The most challenging criteria for a Green Community is the Energy Reduction Plan (ERP). The town must strive to achieve an overall 20% reduction in energy use for municipal buildings and vehicles over five years.
For Stow, our baseline year was FY2015. An audit of municipal energy use showed that 44% percent of energy was used for town vehicles (primarily police, fire, and highway). This made our ERP even more challenging as there are few options available to significantly reduce total vehicle fuel use so the burden falls on building energy use.
An energy efficiency audit for each town building showed the Town Hall, Fire Department, and Police Department used the most energy per square foot. Fortunately, the baseline year occurred before the Fire Department was moved to the renovated Pompositticut School which incorporated a number of energy efficiency measures as part of the renovation. In addition, the HVAC system for the Police Department required a total upgrade and, with the support of a consultant, a new HVAC system was designed using energy efficient heat pumps in place of the existing furnaces and, in addition to funds appropriated by the town, the majority of the initial Green Community grant was to fund this project.
The balance of the initial Green Communities grant of $144,115 was used to improve the lighting at Randall Library by switching to all LED lighting on the first floor and second floor and for exterior lighting. This cost of the project was jointly covered by Green Communities grant funds and the Hudson Light & Power Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
A progress report for calendar year 2017 shows a total municipal energy saving of 13% compared to our baseline year. This report does not include anticipated savings from the Police HVAC project and represents a very good start to our goal of 20%. The next major project is the HVAC system of the Town Building and, it is hoped, the town will be awarded a Green Communities competitive grant to help offset the cost.