Green Community Grant - Claremont/Woodland Academy School Lighting Project

The City of Worcester was awarded a $248,849 Green Community grant in 2016 to complete an energy efficient LED lighting upgrade at a city school*. The award was one of 47 Green Communities Competitive Grants announced by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The project involved replacing approximately 1,947 interior fluorescent lights with high-efficiency LED (light-emitting diode) lights.

In addition to the financial and environmental benefits from reduced electrical consumption, the project also served as a case study for future municipal lighting retrofit projects and provided educational opportunities regarding the benefits of more efficient lighting systems.

Work Schedule: While project development and preparation took some time, once started, the actual work to replace the lights moved swiftly, commencing in May and ending in early September, causing minimal disruptions to school schedule.

Energy Savings and Taking Advantage of “Intelligent Lights”:

Zap Electric electrician working to replace CFL with LED lights

  • 67% wattage reduction: The wattage associated with lighting in the building was reduced 67% from 180,024 watts to 59,934 watts!
  • 38% electricity consumption reduction: The first two months following project’s completion in September 2018 have already shown a 38% reduction in overall electricity (kWh) consumed by the building!
  • Motion (aka occupancy) Sensors: Motion detection, daylight sensors and digital timers were incorporated into most fixtures in the classrooms and offices to further reduce energy consumption. For example, in the classrooms, all lights were automatically set at 80% brightness with occupancy sensing programmed to dim down to 55% after 15 minutes of no motion detected, and to shut off 5 minutes after that.
  • Daylight Harvesting Sensors: The row of lights closest to the windows was programmed to dim to 40% brightness when daylight is present.

Funding: The $573,323 project was funded by a combination of the Green Community Grant (43%), MassSave incentives (27%), and a three-year on-bill-financing offered by National Grid to the Schools (30%).

Payback: While the Project payback is 3 years, the immediate reductions in the school’s electrical bill from reduced consumption resulted in the near immediate cancelling out of the schools’ additional project costs.

Location. Claremont Academy and Woodland Academy, are housed in the same building, which was constructed in 1999. Prior to the lighting upgrade, the building was the 4th largest electrical consumer in the Worcester Public Schools system.

Project Team. The project is a collaboration by the City Energy & Asset Management Division, Worcester Public Schools’ Facilities Department and Zap Electric Inc., the electrical contractor that was awarded the bid. The work started in May and is almost complete as of end of August, 2018.

For questions, please contact

Part of the project team (left to right): Sean Callahan from Ion Lighting Distribution, Mike Menard of Zap Electric, and Matthew Urban, Project Manager, City of Worcester.

*While the original project was planned for the Burncoat High School, it was later re-programmed to serve the Claremont Academy and Woodland Academy instead.