DCAM Funding Energy Study at MCLA


NORTH ADAMS, MA - The state's Department of Capital Asset Management (DCAM) is funding nearly a $100,000 energy study at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) in a "green" effort by the campus to further reduce its carbon footprint. 

"MCLA has made vital investments in energy control systems, recycling, and conservation efforts to reduce our carbon footprint," said Vice President of Administration and Finance James Stakenas. "With this study, MCLA can determine the best renewable energy source, and we can employ to have a smaller carbon foot print and a greener campus. We are very appreciative of DCAM as they have provided the funding for this study.  They have been a great partner with us on energy projects."

The study is being conducted by TRC Energy Services of Boston, which began collecting data at the College on Feb. 15. A preliminary report is expected mid-March, according to Joe Santucci, energy manager at MCLA's Facilities Department. Then, college officials will consider TRC's recommendations and determine what funding options are available to complete suggested projects. 

In addition to energy conservations measures, other possibilities could include additional photovoltaic cells on the campus' rooftops and biomass options to generate heat and power. Campus officials also asked the firm to do an assessment of existing conditions, including an examination of the efficiency of the heating system. 

"Wood chip biomass might be a good fit to make some of our own electricity on site so we're not buying so much off the grid," Santucci said. "We've asked them to look at feasibility for photovoltaic systems. We've asked them to do a biomass energy co-generation assessment so that we might make some of our own energy. Also, they were evaluating the meters. Eventually, the state would like to get individual metering for all of their buildings for heat, water and electricity, so they'll take a look at that." 

In recent months, MCLA has replaced windows at the Flagg Townhouses with thermal windows. Other recent improvements include the replacement of some older air-conditioning equipment, an expansion of building automation systems and improvements to the steam plant.  

According to Santucci, having TRC Energy Services conduct the study "is a necessary step before MCLA can go to DCAM to request specific funding, going forward, to turn what we need to do in to actual projects."