Northampton’s municipal energy consumption down 18 percent in last three years
NORTHAMPTON — When it comes to energy conservation, Northampton’s government is practicing what it preaches.
Two years ago the city inked a deal with an energy services company to conduct a comprehensive energy-efficiency audit that led to $6.5 million in capital improvements in nearly every city building, library and school.
Those improvements included converting to energy sources with lower greenhouse gas emissions, such as solar electric systems, and switching from fuel-oil heating systems to ones that use natural gas.
Other projects included lighting upgrades, new windows, plumbing improvements, solar hot water units and a centrally controlled energy-management system.
New buildings, such as the police station, are being constructed to high-efficiency standards.
Mayor David J. Narkewicz said last week that between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, the city has seen an 18 percent reduction in its overall energy use and a 27 percent drop in energy use in its buildings.
The mayor has estimated that the upgrades will reduce city energy bills by more than $400,000 a year and reduce its carbon footprint by over 3 million pounds a year.
“We are well on our way to achieving our goal as a green community by reducing our overall energy consumption as a city by 20 percent by fiscal 2014,” Narkewicz said. Northampton was among the first municipalities to qualify for the state’s Green Communities Act, making it eligible for grants for energy efficiency and other projects.
Now the city is bringing its energy-saving efforts to the business community. Northampton Leading the Way, a partnership with local utilities and the Center for EcoTechnology, helps city businesses with energy-efficiency planning.
“We’re trying to expand the efforts that we’ve been doing as a city to our own buildings to the rest of the community,” Narkewicz said at a press conference last week.
Officials also hope to help residents make similar improvements to their homes, he said.