Energy and Sustainability Office
Ed Lewis, Energy Manger & Facilities Project Manager
Department of Public Buildings, School Administration Building, 30 Common Street
617-972-4250 Email Ed Lewis
The goals of the Energy Manager are to promote and oversee Town sustainability activities, reduce the Town’s carbon footprint and save the Town energy and money and provide sustainability resources for the community.
The office is also charged with increasing the sustainability of Watertown Municipal operations through identifying energy and cost saving opportunities, reviewing and analyzing energy consumption data, recommending/implementing best practices for mechanical and building systems operation, and providing energy efficiency consulting to town and school facilities.
Watertown Electricity Choice: Energy Mix Disclosure
Watertown’s electricity aggregation program launched in September 2019
Watertown Electricity Choice is a municipal electricity aggregation, which is a group buy program for electricity supply. Massachusetts State law allows cities and towns to aggregate electricity customers within their borders and select an electricity supplier on behalf of those customers, rather than having Eversource buy their electricity. Municipal aggregations are heavily regulated by the State and offer many consumer protections not available with private for-profit programs.
Watertown Electricity Choice will increase the amount of renewable energy in Watertown’s electricity supply, providing an additional 35% renewable electricity over and above the state-required minimum amount. With the increasing State renewable energy requirement Watertown Electricity Choice will provide over 50% local renewable energy in its first full year going up to 53% in the last year of the contract.
Every 1% increase in renewable energy in Watertown’s residential electrical supply will offset the carbon emissions of an average passenger car driving over a million miles!
Watertown Electricity Choice will significantly decrease Watertown’s carbon footprint leading toward a cleaner, healthier environment. It will drive more renewable energy generation and jobs in our area. Programs of this type provide the potential of modest savings to customers over the program duration, although savings cannot be guaranteed as future Eversource rates are unknown.
Look in your mail for a letter with the Town Seal on it explaining the program in detail.
Watertown Environment & Energy Efficiency Committee (WE3C)
Watertown has an advisory committee to review and make recommendations about Town policies, procedures, activities, and facilities of departments, boards, or agencies as they relate to energy conservation and emissions reduction.
Resilient Watertown Climate and Energy Plan
In 2019 Watertown received a Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to undertake the planning phase of the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The MVP Program provides support for cities and towns in Massachusetts to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects. The findings from that process can be found below.
In April 2021, Watertown launched its Climate and Energy Plan, which will be an actionable plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better prepare residents and businesses for climate change impacts.
Watertown is a Green Community
Watertown has been a Green Community for over 10 years. Becoming a Green Community has allowed the Town to be eligible for state grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. These projects are part of an effort by the Town to lead by example in being sustainable and will save the community money. To date, Watertown has worked on an array of energy activities from upgrades for reducing energy use in municipal and school buildings to adopting energy efficiency measures in the building code for new public and private projects. Since the base year of 2010 Watertown has reduced its Municipal energy usage, and the resulting Green House Gas emissions, by over 14%.
Watertown's Police Station has a photovoltaic array and a state of the art geothermal heating and cooling system.
Municipal Sustainability Projects
Street Light LED Retrofit (Phase 2) - The Department of Energy Resources awarded Watertown a $207,505 Green Community Competitive Grant to replace all remaining energy inefficient streetlights with highly efficient LED's that will provide equivalent lighting while consuming 62% less energy. The $314,000 project will be fully funded by the DOER award along with an incentive from Eversource.
The Town will save over $105,000 per year in electricity and maintenance over the 20+ year life of the LED lights. The lighting retrofit will reduce Watertown's CO2e Green House Gas emissions by 332 tons per year. For the press release follow the link:Press Release
Municipal Energy Efficiency Retrofit - The Town is implementing an energy efficiency retrofit program covering 14 Municipal and School facilities. The Town Council presentation provides details on the $7+ million project funded through an Energy Savings Performance Contract. By law the Performance Contract must be funded by the savings accrued from the efficiency improvements, and the energy savings are guaranteed by the contracting company. Bottom line, at no net cost to tax payers Watertown was able to upgrade and improve mechanical systems, lighting and building envelopes, all which will save a significant amount of energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over the life of the Performance Contract the Town is expected to save over $1.8 million in energy, maintenance and operational costs.
Street Light LED Retrofit - In 2012 Watertown was awarded a $192,000 Green Communities grant which, along with NSTAR incentives and additional investment by the Town, allowed the retrofit of 1269 street lights to highly efficient LED's. Energy cost savings from these new LED lights are $29,800 per year along with a reduction in Green House Gas emissions of 140 metric tons of CO2e annually.
Police Station Building - The new Police Station has a community meeting space, a solar array, and a highly efficient geothermal heat pump. Between the electricity generated and the SRECs sold approximately $15,000 in annual savings are attributed to the Police Station solar array. Also, the police station is adjacent to a community park that was redeveloped on the former Browne School site.
Public Works Building Solar Array - In 2010 a federal grant entirely funded the installation of a 54 kW solar array at the DPW building. Annually, this system saves approximately $14,000 in energy costs and reduces Watertown's Green House Gas emissions.
High School Solar Array - Watertown High School installed a 6 kW solar array which is used for educational purposes and saves about $1,000 per year in energy costs.
Design Guidelines and Standards - Watertown has created Design Guidelines and Standards for commercial and mixed use projects. The design standards apply to development and redevelopment and strongly encourage a sustainable design where environmental responsibility is an integral part of the design. This includes state of the art building systems and envelope, LEED certifiability, renewable energy sources, and landscape strategies to promote garden spaces and healthy tree growth.
Sustainability Activities in the Community
In addition to the Municipal efforts sustainability activity has significantly increased in Watertown's residential and business community.
Solarize Massachusetts | Watertown - Multiple Watertown residents participated in the Solarize Mass program. Solarize Mass is a partnership between MassCEC and the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), and has led to more than 2,700 residents and business owners in 51 cities and towns across the Commonwealth signing contracts for small-scale solar electricity systems.
Watertown Community Gardens - Learn more about the community gardens in Watertown which were established in 2011.
The recently established Community Garden across from Mt Auburn Cemetery
Arsenal on the Charles Sustainability - The reuse of the former Arsenal site has provided many cultural, economic and environmental benefits. One example of sustainability accomplished in the reuse was the installation of a solar photovoltaic array on the 311 Arsenal St Building which was the largest rooftop installation in the state when it was completed.
Mt. Auburn Cemetery - Recent development included a LEED certified Horticultural Center and Greenhouse utilizing geothermal and solar PV technology to save energy and rainwater collection to save water.
Perkins School for the Blind - Recent projects includes a LEED certified Lower School with a green roof and a 34 kW solar array.
Sustainability Resources in the Community
Neighborhood Solar - is a program sponsored by a Watertown resident to facilitate households installing reduced cost solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Neighborhood Solar brings together the communities of Watertown, Arlington and Cambridge, along with a local PV installer, to provide discounted volume pricing on high quality solar PV installations. After many successful PV installations in earlier iterations of Neighborhood Solar a new program has just been launched. Click the following link for more information: www.neighborhoodsolar.org
energyCENTS - Massachusetts has long supported sustainability efforts with a robust array of energy saving programs, incentives, tax credits and loan opportunities. These are offered by the utilities, non-profits and the state and the federal governments, unfortunately, it can be challenging to find and sort through the various offerings, luckily a new State website, energyCENTS, has been launched that can help.
energyCENTS is a platform that allows ratepayers, from residential to commercial and industrial, to search for rebates and incentives across utilities, entities and applications. Results from energyCENTS searches will direct ratepayers to the rebate or incentive sponsor's website for additional information and applications.
This web platform provides opportunities from electric vehicles, appliances, home energy assessments, solar electricity to the latest energy initiatives available in the Commonwealth. Currently there are over 250 incentives and rebates available to Massachusetts electric and natural gas ratepayers from the state and federal governments and utility program administrators.
To access the website click this link: www.mass.gov/energycents
Mass Save Energy Audits - Watertown homeowners, landlords, and renters can get utility sponsored no cost energy assessments from Mass Save. These assessments start with an online questionnaire and usually result in a no cost and no obligation home energy assessment. Typical assessments include free Energy Star LED light bulbs, advanced power strips, programmable thermostats, shower heads, and faucet aerators along with a report of recommended Energy Conservation Measures (ECM's) such as additional insulation. A report will be issued that will detail the cost (including any available utility incentives or rebates) the amount of energy saved per year and the payback of each proposed ECM. The homeowner is under no obligation to get any of the recommendations done. Click the following link to get more information about a free assessment to start saving energy, money and reduce your carbon footprint. https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/energy-assessments/
Rebates and Incentives - Mass Save also offers many utility sponsored rebates and incentives for energy saving measures, these cover everything from highly efficient appliances to deep energy retrofits to getting rid of an old refrigerator, click the following link for more information: https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/residential-rebates/
Watertown Department of Public Works supports Town Sustainability:
Click the following link for information on recycling and how to purchase a compost bin: http://www.watertowndpw.org/Pages/WatertownDPW_Recycling/index
Click the following link for information on Stormwater management and how to purchase a rain barrel: http://www.watertowndpw.org/Pages/Stormwater%20Mgmt%20MISC%20Info/index
For More information on Watertown's sustainability efforts: Sustainability