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Going Green Again – Town passes the million-dollar mark after winning another Green Community Grant from the state

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By Mark E. Vogler


Saugus received a $200,000 Green Communities Competitive Grant last week from the state Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to fund clean energy and energy-efficient projects. The town was one of 50 communities across the state receiving $7.7 million in grant money awards from the DOER. It marked the sixth time the town received the grant since being designated a “Green Community” in 2015. With the latest grant, the town has received $1.1-million from the program over the past decade.

“These are competitive grants that fund projects that are beneficial for both the environment and for Saugus taxpayers, saving money on utility costs,” Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree said in a press statement this week.

“Saugus is committed to sustainability and our commitment is clearly recognized by the Commonwealth. I would like to thank the Healy/Driscoll Administration, Secretary of EOEEA Rebecca Tepper, Director of the Green Communities Division, Joanne Bissetta, the Legislature, and the Town’s state delegation for their continued support of these important initiatives.”

Projects that will be funded through this grant include:

  • $79,942, DPW – air source heat pump
  • $12,452, DPW – weatherization door sealing
  • $65,440, Senior Center – heat pump RTU
  • $32,166, Senior Center – weatherization door sealing
  • $10,000, Town – administrative assistance

“This funding will support the needed green upgrades in our town, which includes our DPW and our Senior Center,” Board of Selectmen Chair Debra Panetta said.

“This is a win-win for Saugus, where we will be saving taxpayer money while also reducing our carbon footprint and being environmentally focused. I would like to thank our Town Manager for always looking for grant opportunities for our community,” she said.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Jeffrey Cicolini commended the town manager and his staff for their ongoing efforts to secure millions of dollars in grant money for Saugus. “Not only do these green grants allow us to ensure we are putting our best foot forward in reducing our carbon footprint and we are doing our part with energy conservation and reducing our reliance on natural resources, we do it without increasing the tax burden on our residents,” Cicolini said.

“This grant as well as the many other grants the town has received in addition to the green community grants demonstrates the persistence and commitment that our administration has to explore all funding sources that are available to us. These successes allow us to invest in our community and make certain our Town remains attractive and desirable to our current and future residents while avoiding the need for any additional tax burden on our community.”

Projects funded through prior grants have included:

  • The conversion from incandescent and fluorescent bulbs to LED in several town buildings, including Town Hall and the Senior Center, the exterior of the Public Safety Building, and at the DPW, reducing electrical costs by more than $30,000 annually
  • Roof replacement and a new roof unit on the Public Safety Building, ensuring proper functioning, improved interior air quality and uniform temperatures within the building
  • The replacement of pumps, drives and motors on the heating system in Town Hall, which included high-efficiency motors, reducing wear-and-tear and energy use costs
  • The replacement of the hot water boiler at Town Hall to reduce energy consumption and costs

Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding. The grants provide financial support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the designated communities’ clean energy goals and are awarded to existing Green Communities that have successfully invested their initial designation grants and previous competitive grant awards. With the exception of $500,000 building decarbonization grants, awards are capped at $200,000 per municipality.

“Reducing energy use is good for municipal budgets and good for our climate,” Governor Maura Healey said. “It’s important to recognize the hard work being done by our cities and towns to address climate change. Local action is essential to help Massachusetts meet its climate goals. We are happy to support these communities as they move forward with projects that help make Massachusetts a healthier and more affordable place to live and do business.”

Members of the town’s state legislative delegation said in a joint press release that the state’s investment in Saugus aligns with the broader statewide effort to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We are grateful to the Department of Energy Resources for awarding us this grant, which will be instrumental in aiding the Town of Saugus to continue its commitment to a green and sustainable future,” Rep. Donald Wong (R-Saugus) said.

State Rep. Jessica Giannino (D-Revere) said making investments to improve energy conservation measures in municipal facilities “will pay dividends in the future for the residents of Saugus.”

“The funding to secure these improvements will ensure that our community has clean and efficient energy sources in these spaces and will save tax dollars in the long run,” Rep. Giannino said.

State Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) noted that the latest grant allows the town “to implement crucial upgrades that will benefit the community and the environment.”

“These efforts will help advance Saugus’ efforts towards a greener and more sustainable future,” Crighton said.

Here is a summary of the six Green Community grants received by the town:

  • December 2015, $208,335 to fund energy conservation measures, electric vehicle purchase, EV charging station, lighting, HVAC improvements, variable frequency drives and motors, and administrative costs in municipal facilities, including Veterans Memorial and Belmonte Middle Schools, and vehicle fleet
  • July 2017, $242,903 to fund energy conservation measures in municipal facilities, including Public Safety Building and Public Library. The energy conservation measures funded by this grant are interior LED lighting retrofits, exterior LED lighting retrofits, commissioning, efficient motors, energy management system upgrade, and rooftop unit replacement
  • July 2018, $238,560 to fund energy conservation measures, interior and exterior lighting, rooftop unit replacement, pumps/motors/drives, hot water boiler, and administrative costs in municipal facilities, including Public Safety Building, Town Hall and Senior Center
  • August 2019, $135,565 to fund energy conservation measures, lighting, RTU replacement, and administrative and technical support in municipal facilities, including DPW, Town Hall Annex and Public Safety
  • January 2022, $118,844 to fund energy conservation measures, variable frequency drives/motors, building management system update, air source heat pump, kitchen hood controls, weatherization and administrative assistance in municipal facilities, including Public Safety, Library, Belmonte School, Youth and Recreation Center and Veterans Memorial School.
  • January 2024, $200,000 to fund energy conservation measures, air source heat pumps, heat pump RTU, weather-stripping and administrative assistance in municipal facilities, including DPW and Senior Center

Total in Green Community Grants: $1,144,207

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