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Big Blue gets green: Swampscott awarded a $249,779 Green Communities grant

SWAMPSCOTT — The town of Swampscott has been awarded a $249,779 Green Communities grant, which will be used for environmental improvements at three public buildings.

Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald said the funding will allow the town to enhance environmental improvements at Town Hall, Swampscott Middle School, and Swampscott High School, and focus on cleaner and greener capital investments.

The grant was awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration through The Department of Energy Resources Green Communities Division. Grants are capped at $250,000 and this is the fifth time the town has received green community grant funding.

Fitzgerald said the town’s projected annual savings from the energy-saving projects the grant is funding is $61,682.

“This is a competitive grant and reflects the maximum amount we could be awarded and it’s really going to help Swampscott save on long-term energy costs,” he said.

Fitzgerald said the funding will allow for smart Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems to be installed at the three buildings, along with LED lighting at the high school.

The grant will help fund five projects.

Installing an economizer and DCV on rooftop units at the high school will cost $78,101 with the grant covering $34,267. Installing LED interior lighting at the high school will cost $77,725, which will be fully covered by the grant.

Optimized scheduling and air handling unit improvements at Town Hall is projected to cost $19,162, with the grant covering $15,546.

At the middle school, installing an energy management system and controls on the boiler system will cost $94,793, with the grant covering $84,593, while DDC controls on unit ventilators is projected to cost $91,685 — the grant will cover $37,648 of that.

Fitzgerald said the HVAC systems will help ensure that the three buildings have control systems that will help the town modulate appropriately and ensure that they’re optimally configured so officials can minimize the inefficient run times of the systems, along with running fewer kilowatts.

“I think (the funding) is another terrific reflection of the Baker Administration’s commitment to smart investments in building systems that will return investments year after year into the future,” Fitzgerald said. “These are smart building systems that are going to help us reduce our carbon footprint and help us leave a legacy that will be cleaner and less costly to current and future generations.”

Last week, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded more than $14.7 million in Green Communities competitive grants to 80 municipalities across Massachusetts to fund clean energy projects. This is the seventh annual round of funding.

To date, 210 Massachusetts cities and towns, including Swampscott, have earned the Green Communities designation.

Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding. The grants provide financial support for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the designated communities’ clean energy goals, according to the Baker-Polito Administration.

“Providing communities with the tools necessary to reduce costs and carbon emissions through the Green Communities grant program will help Massachusetts continue to be a national leader in clean energy,” said Gov. Charlie Baker in a statement. “Cities and towns across the Commonwealth embrace clean energy and are vital partners in meeting Massachusetts’ ambitious energy and emissions goals.”

Last year, the town was awarded $241,287 in grant funding, which was used to install interior and exterior LED lighting at five public buildings: Clarke Elementary School, Swampscott High School, Swampscott Public Library, Swampscott Police Station, and Town Hall.

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