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by The Republican Newsroom
Monday September 15, 2008, 3:15 PM

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LUDLOW- The Hampden County Sheriff's Department has gone green.

A recently completed two-year energy and water conservation project is expected to reduce power and energy costs at the Hampden County Correction Center at Stonybrook by some $550,000 a year, Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe announced today.

Savings created by the initiative are being used to fund the infrastructure improvements, resulting in no up-front costs to Hampden County taxpayers, project officials said. It was completed in conjunction with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management.

Project officials unveiled the changes Monday morning. It includes the replacement of more than 4,400 light fixtures within the facility.

"We're successfully addressing rising energy costs, replacing equipment at the end of its useful life and the environmental impact of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department with this initiative," Ashe said.

"We are very pleased with this project," said the sheriff's brother, J. John Ashe, superintendent of the Hampden County Sheriff's Department and Correctional Center. "It's certainly timely when you see all the issues nationally around energy."

The sheriff's department worked with Lowell-based Constellation and Energy Projects and Services to implement the changes.

The effort also qualified the project for more than $220,000 in utility rebates from Western Massachusetts Electric Co. and Baystate Gas.

The bulk of the project was completed in May although a few minor items are still being completed, said William M. Christofori, chief financial officer for the facility.

Richard L. Oswald, regional conservation and load management manager for Western Massachusetts Electric Co. said the new light fixtures use some 25 to 30 percent of the power that the old ones did.

"It reduces the load on our system significantly," Oswald said. "The more we can reduce the load the less our system gets stressed."

Other facility-wide improvements include low-flow faucets and showers, computerized and centralized climate control and energy management systems.

Derek Buchler, manager of demand side management for Bay State Gas, said the energy savings from the project, over its lifetime, will amount to the energy required to heat over 1,000 homes for an entire year.

If the WCSO did this, they COULD have the money to expand the HOC. History tells me Glodis would use the money to buy more cop playing stuff.
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