TEWKSBURY — The Heath Brook Elementary School on Shawsheen Street was another beneficiary of the Green Committee’s work to secure grants for energy improvements in the community.
Tewksbury’s Green Committee was able to secure a 2020 grant to upgrade the lighting at the Heath Brook to LED fixtures and bulbs, a move that will net the town an annual savings of $12,050 and provide a 6.29 year payback.
The project, submitted by Town Planner Anna McGinty, also qualified for National Grid incentives which totaled $26,125. The town’s total outlay for the project was $5,000.
McGinty said that projects such as the Heath Brook LED project are attractive to the state because it is looking for opportunities to get the maximum amount of savings for energy improvements for communities. The project, a coordination between the Tewksbury School Department, the town, and Guardian Energy Management Solutions, was started in November of 2020 and completed in December of 2020.
McGinty and the Green Committee are constantly evaluating and prioritizing projects to be funded by grant opportunities and strive to be ready for any incentives that the Commonwealth may offer.
“The town expects to see a 67 percent reduction in electricity usage from that building,” said McGinty, noting that the improved quality of lighting for the elementary school staff and students is an added bonus.
The new fixtures have a longer life span, reducing maintenance and capital costs. According to project documents, the entire project cost was $99,507. Factoring in the utility incentive and the town contribution, the final cost was $68,382 which will be reimbursed to the town by the state.
McGinty explained that for Green Communities grants, once a project is approved, the Commonwealth provides the first 25 percent of the grant up front, then the town pays for the rest of the project, submitting for a 50 percent reimbursement, and then receiving the last
25 percent reimbursement once the project has been approved as completed.
Proof of completion includes inspections and photographs submitted to the state, along with a project report.
Other town buildings that have benefitted from interior LED lighting retrofits include the police station, the DPW, the North Street fire station, the food pantry, the Ryan school, the high school, and the senior center.
The town has participated in Green Community grant projects since receiving its designation in 2011 and has upgraded indoor and outdoor lighting and heating systems along with weatherization and other energy control measures consistently each year.