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Focus On: Cumberland, a Maryland Smart Energy Community

Maryland Energy Administration staff present Cumberland’s local engineering team with their Maryland Smart Energy Community Sign


Cumberland is Maryland Smart Energy Community (MSEC). Maryland Energy Administration Director, Mary Beth Tung and Chief of Staff, Chris Rice, Director of Government Affairs, Dr. Ryan Opsal and Energy Program Manager Richard Mallory met with Cumberland city officials on October 11, 2019. The Cumberland engineers includes Robert Smith, Director of Engineering Morgan Alban, Planner/GIS Tech and Raquel J. Ketterman Environmental Specialist, all of whom oversee local energy upgrades. The newest cycle of MSEC grant is now open, application deadline is December 20, 2019.

The MSEC program encourages local governments to adopt long term, smart-energy policies to address energy efficiency, renewable energy and petroleum reduction.  After applying to MEA’s MSEC program in 2015, Cumberland received an award of up to $45,000 to upgrade lighting and HVAC retrofits at its city hall, municipal services center, and the wastewater treatment plant administrative building. The lighting projects resulted in total annual kWh reduction of 58,549 kilowatt hour (kWh) and cost savings of $4,567. The HVAC projects resulted in total annual kWh reduction of 7,945 kWh and cost savings $620. All together, this is enough energy saved to power five Maryland homes for an entire year.

In 2016, Cumberland was awarded up to $43,100 to install 24 automatic valves in three aeration basins at the water reclamation facility. The current manual valves result in a wide range of dissolved oxygen levels within the basins and require the current blower to run at high speeds. The initial estimate by the University of Delaware’s Mid-Atlantic Industrial Assessment Center estimated that the volumetric flow rate would be reduced by an average of 20%, resulting in a change in the volumetric flow rate that translates to a reduction of 513,400 kWh per year.

Upon an energy assessment review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the original project was extended and expanded for a Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) grant application to include new turbo blowers, airflow meters, supervisory control and data acquisition or SCADA upgrade, DO/ORP analyzers, mechanical piping and installation, and electrical/control wiring. The larger project is estimated to be completed in early 2020 and result in an additional 793,063 kWh annual reduction (or 1,303,463 total).