December 30, 2015

Gas Leaks Dwarf Savings from Conservation 
The pipes under the streets of Massachusetts are leaking natural gas. Huge amounts. A fact that drives Audrey Schulman crazy. 
“I read an article about old leaky pipes in Boston and there was one line that said the amount of gas leaked in the city each year totally dwarfs the amount that Mass Save saves,” she said.

Mass Save is a statewide energy efficiency organization run by the utilities and funded by a small surcharge on our energy bills. The money is used to help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy bills through free energy assessments and incentives like rebates to homeowners who insulate their homes or install a more efficient heating system.

Schulman runs a non-profit called HEET, which helps non-profits access rebates and services from Mass Save so they can save money and “save the planet,” she said. “In the Cambridge YMCA, the work we helped them with this year will reduce their energy bill by almost $50,000 a year,” said Schulman. But she remains frustrated that her efforts to cut greenhouse gases are offset by the leaks in Boston (where half of the pipes are over 50 years old) that should be repaired. “I’m swimming against the tide!” ...

...The problem of decaying infrastructure and gas leaks is not just a local problem, it’s nationwide. “There’s a single gas leak in California,” said Schulman,” that spills enough methane into the air to equal 25% of that state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.”

Read the complete article: HEET: Too Many Holes in Energy Policy, Jewish Journal, Todd Feinburg, Jewish Journal Editor, January 07, 2016.
HEET has mapped the utility companies' gas data by town to create Google maps of 147 Massachusetts towns and cities