Building Energy Efficiency

As part of its pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the City of Medford is updating its municipal buildings to be more energy efficient.

These new buildings will use much less fossil fuels, restructuring our energy grid to favor renewable energy. Some will even be fossil-free, completely energy self-sufficient and net-positive, meaning they supply electricity to the grid. 

Medford Police Station 

On April 26, 2019, Medford signed a contract with CTA Construction, based in Waltham, to renovate its police station for $17,860,000, a price 3% under budget. Construction on the new police station was completed in December of 2020. 

The new station not only provides the City’s officers with modern facilities and improve local air quality, but it also contributes to the City’s goal of having net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It has modernized offices and conference rooms, a new dispatch center, extensive storage for evidence, a fitness center and updated detention facilities. In addition, the new station does not burn any fossil fuels, instead relying on its highly energy efficient design, rooftop solar panels with a heating and cooling system and an energy recovery ventilation system for its energy needs.

The building uses half the energy that it would use if it was built to meet the current energy code and has lower operating costs.

“Building fossil-fuel free, low-energy buildings today is an important part of meeting our goal of being net-zero by 2050. We were thrilled to find out that there were negligible added costs for making this building highly efficient. We will see an immediate savings on our operating costs, compared to only being a code-compliant building.” — Mayor Stephanie Burke 

Medford Public Library

An exterior rendering of what the completed Medford Public Library will look like. The building is modern with three curved sections made out of brick and tall windows lining most of the walls

In 2017, the project to renovate the Medford Public Library was awarded $12.2 million from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. Construction of the Medford Public Library is underway and anticipated to be completed in 2021. 

Like the new police station, the new library will not only provide Medford residents with up-to-date facilities, but it will also contribute to the City’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Current design is to be fossil-fuel-free, like the police station, and for solar panels to cover the entire roof of the library, estimated to produce enough electricity to run the entire building. The City is committed to making this a LEED-certified building. 

The new library will also offer Medford residents a 100-person multi-purpose meeting room;  a maker space; a tech lab; a local history room; separate reading rooms for adults, teens, and children; and other amenities. 

Check out the library’s website for more information about the construction. The proposed design for the library can also be found on the architect’s website. 

Medford Department of Public Works 

In 2017, design and engineering began on improving energy resiliency at the DPW and the Andrews School, funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Community Clean Energy and Resiliency Grant, as well as a grant to improve Automated Demand Response in Medford’s municipal buildings to increase emergency preparedness. 

At the DPW, the grants funded a solar microgrid and energy storage system. In the spring of 2018, the City contracted with Massachusetts-based Solect Energy to install a 235 kW PV solar array on the DPW roof at 21 James Street. In 2019, the City received additional funding to contract with Solect Energy again for the purchase and installation of a 100kW/255kWh energy storage battery. 

Not only will the DPW microgrid’s solar-plus-storage combination allow the facility to operate off-grid in emergencies and produce its own electricity, but it also has the ability to lower expensive electricity demand charges

The solar microgrid on DPW allows the city to participate in Automated Demand Response programs, providing additional revenue for the City and contributing to the state’s goal of minimizing the use of high-carbon intense electricity during peak electricity usage times. 

Read more about demand charges and Automated Demand Response on our Automated Demand Response page. 

“Solect’s Microgrid RFP was strong and compelling, and they were extremely helpful each step of the way from the proposal, installation of the PV system to the DOER grant extension. The microgrid system will enable us to make great strides in our goal of highly efficient and resilient buildings. We look forward to collaborating with Solect on this project and demonstrating to the Commonwealth and the citizens of the City of Medford, the value of distributed renewable energy systems.” — Mayor Stephanie Burke

Andrews Middle School

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 11.01.47 AM

In conjunction with the DPW, Andrews Middle School is also undergoing changes to become more energy efficient. In 2018, as part of the Community Clean Energy and Resiliency Grant, the City upgraded lights at the Andrews School to controllable LEDs. In addition, the City made updates to the school’s energy control system that allows facility operators to monitor energy use. 

The City is preparing to go out to bid for a contractor to install a similar solar PV and battery storage microgrid as that on the DPW.