Highlights Sarno Administration’s Efforts to ‘Go Green’ and Protect our Environment
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and City Councilor Jesse Lederman joined Environment Massachusetts today as they released findings of their “Renewables on the Rise” report. The Mayor had been requested to share the City’s progress on reducing its carbon footprint and the importance of municipalities Going Green.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said, “Springfield takes the management of its energy resources and ‘going green’ very seriously. It is no accident that over the past 11 years my administration is closing in on a 25% reduction in our energy usage for our municipal and school buildings. It has taken a lot of hard work, strategic planning and public private partnerships to bring us to this pivotal time in the management of our resources. I truly believe if every community, every household does their part we can ensure we make the difference in protecting the overall health of our most precious gift, our environment.
“We started down this road by conducting a building-by-building survey. This quickly illustrated the need to upgrade systems. We also reviewed and studied the over 500 electric accounts and 80 natural gas accounts. This task was tedious but allowed the city to understand the value in managing its energy load. This has led to a three-phase energy plan and investing over $30.0 million dollars into our school and municipal facilities. The energy improvements, conducted by Siemens’ Building Technologies, included building operations in municipal and school complexes and are saving over $2.5 million a year in energy savings. As part of the energy contract with Siemens’, this guaranteed savings will result in $40 - $50 million in energy improvements to municipal and school buildings, over the next 20 years, specifically including the following:
- New boilers
- Energy management systems
- Improved air quality in classrooms
- Motors and drives
- Domestic hot water upgrade
- Efficiencies and lighting
“In year one, we removed:
- 2,421,027 lbs. of Carbon Dioxide from the atmosphere
- 2,049 lbs. Of Nitrogen oxide from the atmosphere
- 6,074 lbs. of sulfur dioxide from the atmosphere
Mayor Sarno continued, “Over the ten-year period it is equivalent to 80 acres of forest being preserved, 2,010 cars being taking off the road and removing 25,554 barrels of oil being burned. As I stated earlier, if we all do our part there is a much greater reward for our planet.
“This project has been an important step in the rebuilding of Springfield. The savings generated will ensure the continued financial strength of our City and allow funds to be invested into our neighborhoods and schools. Also, the improvements will ensure a quality environment for our students, teachers and the employees working in our schools and municipal buildings. Two important side benefits of this energy program are; test scores are going up, as I believe the improved learning environment helps our students concentrate and we have seen up to a 4% decrease in Asthma in our schools. Again, if you can improve the environment there is a domino effect in health benefits across the board.
“Due to our efforts, the Commonwealth has recognized Springfield as one of the first Green Communities. It is an honor to be recognized for our hard work in reducing our energy usage. It has been a team approach over the past eleven years to achieve this goal as a Green Community City. I want to thank Western Mass Electric and Columbia Gas. They have provided strong support and assistance to the City and provided incentives to reduce our consumption.”
“Solar power has been a key strategy for Springfield. Not only are we Eversource’s largest generator – 12MW – in Massachusetts, but our facilities are located at a former landfill, a WWII contaminated Chapman Valve property and bordering unusable wetlands at the Smith and Wesson Industrial Park. These previously unusable properties are generating almost $1million in tax revenue annually for Springfield,” said Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.
Mayor Sarno concluded, “In closing I want to share another area of going green for our City. This is to reduce synthetic fertilizers from our parks and sports complexes. We initiated the program three years ago and the results have been tremendous. We all need to closely examine these products as they are eventually reaching our rivers and streams through ground water. As we manage our resources we must look at our communities as whole and have a comprehensive approach in the management of our environment. We all have an important role to play in our tenures as mangers of these resources but more importantly we need to ensure we are making the long-term commitments that will ensure the environmental health of our communities for the long term. Thank you for allowing me to share our story and hope you will reach out to my office if we can ever assist you or your community. For if we all work together, we can ensure the protection of our environment.”