Northampton wins energy grant from state - ACADEMY OF MUSIC
Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012, 11:08 AM     Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012, 11:39 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The city has received a $98,000 grant from the state to make energy improvements at Memorial Hall and the Academy of Music.

Northampton was one of 17 cities and towns that got the first-time competitive grants though the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program. The money is aimed at helping municipalities significantly reduce energy costs.

The city was eligible for the grant because it was named one of Massachusetts’ first “Green” communities in 2010. It has previously received state money to install a photovoltaic system at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.

The new grant will be used to insulate the roof and ceiling areas in Memorial Hall and at the Academy, both of which were built in the 19th century. The Academy is owned by the city but managed by a board of trustees. The city has already insulated part of the building and replaced light fixtures in the ceiling above the seating area with high-efficiency LED lamps.

Now it will use some of the state money to insulate the ceiling in conjunction with a project to replace the roof above the stage. Deborah J’Anthony, the Academy’s executive director, said that project is currently out to bid and is expected to cost less than $100,000. It is being financed, in part, with Community Preservation money from the city.

Chris Mason, the city’s Energy and Sustainability Officer, said the insulation at Memorial Hall is also in poor shape — trampled, broken up and poorly installed in places. The city will remove the degraded insulation in that building, seal air leaks in the ceiling and floor and install high-value insulation.

The goal, Mason said, is to reduce gas consumption by 20 percent at the Academy of Music and by 13 percent at Memorial Hall.

On a larger scale, the city is engaged in a performance contract with Con Edison Solutions to upgrade energy efficiency in all its buildings. Earlier this summer the single-pane windows at City Hall were replaced by efficient double-paned windows. The improvements are financed by projected energy savings over a 15-year period.