Boston Mayor Announces Nation’s Largest Public Housing Energy Efficiency Project

With the announcement of a major green initiative by the Boston Mayor, Thomas M. Menino, facilities of the Boston Housing Authority are set to receive $63 million for improving energy efficiency. In the nation’s history, this represents the biggest public housing project for energy efficiency.

In collaboration with Ameresco, a Framingham-based company, Boston Housing Authority will design, engineer, and implement energy and water conservation measures in about 4,300 apartments across the city in 13 public housing developments. In the next 20 years, Boston Housing Authority will save over $56 million in electricity costs through the project. In addition, the project will also create 600 jobs for the local union workers and avoid 13,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Some of the efficiency measure to be adopted in the project includes: replacing faucet aerators, water closets, and showerheads; installation of energy efficient lighting; conversion of electric heat to gas; replacing or upgrading old central heating plants; installation of photovoltaic energy and co-generation systems; fiberglass windows that are Energy Star rated; and high reflective roof membranes. A broad resident training, employment, and education program will also reinforce and complement the program during the project implementation.

As per the agreement between Ameresco and BHA, the city of Boston does not require to pay even a single penny of taxpayer’s money upfront for the project. Ameresco will provide funding for the project and recover the costs over the 20-year period of the contract by sharing a portion of the savings.

Denver and Chicago had completed energy efficiency projects in their cities before the Boston project. The cost of the projects for Denver was $20 million and for Chicago was $45 million, and was carried out under an energy performance agreement.

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