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Small town reduces energy consumption, helps EmPOWER Maryland

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Though Galestown’s population is right around 100 people, the town has taken big strides toward energy efficiency. To reach the EmPOWER Maryland goal of reducing energy consumption 15 percent by 2015 though, every Maryland county, municipality and resident needs to contribute. Through the Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, Galestown is making that contribution.

The Dorchester County town received a $5,000 EECBG grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, which it used for energy efficiency upgrades to its community center. The grant enabled the town to purchase a brand new ENERGY STAR refrigerator, and replaced three old, inefficient ones.

Ron James, former Mayor of Galestown, said, “The county health department inspector was very impressed when the yearly inspection was completed. The inspection had previously failed two of the old refrigerators.”

In addition to helping the community center meet county health codes, this project is estimated to reduce its annual electricity consumption by 2,129 kWh. This amounts to a savings of $310 a year.

Under the EECBG program, the 10 largest Maryland counties and the 10 largest Maryland municipalities (based on population) received grants directly from the DOE. MEA manages approximately $9.6 million in the State’s remaining EECBG funds, which the agency uses for projects in the remaining counties and municipalities. Galestown is the first MEA EECBG project to be completed.

By installing an ENERGY STAR refrigerator to replace the three older units, Galestown will also be able to avoid future maintenance and replacement costs. The typical life span of a refrigerator is 8-14 years, and the three units replaced were already 11-12 years old. Additionally, the new refrigerator has more than 30 percent more storage capacity than the total of the three replaced units, and uses 53 percent less energy.

While the town is happy to reduce its annual energy use, the folks that frequent the community center are happy to see new appliances there. According to Mayor James, “The citizens of Galestown thought nothing so great could ever be purchased to replace the old ugly refrigerators.”