Medfield Energy Committee 2016 Annual Report
To the Honorable Selectmen and residents of Medfield
The Energy Committee was chartered by the Select Board in 2008 to help the Town reduce energy consumption and reduce operating costs. We have been making steady progress on reducing energy use and supporting generation of renewable energy.
The Town of Medfield used 48,966 MM BTU of energy costing $762,000 in calendar year 2016. Partially due to a milder winter, energy usage was 24% lower and costs were 23% below 2015.
In April 2016, the Solar Array at the Medfield Waste Water Treatment Plant was completed and put on-line. Since June, the panels have generated 181,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, saving the Town $19,000. The panels have provided about 58% of the WWTP electricity. The Solar project, approved at 2015 Town Meeting, was budgeted at $700,000, but with the continuing fall in the price of solar panels, was completed $240,000 under budget. The surplus was set aside and included in funding of $390,000 for a 155 KW solar panel installation on the Town Garage. The project, planned for 2017, was approved at the 2016 Town Meeting.
A 60KW solar panel installation on the new Public Safety Building was completed in December as a change order on the project, which is under budget. These panels are expected to generate 20% of the building electricity.
The Energy Committee has been working to qualify Medfield as a Green Community since 2011. In 2014 the adoption of the Solar By-Law accomplished the first two of the 5 elements necessary to qualify as a Green Community. In 2015, the Energy Efficient Vehicle policy was adopted. The final two elements were achieved in 2016:
- The Stretch Energy Code was adopted at the April 25, 2016 Town Meeting
- A plan for 20% reduction in Town energy use from a 2015 baseline was developed by the Energy Manager and the Energy Committee and was adopted by both the School Committee and the Select Board in November.
The Energy Committee completed the Green Communities application and submitted it to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources November 21st. The review of the application went well, and the Town is expecting to be notified of acceptance in January. At that time, the Town will receive a grant of $148,000 for energy improvement projects.
The Energy Committee said goodbye to Andrew Seaman who served as Energy Manager since 2014. Andrew saved the Town many thousands of dollars by renegotiating power contracts, completing energy improvement projects and pushing through the installation of solar panels. Jerry McCarty, the Town Facilities Director has taken on the role of Energy Manager in addition to his other duties.
Medfield was accepted into the Solarize Massachusetts Solar Challenge program in May. Solarize Medfield encouraged homeowners to install solar panels by offering lower installation costs as more installations were signed-up. New England Clean Energy was the selected vendor. At the completion of the program at the end of November, 91 homes were assessed for solar panels and 89 were considered feasible. 16 homes totaling 155.86 KW of generating capacity signed contracts for installation of solar panels. The program achieved tier 4 of 5, which provided an estimated savings of $900 per installation. The Energy Committee continues to encourage homeowners and businesses to consider installing solar panels. Return on investment for home solar generation exceeds 10%.
In 2017, the Energy Committee will be working on energy improvement projects as outlined in the Green Communities 5 year plan. Projects for 2017 will be identified to that make the most effective use of the $148,000 initial grant.
Conversion of the 347 streetlights in the Town to LEDs is under consideration. The lights are currently owned by Eversource, but they have agreed to transfer the lights to the Town for $1. With a potential DOER grant & Eversource incentives, the net installation cost of $68,000 would be paid off in 2.1 years by the $32,600 annual energy savings. A maintenance contract acceptable to the Town is currently being sought.
The Medfield Energy Committee usually meets on the second Thursday evening of the month in the Town Garage. The public is invited to attend the meetings, participate in the discussion and offer help in reducing energy consumption in the Town. Residents interested in becoming a member of the Energy Committee are encouraged to contact the Town Administrator for consideration.
Fred Bunger, Chair
Jerry McCarty, Facilities Director, Ex-Officio
Osler Peterson, Selectman, Ex-Officio
Michael Sullivan, Town Administrator, Ex-Officio