Community Music School celebrates completion of renewable energy solution

Date: 5/29/2013

SPRINGFIELD – The Community Music School of Springfield announced on May 23 the completion of a comprehensive green heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to its historic building.

The new renewable energy system incorporates an innovative design that taps geothermal and solar thermal resources to realize significant energy savings and greenhouse gas reduction.

The accomplishment was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony featuring Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Commissioner Mark Sylvia, MassCEC Director of Market Development Galen Nelson, Western Massachusetts Electric Vice President Robert S. Coates Jr. and Columbia Gas Director of Energy Efficiency Elizabeth Cellucci.

This project provides an excellent case study of the application and use of renewable thermal energy systems that apply heat recovery, solar thermal and geothermal technologies in a historic building in reduces emissions and energy use as well provides significant energy cost savings to the Community Music School.

In September 2012, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced that the Community Music School had received $124,000 in grant funding from ReBuild Western Massachusetts and low-income solar thermal programs. The ReBuild Western Massachusetts program was formed by the Patrick-Murray Administration to help communities rebuild after the June 1, 2011 tornado, by providing grants and no-interest loans so that businesses, nonprofits and residents could integrate energy efficiency practices and renewable energy technologies.

"The completion of the Community Music School's bold, innovative energy project deserves this celebration," DOER Commissioner Mark Sylvia said. "Not only is this a demonstration of the impact energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements can have on maintenance budgets and energy bills, but it's made this school a comfortable place for the students and staff to play music and expand their horizons."

Since its inception in September 2011, ReBuild Western Massachusetts has committed $1.5 million in direct or leveraged assistance to affected homeowners and business owners in Springfield, Brimfield, Monson, Sturbridge, Charlton, Agawam, West Springfield, Wilbraham and Southbridge. ReBuild Western Massachusetts is run jointly by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the DOER.

The low-income solar thermal program installs solar hot water systems on multi-family residential and nonprofit facilities serving low income residents of the Commonwealth providing a demonstration program to show the reduction in energy costs, education and improvement in competitiveness and consistency of solar thermal projects.

"We hope this project serves as an inspiration to the more than 1,400 students who pass through these doors each year to embrace a clean energy future," MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton said.

The Community Music School also received incentives from Western Massachusetts Electric and Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, as well as a loan from MassDevelopment to help facilitate the work.

"We're happy we were able to help make the installation of high-efficiency heating and cooling systems possible with an energy efficiency rebate of more than $140,000," WMECo Vice President Bob Coates said. "This investment will continue saving the school hundreds of thousands of dollars well into the future."

The project was supported by the Massachusetts Historic Commission and the Massachusetts Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, chaired by William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth. Many community partners, including MassMutual Financial Group, Beveridge Foundation, The Davis Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Mass, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and Gregory Farmer, Agricola Corporation were instrumental in supporting and funding of this project.

Design and construction partners include Harry Grodsky & Co, Blake Equipment Company, RES Solar, Paradigm Partners, ABCD, BEAM, Collins Electric, LaFramboise Well Drilling and Automatic Logic.