BOSTON -- Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced in mid-March that Boston Housing Authority facilities across the city will receive $63 million in energy efficiency improvements. Mayor Menino announced the initiative, which is the largest public housing energy efficiency project in the nation's history, at the Bromley-Heath Public Housing Development in Jamaica Plain.
The Boston Housing Authority has partnered with Framingham-based Ameresco to engineer, design, and implement water and energy conservation measures in approximately 4,300 apartments at 13 public housing developments throughout the City. The project will save the BHA more than $56 million in energy costs over the next 20 years, will result in hiring approximately 600 local union workers to implement the efficient measures, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 13,000 tons annually.
"This project is a great example of how we continue to ambitiously move Boston forward," Mayor Menino said. "We're saving energy, creating almost 600 jobs, saving the taxpayers' money and improving low-income neighborhoods all at the same time. On all fronts, this project is clearly a win-win."
Efficiency measures will include replacing water closets, showerheads and faucet aerators, installing energy efficient lighting, converting electric heat to gas, upgrading or replacing old central heating plants and installing co-generation and photovoltaic electric systems, Energy Star rated fiberglass windows, high reflective "cool" roof membranes and healthy apartment improvements. An extensive resident education, training and employment program will complement and reinforce the program over the life of the project.
"Projects like this prove that low-income housing can also be energy-efficient housing. We're excited to be moving forward with green technology and upgrading our residents' homes at the same time," said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle.
The agreement between BHA and Ameresco, called an energy performance contract, does not require the city to use taxpayer money upfront to fund the improvements. In addition to engineering, designing and implementing the efficiency measures, Ameresco is financing the improvements and will recoup their costs by sharing a portion of the savings over the life of the twenty-year contract.
Prior to Boston's project, the two largest public housing authority energy efficiency projects were conducted by Denver ($20 million) and Chicago ($45 million). In both these instances, the work was performed under an energy performance contract.
The following developments are included in the contract: Bromley Park and Heath Street in Jamaica Plain, Commonwealth and Washington Street in Brighton, Franklin Field and Pasciucco in Dorchester, Holgate and Whittier Street in Roxbury, Lenox Street in the South End/Lower Roxbury, Old Colony in South Boston, Roslyn Apartments in Roslindale, Torre Unidad in the South End, and the Charlestown development in Charlestown.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with Mayor Menino and the Boston Housing Authority on this significant project," said Dave Anderson, Executive Vice President at Ameresco. "As a Massachusetts based-company, this is a remarkable opportunity to showcase the significant energy efficiency gains that can be achieved when you have strong, forward-thinking leadership at the local level."
Bromley-Heath will receive more than $11.5 million in upgrades that include decentralizing the current steam heating plant and upgrading it to a building level hot water heating system with steam boilers. Apartments will have upgraded temperature controls as well as some interior improvements such as new bathroom fixtures. Work is expected to begin this summer.
The roof replacement project at Lenox Street also includes $1.6 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The energy efficiency work is expected to create almost 600 union jobs over the life of the project.
According to a recent study conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), public housing is, on average, less energy efficient on a per-square-foot basis than all other U.S. residential households. Reducing public housing energy costs by 10% could save nearly $200 million per year in operating expenses.
The BHA has participated in earlier energy performance contracts that saved the Authority more than $17 million. Those contracts allowed the BHA to fully replace the original 1938 heating system at the Mary Ellen McCormack development in South Boston as well as upgrade heating and water systems at BHA state-funded developments throughout the city.