Inside Arlington

Experimental News Digest for Arlington, MA

Clean Energy Future Committee, October 27, 2023

2023 Electrification and Air Quality Master Plan

A substantial focus of the meeting centered on the study conducted for electrification in school buildings. It addressed the older schools: Bishop, Brackett, Dallin, Hardy, Pierce, and Ottoson, examining aspects such as HVAC systems, kitchen appliances, air quality, solar capacity, and a budget analysis. It evaluated air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and traditional HVAC systems’ lifecycle costs. With federal and state incentives, geothermal emerged as the most economical. However, due to high upfront costs, a unique financing strategy would be necessary. Prospective steps include piloting a full electrification program for one school, gradually replacing systems to shift to electric, and considering a network of ground source heat pumps for economies of scale.

Update on Legislation on Community Choice Aggregation (ACE)

Discussion progressed with issues regarding the Community Choice Aggregation program and efforts to modify the Department of Public Utilities’ (DPU) regulatory approach, which is currently restrictive and slow. Town representatives and Good Energy gave testimony pushing for regulatory flexibility. These changes would ideally be in effect by Spring 2024 when the town’s energy contract is up for renewal, allowing for innovative bidding.

Other Updates

The committee discussed several grants and updates. Arlington is applying for a $50,000 study on networked ground source heat pumps in East Arlington, focusing on mixed-use including affordable housing, public school, and apartment complexes. A Green Communities grant of $100,000 will support the progression of electric heat pumps at various locations, including ACMI, Dallin School, and Jarvis House. The launch and troubleshooting of new electric buses was also mentioned. Further updates included the mandatory Conflict of Interest training for committee members, the pursuit of the Climate Leader Community certification for additional grants, and a collaboration with Bentley College for greenhouse gas inventory work. The next meeting was scheduled for November 17th.



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