By Tom Daniel
The City of Gloucester recently received a Green Communities Competitive Grant from the Commonwealth. These funds provide the necessary resources to overhaul and replace the out-of-date heating system at the O’Maley Innovation School. By the end of October, the new natural gas-fired heating and hot water system will deliver 96% percent energy efficiency, creating $120,000 in annual savings and reducing the school’s carbon footprint by 16%.
The O’Maley School is currently Gloucester’s second-largest energy consuming facility with an oil heat system installed more than 40 years ago. The oil heat system generated excessive carbon emissions and had high energy costs. The new system fits in perfectly with Gloucester’s ongoing commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and create a cleaner energy future for all residents. (To learn more about energy efficiency in all its forms and find solutions for your own home, visit the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s guide).
The $250,000 from the grant is essential in terms of advancing the O’Maley School heating system upgrades—and all of the environmental benefits—within the current City budget. Thanks to the grant, workers will complete the installation of the new system by the start of the heating season. For several years, Gloucester has developed initiatives that will reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint while delivering savings to local taxpayers. The recent success is a step in the right direction.
Gloucester’s status as a Green Community, first achieved in 2010, allows the City to apply for over $7.9 million in grant funds to implement energy efficiency projects. The statewide program funds clean energy projects in 43 cities and towns across Massachusetts. This most recent grant awarded to Gloucester is the highest possible allocation that the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) offers for Green Community projects. The Green Community projects are managed collaboratively by the Department of Public Works and the Community Development Department with support from the Clean Energy Commission. Together these two departments and Commission are working to develop and fund additional energy reductions projects.