. This is the case with the town office building, which already uses florescent light bulbs.

Currently, the public safety complex and highway garage together use 138,618 kilowatt hours of energy per year. Retrofitting the complex would save 42,448 kWh per year, or 30.6 percent. The project would cost $32,893, but $21,387 in utility incentives could drop the price to $11,506.

The town office building uses 50,912 kilowatt hours per year. Retrofitting the town office would save 7,583 kWh per year, or 14.9 percent. The project costs $9,225. Yet, with $3,664 in possible utility incentives, the project cost could decrease to $5,561.

The wastewater treatment plant and pumping station uses 160,062 kilowatts per year. The projected savings is 18,173 kWh, or 11.4 percent. The project cost would be $22,002. If the town receives $8,663 in utility incentives, the project cost could drop to $13,339.

The lighting project is another step in the town’s effort to save energy. In August, the town earned the Green Community designation that makes municipalities eligible for renewable power and energy-efficiency grants. The state awarded the town $146,450.

Whether the town can use Green Community funding for the projects remains a question, Nartowicz said. However, the town could request $30,407 from Green Communities. If Green Community funding is available, the town would see savings from the start of the projects. If not, the town expects the projects to pay for themselves in two years.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at::
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268

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