Want to Know How to Decarbonize?
- Maximize energy efficiency
- Electrify everything
- Use clean electricity
These are the 3 keys principles of the Town of Winchester’s Climate Action Plan. They are great for the town, and great for FCCW too! The Leadership Team (LT) has commissioned the Decarbonization Task Force (DTF) to find a path forward for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero or near zero. We think FCCW can achieve that goal using the same 3 key strategies as the town.
- Maximize Energy Efficiency – lowering energy usage is the best way to decarbonize. “The cleanest heat is the heat you don’t generate; the cleanest electricity is the electricity you don’t use”. For heating at FCCW, this strategy is all about improving the energy efficiency of the building envelope (walls, windows, attics, roofs) – through insulation, sealing air leaks, etc. For electricity at FCCW, we’ve already come a long way to being efficient – we have LED lights throughout the building and motion sensor on/off switches that only use electricity when and where it’s needed. Yay us!
- Electrify Everything – for FCCW this means converting our current heating system – methane gas burning boiler and steam heat distribution pipes – to some sort of heating method that uses electricity instead of methane gas. We are exploring air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps as possible electrified heating system solutions. There may be other options too but these two seem the most likely. There are other smaller scale electrification opportunities too – heat pumps for hot water, convert gas stoves to induction, use electric landscaping equipment (leaf blowers, lawn mowers), use electric vehicles (snow plowing contractor).
- Use Clean Electricity – the good news here is that FCCW is already participating in Winchester’s WinPower 100 OptUp program, so our current electricity use is from 100% renewable sources. To read more about how this program works click here. You can do this for your home too – the more households and buildings in town that sign up, the better leverage the buying consortium gains. But clean electricity doesn’t stop here – as we electrify more and more of the building’s systems, we may want to consider generating some electricity through solar options on our campus. Building on prior solar analysis work, we will be exploring on-site solar options
Stay tuned for more Decarbonization Task Force communications as we proceed to find a path forward. And feel free to ask any of us about what we’re learning about how to decarbonize our 34,000 square foot building.
The DTF – Bruce Alexander, Ed Banzy, Anne Hoenicke, Barry McArdle, Jessica McArdle, Jason Ryan, Penny Sparrow.