Lowell, Massachusetts wraps up energy efficiency project

Lowell, Mass., July 18, 2012 — Ameresco, Inc. completed of a multi-tiered energy services program with the city of Lowell, Massachusetts.

All told, the city-wide infrastructure upgrade and energy efficiency project, which included 47 of Lowell’s municipal buildings, is expected to produce annual energy savings of more than $1.5 million over a 20-year contract. This represents about 25 percent savings overall. In 2010, Lowell earned the Green Community designation from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

As part of the of the ESPC, Ameresco implemented over 23 energy conservation measures, including electrical, mechanical, weatherization, water and operational upgrades at 28 schools and 19 municipal facilities. Boiler and chiller replacements were installed at city hall, Lowell Pollard Memorial Library, and the JFK Civic Center, allowing improved comfort at all the facilities.

Originally identified under the ESPC, Ameresco designed, installed, and now operates five roof-top mounted solar PV systems totaling 341.9 kW at three elementary schools, a middle school, and the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

Through a power purchase agreement that will allow Lowell to accrue green community and environmental benefits, the new system will allow the city to purchase electricity at a discounted rate over a 20-year contract term without incurring capital costs. Ameresco is currently in the design phase of a second 1.9 kW PV project for a ground-mounted system on a capped landfill.

Due to on-going budget constraints and increasing operational costs, the city of Lowell was facing needed infrastructure upgrades with limited funding. By partnering with Ameresco in an ESPC, Lowell was able to replace outdated equipment and aging municipal infrastructure, lower utility costs and partially fund a city energy manager position, all on a budget-neutral basis without any upfront capital investment.

In addition, as a result of the energy efficiency measures implemented during the first phase of the project, Lowell is expected to save the equivalent of 6,158 tons of carbon dioxide annually or equal to removing 1,023 cars from the road per year.

In addition to its work with the city of Lowell, Ameresco has a lengthy track record of partnering with entities such as the Lowell Housing Authority and other local municipalities through ESPC to improve their infrastructure and progress closer to their sustainability goals even with a constrained budget.

This model is a budget-neutral way to reduce energy use and associated costs, and renews facilities and building systems without burdening shrinking capital budgets. Ameresco guarantees a minimum level of energy savings to the city of Lowell over the term of the contract offsetting the costs of these improvements.

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