Top Massachusetts officials have announced a program to reduce energy consumption. It targets the largest energy user in Massachusetts, which is the state government.
Energy efficiency and conservation improvements will be made at 700 state owned facilities including more than 4000 buildings. The initiative, called the Accelerated Energy Program, aims to complete all the work within the next 700 days, according to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Rick Sullivan.
The goal of the program is to slash the state’s energy bill by between 20-25%. State agencies and campuses spend over $250 million on energy annually.
The projects involve energy retrofits such as new heating and cooling systems, weatherization, and energy efficient lighting. There will be some solar energy installations. The total cost for all the work is more than $400 million, which Sullivan said will be paid for over time using the estimated annual energy savings of $43 million.
Sullivan said the program will help advance the state toward the energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals and renewable energy goals established by Governor Deval Patrick in a 2007 executive order. The program will also create an estimated 4000 jobs in the clean energy field, a sector of the state’s economy where employment has grown 20 percent in the last two years.
The projects target everything from courthouses to college campuses in every corner of the state. Most are older buildings that have not seen improvements in decades, according to Massachusetts Energy Commissioner Mark Sylvia.
The program was announced Tuesday at Springfield Technical Community College where a heating and cooling system, described as “ antiquated” will be replaced to result in an annual savings of $447,000.
State Senator Gale Candaras said there are a lot of state facilities in western Massachusetts that need these types of improvements
The Accelerated Energy Program builds on an earlier initiative that used $10 million in federal stimulus money to do energy improvements at state buildings.