PROVIDENCE — The City of Pawtucket was awarded a “Lead By Example” energy award from the Office of Energy Resources on Friday, as the city was celebrated for investing $4.5 million to update heating and lighting equipment in city buildings.

The award presentation at the Statehouse on Friday was part of the OER’s recognition of 25 state government agencies, quasi-public agencies, municipalities, and state colleges and universities for their renewable energy and energy efficiency achievements.

In addition to the upgrades to heating and lighting in public buildings, Pawtucket was also feted for installing LED streetlights, energy management systems, new boilers, and the implementation of many energy efficiency measures across municipal buildings. These upgrades are expected to improve building comfort and save $300,000 annually, OER officials said.

The Lead by Example program promotes the adoption of clean energy measures across public sector facilities throughout Rhode Island.

“Each of our nominees deserve praise for setting a shining example for others to follow,” said Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “These clean energy projects show what we can accomplish when we work together to lower carbon emissions and create a more reliable, affordable and sustainable energy future.”

A 2015 executive order from Raimondo directed state agencies to “Lead by Example” and transition energy supply and consumption practices to lower-cost, cleaner, low-carbon solutions. Among the Lead by Example directives, the governor has tasked OER with overseeing and coordinating activities across government.

“In our third year hosting the Lead by Example Clean Energy Awards, we are amazed by the sheer volume of clean energy projects taking place in our state,” said State Energy Commissioner Carol Grant. “In particular, public schools made an impressive showing at this year’s awards with several outstanding energy efficiency projects that reduce energy costs and help make for a more comfortable learning environment for our children.”

Warwick Public Schools were honored for implementing energy saving measures throughout 10 schools in 2018, including LED lighting improvements, mechanical systems, energy efficient motors, and variable speed drive installations and energy management system upgrades. The schools will save about $215,000 each year, OER officials said.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation was honored for converting 7,700 Rhode Island-owned highway streetlights to LED, making RIDOT a national leader in this endeavor. Wireless controls allow operators to monitor and control the streetlights remotely. The new streetlights improve driving conditions and slash lighting energy consumption by half. DOT also installed three electric charging stations and a new state-of-the-art building automation system, officials noted.

The Rhode Island Convention Center was celebrated for installing a high-efficiency chiller, three cooling towers, condensing boilers, variable frequency drives, refrigeration controls and converting its neon signs to LED. The center improved its overall heating and cooling operation, saving up to 25 percent on its energy bills, officials said.

Rhode Island College received an award for implementing energy efficiency and infrastructure improvements across 33 campus buildings, totaling $13 million. The college has demonstrated its commitment to renewable energy by installing a 110-kilowatt solar system on the rooftop of the Donovan Dining Center and the Student Union.

Jonathan Bissonnette on Twitter @J_Bissonnette

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