Worcester, MA

Worcester, MA

Worcester is a mid-sized city located in central Massachusetts, under an hour’s drive from Boston, Providence and Hartford. It is the second most populous city in New England, with a growing and vibrant community of over 182,000 people, 9 colleges and universities, and access to diverse culture, sports, restaurants and entertainment – www.worcesterma.gov.

Worcester has had a long-standing commitment to climate protection, energy efficiency and sustainability. Examples include the City’s curbside recycling program (1993), its resolution to join the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (2003), a Clean Energy resolution (2005), a membership to Local Governments for Sustainability – ICLEI (2006), adoption of a Climate Action Plan (2007), designation as a Massachusetts Green Community (2010), and its Worcester Energy program (2012) – a content-rich website, as well as an education and communication tool.

From 2010 to 2018, the city managed an $80 million energy efficiency and renewable energy project, which was enabled by an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC).  The ESPC is a self-funded mechanism that allowed the city to pay for the work through guaranteed energy savings, instead of more limited capital improvement funds. Following a comprehensive energy audit of 171 city facilities in 2009, the city embarked on implementation of a robust suite of recommended energy conservation measures.

The ESPC enabled the city to upgrade 92 municipal facilities, most of which were public school buildings. In CY 2016, the measurement and verification report showed that the city saved approximately 66,000 MMBtus of energy, resulting in $1.7M in saved energy costs, which prevented emissions of 7,000 tons of greenhouse gasses.

2017 was a landmark year for the city’s sustainability work. In the summer of 2017, the city installed and began operating the largest municipal-owned solar array in New England – an 8.1 MW-DC photovoltaic installation on top of a capped landfill. In the winter of the same year, the city completed conversion of its 14,000 streetlight fixtures to energy-efficient and long-lasting LEDs with intelligent controls.

While Worcester is reaping the environmental and financial benefits from the completed projects, it is already in the midst of exploring opportunities to further reduce its energy use. The city is looking to amend its ESPC one last time to take a deeper look at energy efficiency opportunities in its buildings, bringing the city to its 20% energy use reduction goal.

Challenge Commitment
5Million Square Feet
Goals
20%Reduction in Energy Intensity
Progress
10%Cumulative (vs. Baseline)