Energy conservation money shifted from county to city
MANCHESTER -- Hillsborough County has left federal energy conservation money on the table, and the city of Manchester has scooped it up to improve the energy efficiency of city buildings.
The county didn’t have any projects that qualify for the $3 million in no-interest Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds, while the city has several in the works.
“Our projects are ready to go, and that’s one of the criteria,” Mayor Ted Gatsas said. “There is a direct savings to the city and the school district.”
The Hillsborough County Commissioners have voted to formally waive the county’s claim on the funds, allowing them to go to Manchester.
Chief Facilities Manager Kevin O’Maley said that because Manchester gets interest-free loans to pay for the energy conservation measures, it will recover the cost faster, saving the city money in its budget sooner.
Cutting energy bills for the school district will be a priority.
“Boilers at Beech School, windows at all the middle schools and fire station windows all need to be replaced,” O’Maley said. “It’ll be up to the aldermen and the school board for specific projects.”
In a previous round of energy conservation work funded by the federal stimulus program, the city used the program to fund projects with a quick payback period so that the savings could be reflected in city budgets sooner.
“Because of the economic times we were in and because funds were available, we went after ‘low hanging fruit,’” O’Maley said.
Manchester also saved some $500,000 through conservation rebate programs offered by the city’s electric and natural gas providers, PSNH and National Grid.
The city had previously received unused federal stimulus funds that the county couldn’t use under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“They were going to turn it in to the state, but we do our homework,” Gatsas said.
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