City ready to work on projects with $266k grant

WESTFIELD—The city will soon be starting energy-saving projects in Westfield schools, after a Green Communities grant was accepted by the City Council Thursday.

The city of Westfield received approximately $266,000 in grant money as part of the Green Communities program through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The grant, which was was first announced in March, was accepted by the City Council during their meeting Thursday night. The money will go toward energy-efficient projects in Westfield schools and other municipal buildings, as well as the purchase of an electric vehicle for city employees to use.

The Green Communities grant money was first presented to Westfield officials by state officials in March, which is when this photograph is from. From left to right: Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan, Westfield director of facilities Bryan Forrette, Westfield city advancement officer Joe Mitchell, Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson

According to Mayor Brian Sullivan, the projects are expected to be beneficial to both the environment and the city.

“In regards to Green Communities, we will be saving energy and using upgraded technology, which is what’s behind Green Communities in the first place,” Sullivan said.

The projects that are targeted will include “energy conservation measures in municipal facilities,” including North Middle, Munger Hill, Paper Mill, South Middle, Westfield High and Westfield Technical Academy Schools, Twiss Street garage for the Department of Public Works, Westfield Fire Department headquarters and the Head Start building.

Measures include interior lighting retrofits, weatherization, steam traps and walk-in cooler/freezer controls. In addition, an electric vehicle will be purchased.

Sullivan said that the electric vehicle will take additional money to purchase, as well as money for a charge station. It is estimated for the vehicle to cost about $35,000, with $23,000 coming from the Green Communities grant. The city is pursuing additional grant money through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to cover the vehicle costs, while the charge station installment and cost is being investigated by the city.

Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan (WNG file photo)

According to Sullivan, the two projects that are the highest current priority are the electric vehicle and lighting at Westfield High School, specifically in the pool and the gymnasium.

Sullivan said that the grant money, once utilized for the projects, will save the city money and will open it to additional grants.

“Basically, every project that we are doing will save us money over the long haul. The car, the lights, the upgrades,” he said.

“As long as we are in good standing and completing the projects that we apply for, this will open up for other opportunities in the future,” he added.

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