Energy upgrades at SHA prove environmental, efficient
Energy upgrades at Springfield Housing Authority’s federal developments will bring about $504,000 in annual savings on utility bills.
The massive project was recently completed after 14 months of work at the five largest SHA developments. The $9.5 million job was done by Siemens Energy, a global company with offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
SHA Executive Director Denise R. Jordan said the massive project produced important energy savings and at the same time moved developments with nearly 1,000 units of housing into a greener category.
“This is great news for the Springfield Housing Authority, and for our residents at these developments,” Jordan said. “We have realized significant cost savings on our energy bills that will continue, and our residents have updated apartments that are more efficient and comfortable to live in.”
SHA Director of Capital Improvements and Purchasing John Healy oversaw the work and said it is already paying off in terms of energy savings.
“Overall, it’s been excellent,” he said. “We had contributions and great cooperation throughout the organization, from property managers and foremen to staff and tenants. It was a big collaborative effort and everyone was happy to do their part.”
The project included up-front financial incentives on the utility savings which helped fund the work, ensuring that SHA did not have to borrow for capital improvements which would be the more traditional means of doing major work.
Siemens did the work at Duggan Park, Riverview, Robinson Gardens, Sullivan, and most of Reed Village Apartments.
Work included installation of new boilers – 33 at Reed Village and 24 at Robinson Gardens — weatherstripping windows and doors, sealing attic hatches, air sealing along roof wall junctures and baseboards, and attic air sealing of the top plates. Also installed were new toilets, urinals, sinks and showerheads for water conservation. Overall, new technology was used for improved efficiency and energy savings.
The project enabled SHA to replace outdated equipment and eliminate the likelihood of equipment failure over time. Other benefits are energy conservation and efficiency, improved comfort to residents and staff, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Most important, and what made this effort possible, is a guaranteed energy savings with minimal capital outlay, Healy said.
The annual savings are guaranteed for 20 years, and will grow by 3 percent per year during that time.
The project also came with estimated utility rebates of $1.85 million, with $1.7 million already realized – which helped fund the project.
It all began with a need for repairs at specific locations and a desire to be more environmentally friendly, said Healy.
“We went to seek this out because first of all we want to be good environmental neighbors,” Healy said. “Also, we had some boilers Reed Village and Robinson Gardens that were failing, and we needed to get those replaced.”
Rather than using capital funds, or borrowed money, on boilers, the SHA chose a route that would enable the use of future savings on work done now. The incentives up front from utility companies including Eversource and Columbia Gas, with savings continuing over time.
The breakdown of the annual savings is: water and sewer, $220,748; natural gas, $154,280; and electric, $115,135.
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