Thursday, December 16, 2010

NERCC uses high efficiency equipment, receives rebate

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) recently received a rebate check in the amount of $103,880 from NSTAR Electric. The rebate was part of NSTAR’s Construction Solutions Program, which provides incentives for purchasing and installing high-efficiency equipment for us in commercial and industrial operations.

Before breaking ground at the NERCC’s new headquarters, the Carpenters Center, various rebate and incentive programs were examined as a means to not only cut costs, but improve overall efficiency over the lifetime of the building. NSTAR’s Construction Solutions Program was the best fit in terms of the lighting line and dealt specifically with the purchase of light fixtures and switches throughout the building.

In order to qualify for the program, certain terms and conditions had to be met. The project had to be completed in one year, in this case by May 11, 2010; the application had to be submitted with all paid invoices for material costs and labor; and a post installation verification had to be completed, verifying that the equipment was installed and consistent with sound engineering practices. The application had to be received and approved by NSTAR before construction began.

The lighting at the Carpenters Center has individual controls every regularly occupied space. Private and shared offices have two-level occupancy sensors, individual workstations have flexible, integrally-switched task lights, and classroom/conference spaces have multiple levels of switch controls to allow for adjustment of lighting levels in accordance with the activity happening in the space. By selecting incandescent lights with motion sensors and automatic shut off, the Carpenters Union hoped to save over 30% off of total annual consumption.

As part of its building plan, the Carpenters Union utilized its own Commissioning Study as an extra review process in the design and purchase of various elements throughout the building, including the lighting. This separate layer of review assured the Carpenters Union that the organization is given some kind of refund or equivalent in its operation on a daily basis, that true savings would be realized over the lifetime of the building.

Substantial completion of the project happened in January 2010, well ahead of the May deadline as set by the rebate parameters. With the deadline met and the application otherwise complete, the final step was to pass the post installation verification, during which a throughout audit of the system took place, with every fixture examined throughout the building. After passing the inspection, the rebate check was issued to NERCC.

The lighting line for the Carpenters Center, installed by union contractor McDonald Electric, was $217,000. After passing the final inspection, the NERCC was issued a check in the amount of $103,880. At the time the check was issued, representatives from the Carpenters Union were told that the check was one of the largest to be issued by NSTAR under this program.

“We have training programs for our members to learn the fundamentals of Green Building and prepare for LEED AP certification, however it’s very difficult to preach about the virtues of these practices if we’re not doing it ourselves at home,” notes David Dow, NECMLP Special Projects and Facilities.

“Here at the Carpenters Center we now have a great example of how a building can be Green and efficient. The rewards and benefits of good planning and good design will be realized well beyond this onetime rebate payment and will be seen over the lifetime of the building.”

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