- Departments A through K
- Public Projects
- Library HVAC Upgrades
Library HVAC Upgrades
January 17, 2023 Press Release
The City of Beverly has launched a transformative project to decarbonize Beverly’s Main Library and improve building performance, air quality, and service to community members as a cooling center in the summer. The current Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment has reached the end of its useful life and the City of Beverly is committed to replacing the existing fossil fuel-powered heating and cooling system with geothermal heat pumps.
The Beverly Public Library is well-recognized among residents as a welcoming resource. It loans over 367,000 items annually and, beyond its important roles in lending and community programming, the library has also been used as a cooling center during heat waves. As the City experiences more high-heat days due to climate change, a reliable cooling system will provide an increasingly critical public health service to the community.
From a 2021 conceptual study examining HVAC upgrades for the building, the geothermal heat pump system was the strongest option to significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint and lower long-term maintenance needs. In 2022, the City engaged an Owner’s Project Manager and procured the engineering firm B2Q to design the new system. Once the full project scope has been defined in early 2023, the City will engage a Construction Manager.
“We are excited to move forward with our second geothermal HVAC project, having installed one for the new police station,” said Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill. “The ability to heat and cool these buildings in significant part by using the earth’s natural below-ground temperature, via an electric ground-source heat pump system, means that as our electricity is increasingly delivered from clean, renewable sources, these buildings will eventually create little to no harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”
What to Expect
The project design is underway with construction anticipated to be completed in 2024.
Using a phased construction approach, the library expects to remain operational during construction. While the City is committed to minimizing disruption to library services as much as possible, there will be periods during which the parking lot and some sections of the building will be unavailable. Occasional closures of the building may be required.
In addition to the metered spots that will remain available on Essex Street and public parking lots on Pond Street, other parking options are currently being explored. Specific updates regarding any delayed openings, closures, or service changes, will be posted to the library’s website and the City’s project web page. A more detailed schedule showing impacts to the library services will be posted when the construction schedule is finalized and more specific information becomes available.
The City of Beverly has demonstrated commitment to this project by appropriating two million dollars from Free Cash to launch the project. This project was recently awarded a $500,000 Green Communities Decarbonization Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Governor Charlie Baker announced the Green Communities grant awards on January 4, 2023.
The City has also secured $1 Million in Community Project Funding through the advocacy of Congressman Seth Moulton and $300,000 in the state FY 2023 operating budget through the advocacy of Representative Jerry Parisella and State Senator Joan Lovely. The City anticipates significant additional incentive funds from National Grid for the HVAC upgrades and weatherization, and will continue to pursue grant opportunities for the project.
The total budget will be determined after the full project scope has been defined.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the scope of the project? Why is the library HVAC being replaced?
- The City of Beverly has launched a transformative project to decarbonize Beverly’s main library and improve building performance, air quality, and service to community members as a cooling center in the summer.
- The Beverly Public Library was first established in 1855 and operated out of City Hall until it moved to its current location in 1913. The building was renovated and expanded in 1993, which included the installation of the mechanical Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment still used today.
- After 30 years, the current HVAC equipment has reached the end of its useful life and is in need of replacement. The condensing unit serving one of the Roof-Top Units (RTUs) providing ~40% of the cooling for the library has already failed.
What is the project timeline?
- The project is expected to be completed in Summer 2024. Updates will be posted as they become available.
What are the anticipated construction impacts?
- A detailed schedule showing impacts to library services will be posted when the construction schedule is finalized and more specific information becomes available.
- In anticipation of the geothermal drilling, some trees in the parking lot have been removed. These ash trees were facing an emerald ash borer infestation and were already in decline. Additional trees may be removed as the project progresses.
Why did the City decide to use a geothermal heating and cooling system?
- In 2021, the City ran a study to understand and compare HVAC replacement options. The City evaluated the cost and performance of replacing the existing system with similar equipment, as well as alternative options such as air-source heat pumps and ground-source heat pumps.
- The City found that a ground-source heat pump system, or a geothermal system, was the best option to reduce the most energy use and eliminate on-site fossil fuel use by removing gas-fired equipment. Geothermal technology makes it possible to heat and cool the library using the Earth’s naturally stable below-ground temperature–a renewable energy source.
- The library has also been used as a cooling center during heat waves. As the City experiences more high-heat days due to climate change, a reliable cooling system will provide an increasingly critical public health service to the community.
How does this project help our climate goals?
- In Resilient Together, the City’s climate action plan, the City committed to leading by example through adoption of smart, clean, net zero technology in existing and new municipal buildings. Buildings are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, and this project is expected to remove gas entirely (21,000 therms to zero) and reduce HVAC electricity usage.
- This helps the City meet its goal of reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030.
Where can I find more information?
- Updates regarding any delayed openings, closures, or service changes, will be posted to this page. A more detailed schedule showing impacts to library services will be posted when the construction schedule is finalized and more specific information becomes available.