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PRESS RELEASE- Downing & Pignatelli Announce State Funding for Municipal Energy Efficiency Projects: Lenox and Otis to Receive Grants Funded with RGGI Auction Proceeds
December 23, 2008

Lenox/Otis – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) and State Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli (D – Lenox) are pleased to announce that two southern Berkshire communities, Lenox and Otis  have received a total of $320,856 to finance energy efficiency projects in their municipal buildings.


Funded with revenue from the auction of carbon emissions permits under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a first-in-the-nation multi-state effort to cap and reduce power plant pollution that causes global warming, these grants will pay for energy efficiency upgrades identified through the state Department of Energy Resources’ (DOER) municipal Energy Audit Program.


“This is a fine example of state and local partnerships working to maximize energy efficiency and cost savings,” said Downing.  “With the improvements being made through the use of this grant funding, municipal energy costs will be reduced and the work of securing a greener and cleaner future for municipalities across Massachusetts will be underway.  I am pleased that Lenox and Otis have been chosen to receive funding and I look forward to the expansion of this grant program.”       


The DOER grants are among a suite of initiatives the Patrick Administration is launching to help Massachusetts cities and towns ramp up energy efficiency and renewable energy use under the Green Communities Act, a landmark clean energy law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor last summer. Proceeds from the Commonwealth’s first RGGI auction, held in September, will fund grants to cover the full cost of implementing DOER audit-identified measures in each eligible community. 


DOER will work with city and town officials to execute grant agreements, and municipalities will then go out to bid for contractors to perform the work, which could begin in as soon as six to eight weeks. State and local officials will also work with electric and gas utility companies to coordinate installation of energy-saving measures and maximize use of available energy efficiency rebates. DOER expects this pilot grant program will be a model for a broad municipal efficiency program available to all cities and towns in the months ahead.  


Pignatelli said, "With the rising costs of utilities and municipalities on very tight budgets this is a welcome opportunity to make municipal buildings more fuel efficient and also reduce our carbon footprint."


This round, thirteen communities statewide, from Martha’s Vineyard to Berkshire County, two regional school districts and two wastewater treatment facilities are eligible for $2.7 million in grants to finance energy efficiency improvements in municipal buildings.  Projects range from space heating improvements, insulation, and lighting upgrades to new doors and windows and boiler and burner replacement.   


Lenox and Otis municipal officials, along with the other fifteen grantees, have been notified of their eligibility for the new DOER grants to improve energy efficiency in a variety of municipal buildings.


  • Lenox - $94,111 for projects at town hall, the community center, fire station, and water treatment plant, including room occupancy sensors and upgrading efficiency of heating systems, motors, and appliances.


  • Otis - $226,745 for projects at town hall and the wastewater treatment plant, including insulation and window and lighting replacement.




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