Town Manager Stanton Praises Progress Toward Bedford’s Energy Sustainability Goal

Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the Select Board on June 13 that progress toward energy sustainability had wide-ranging success as a major goal for the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Details were provided in an accompanying document from Facilities Director Taissir Alani summarizing his department’s achievements and prospects.

Alani pointed out that there are actually two steps in the process: “Building decarbonization is removing fossil fuel use as a source of heating, ventilation, and cooling. Net zero make-ready is adapting current buildings to be ultra-efficient, with the goal of being net zero energy at some point in the future.”

He added that “energy net zero (electrical) is when a building makes an equal or greater amount of renewable energy on an annual basis, through renewable resources such as wind, solar panels and battery storage.”

A 15-year energy net zero plan will be ready for review soon, Alani wrote. “It should be viewed as a living and fluid plan, where dates and costs may be adjusted.”

The plan “addresses the decarbonization of the buildings, installing roof and canopies solar systems, and building a town-campus microgrid, to achieve the final goal of energy net zero.” He noted that “we currently purchase 100 percent renewable energy for municipal buildings’ electrical use.”

Current projects demonstrate the shift to renewables. The police station, he noted, because it is for public safety, includes a small gas-fired condensing boiler as an emergency backup. The library is being designed for full decarbonization using electric boilers and other ventilation equipment.

John Glenn Middle School “is still some years away from the energy plan implementation,” Alani continued, but “the Facilities Dept. took advantage of replacing the current non-functional 2,900-gallon gas-fired hot water heaters with 4,100-gallon electric hot water heaters.” Recent additions to the middle school and Davis School “included HVAC equipment which makes those addition spaces energy net zero ready.”

The memo outlines $39 million in school projects over the next 15 years.

The facilities director wrote that Bedford High School is targeted for “replacing and/or converting three existing gas-fired boilers, rooftop units, air-handling units, and the unit-ventilators in all classrooms and throughout the building with electric boilers and electric associated equipment” in fiscal year 2027.

“Various design options are being discussed and are under a functionality and cost review,” Alani reported. “Due to the large size of the high-school building, it is imperative that the equipment selected be reliable and last the life-cycle we expect from the equipment.”

He also addressed proposed energy generation ideas. “In order to achieve the buildings’ energy net zero after the decarbonization of the buildings, facilities will propose the installation of roof and canopy solar systems as well as a town-campus microgrid,” Alani presented.

However, “Due to considerable recent decrease in the federal and state financial incentives, it is our recommendations that the solar project be deferred for now,” he continued. “It is expected that more state and federal financial incentives will be made available. The solar projects will be reintroduced after the roofs have been replaced.”

Alani also confirmed that his department is “engaged in discussions” with state and federal officials for a potential microgrid grant.

He described a proposed municipal microgrid, which would “provide the town with energy resiliency for at least three days of non-stop power to the town campus, in the event a major power outage takes place.”

Another major benefit will be the daily use of the microgrid in conjunction with the solar to offset the electricity use from the utility as well as the ‘demand charge’ that utilities impose on the customers,” he noted.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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