Green Communities Update: 2021 investments; 5 yrs of investments estimating return of $100K+ in annual savings

Above: Purchasing a hybrid police cruiser was one of the ways that Southborough is using Mass’ Green Communities Program to reduce the Town’s energy/fuel bills while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (L-R contributed photo and program logo)

For five years, Southborough has been receiving annual state grants to fund green projects for qualifying communities. The Green Communities Program has invested over $1M in municipal projects since 2017. Last year’s grant was $200,000 to fund five projects for the Town.

According to the Town’s announcement, the Town is projected to save $30,647 per year in lowered fuel/utility costs just from those projects. From the entire five year’s worth of grants, the savings is estimated as over $100K per year.

You might wonder if the Town’s savings are worth the state’s investment, given that would take 10 years to zero out. But while the Town is reaping the savings benefits of pursuing grants, the state’s goal is reducing greenhouse gas emissions impacting climate change. One example from 2021, a hybrid police cruiser, is estimated to reduce “14 tons of greenhouse gas each year”.

Below are the details on how Southborough used the grant awarded in 2021:

Green Communities Program Funds
Purchase of Energy Efficient Police Cruiser
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

For the fifth consecutive year, the Town of Southborough has been the recipient of a Green Communities Grant. The Green Communities Division (GCD) of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources provides grants, technical assistance, and local support to help municipalities reduce energy use and costs by implementing clean energy projects in municipal buildings, facilities, and schools. To qualify for grants, communities need to demonstrate they meet Five Designation Criteria established by the Green Communities Program.

Hybrid Cruiser (contributed photo)This year one of the benefits from this grant program was the purchase of a new Patrol Cruiser for Southborough’s Police Department. This vehicle replaces an older vehicle with a new 2021 Ford Police Interceptor Utility AWD Hybrid. The town not only benefits from the purchase of a new cruiser with grant funds, it also will continually see benefits from reduced operating costs. The older vehicle, with a fuel efficiency rated at 12 MPG, has been replaced with the new vehicle, rated at 24 MPG. The application for the grant funds used a fuel cost of $1.93 to project a savings of $3,178 annually and a reduction of 14 tons of greenhouse gas each year. With current higher fuel prices, even greater savings are anticipated.

Other achievements not as noticeable as a shiny new police cruiser, but just as noteworthy, are:

  • Phase 3 upgrading to LED lighting at Mary Finn School reducing the annual consumption of electrical energy by 35,845 kWh and producing an anticipated annual cost savings of $6,093.
  • Phase 2 upgrading to LED lighting at P. Brent Trottier School reducing the annual consumption of electrical energy by 44,437 kWh and producing an anticipated annual cost savings of $7,554.
  • Phase 2 upgrading to LED lighting at Margaret A. Neary School reducing the annual consumption of electrical energy by 66,184 kWh and producing an anticipated annual cost savings of $11,251.
  • Installation of new high efficiency electrical transformers at P. Brent Trottier School. The new transformers reduce the heat loss associated with older devices reducing the loss of electrical energy passing through the transformers by 15,127 kWh annually and producing an anticipated annual cost savings of $2,571.

Each of the LED lighting projects noted above is a multi-phased project with each phase resulting in reduced operating costs. Continued participation in the Green Communities Program should help fund these projects to completion. The total funding for Southborough’s five years of Green Communities projects is now $1,042,865. With the addition of this year’s anticipated annual cost savings of $30,647, the projected combined annual operating costs savings from all of Southborough’s Green Communities funded projects over the past 5 years is over $100,000. Additionally, these projects will result in substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. With the timely completion of 2021’s projects, Southborough intends to seek additional grant funding in 2022.

Each year Southborough’s Facility Management Team, under the leadership of Facilities Director John Parent, focuses on obtaining the maximum benefit the town can receive from the Green Communities program. This year was no exception.

You can read about the Town’s past Green Communities projects here.

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Carl Guyer
1 year ago


Here is quick update on how things are going with getting a handle on the ever increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.

6 to 7 years ago when I was championing the idea Southborough should take advantage of the benefits of the Green Communities Program the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was just crossing the 400 ppm (parts per million) mark. In 2022 the concentration should hit the 420 ppm.

Not that long ago concentrations over 350 were considered the upper limit when serious effects would start to be seen. That has not changed, and now we are approaching the 450 mark in this decade.

Hang on, it is going to get interesting.

1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Guyer

Exhaled breath is 35,000-50,000 PPM. Maybe less of the hot air from climate alarmists and more reasonable approaches to being environmentally conscience. Why not invest our resources into technologies to extract CO2 from the atmosphere? That chemistry is known. What is not easy is removing heavy metals from the environment. You know, the ones in the defunct solar panels and lithium batteries in those electric cars.

Anyways, I’m a million percent against the climate agendas being pursued. This particular program is excellent and I applaud it.

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