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City of Cumberland Builds Success on Energy Savings

Cumberland is a participant of the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Maryland Smart Energy Communities (MSEC) program which encourages local governments to adopt long term, smart-energy policies.  Cumberland became a MSEC participating local government in 2015 and received an award of $45,000 to undertake lighting and HVAC retrofits at its city hall, municipal services center, and the wastewater treatment plant administrative building.  The lighting projects resulted in an annual reduction of 58,549 kilowatt-hours (kWh) and a cost savings of $4,567.  The HVAC projects resulted in annual reduction of 7,945 kWh and cost savings of $620. All together, this is enough energy saved to power five Maryland homes for an entire year. 

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

Once a community has joined MSEC, it can apply annually for projects that assist in reaching its energy goals. All MSEC participating local governments adopt two or more of the following policies: energy efficiency, renewable energy and or transportation petroleum reduction. MSEC participants reduce energy consumption in their facility buildings by 15% within five years of their selected baseline year. MSEC participants develop projects to increase the community’s renewable energy capacity to meet 20% of their local government –owned buildings’ electricity demand within five years of the selected baseline year. MSEC participants work to reduce petroleum fuel consumption for all local government vehicles by 20% within five years of their community’s selected baseline year.  

Cumberland was awarded $43,100 in 2016 to install 24 automatic valves in three aeration basins at its water reclamation facility.  The older, manual valves created a wide range of dissolved oxygen levels within the basins that required the blowers to run constantly at high speeds.  An initial estimate by the University of Delaware’s Mid-Atlantic Industrial Assessment Center determined that the volumetric flow rate could be reduced by an average of 20% using updated controls, resulting in an energy reduction of 513,400 kWh per year.

Cumberland’s waste water treatment plant .

Upon an energy assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the original project was extended and expanded with  funds from the Maryland Department of Environment’s (MDE) Energy and Water Infrastructure Program (EWIP). EWIP is a partnership between MDE and MEA, with MEA providing more than $20 million in funding via the Strategic Energy Investment Fund.  This additional grant allowed for new turbo blowers, airflow meters, SCADA upgrade, DO/ORP analyzers, mechanical piping and installation, and electrical/control wiring.  The larger project is now complete and is expected to result in an additional 793,063 kWh annual reduction. The updated total annual energy reduction for Cumberland is now 1,303,463 kWh (which equates to a decrease in CO2 emissions of 922 metric tons) or 50% which yields an annual cost savings of $130,346. 

The aeration optimization of the Cumberland wastewater treatment plant was a great project to implement,” stated Raquel Ketterman, Cumberland’s Environmental Specialist and project manager.  “The support and recommendations from MEA, MDE and EPA led to the development of a quality energy efficiency project for our city.”

As an MSEC community, Cumberland is positioned to build upon their success. Through energy efficiency upgrades, the city has found an extra $130,000 they can use for other projects.  MEA is proud to help our MSEC communities invest in their new energy future. To find out if your town, city or country is already an MSEC participant, click here. The next round of MSEC grants will open soon; click here to apply when the next cycle starts.