Mayor Domenic J. Sarno was represented by Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks Buildings and Recreation, speaking today at a press conference at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission at 10:30 a.m. The Mayor has been requested to share the City’s progress on reducing its carbon footprint and the importance of municipalities Going Green.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I’m very thankful to my City team, led by Pat Sullivan on achieving these ‘green’ goals. They are substantial, especially for an urban city. Our ‘green’ initiatives are not only good for our environment, but just as importantly, the bottom line of the City budget too.”
“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 partnernships 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 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
“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.
“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 recourses 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.”