NORTHFIELD — To celebrate the recently completed energy improvements made possible by a Green Communities grant, the Energy Committee is hosting Northfield Energy Day on Sept. 14.
The event will take place in the Northfield Elementary School cafeteria from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be crafts and science activities, such as a bicycle that children can pedal to power a light bulb. The day will also include live music from the Cape Cod group Bay Song, who have written a song specifically for Northfield Energy Day.
“Kids can learn about energy and have some fun,” said Energy Committee member Judy Wagner.
For adults, a slide show will include a virtual tour of energy improvement projects at Northfield Elementary and Pioneer Valley Regional schools. State Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru, and Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, will attend to share information on energy legislation and policies at the state level.
Wagner said Northfield was awarded a competitive Green Communities grant for approximately $250,000 a year and a half ago, and just completed the projects the grant was used for.
“Being a Green Community means the town drops their energy costs by 20 percent,” Wagner said. “That includes all town-owned buildings, facilities and vehicles.”
After receiving the grant, the Energy Committee determined the schools were in need of energy efficiency improvements and pushed the two buildings to the front of their energy efforts. Wagner said Warwick received a grant that was roughly the same size, and both towns partnered for the work at Pioneer while independently working on the elementary schools.
At Pioneer, improvements were made to the sealing of doors and ceilings to keep in air conditioning and heat during the appropriate seasons. Up to 50 ventilation fans were replaced and elements of the heating system, which were inefficient, were also replaced, Wagner said.
Additionally, a destratification fan, which reduces hot and cold spots through the mixing of air in large industrial and commercial spaces, was installed in the school gymnasiums.
At the elementary school, insulation improvements were made to attic space and doorways.
“It really was a huge project,” Wagner said. “We need to work on projects that are high-impact, but also short-payback.”
The Energy Committee estimates the improvements will save the school district $80,000 per year.
Those attending Northfield Energy Day can learn about the committee’s experiences and apply that knowledge to their own homes to create a more sustainable community. Wagner noted that 2019 is the final year Northfield homeowners are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar panel installation.
Reach Zack DeLuca at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.