Weekly Wonder: Boston City Hall consumed 9% less energy in 2018-19 than it did in 2010-11

By Devyani Chhetri
BU News Service

BOSTON — As the year comes closer to its end and the city’s 2020 bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% marches on, BU News Service analyzed Boston City Hall’s electricity usage to figure out whether things seemed to be on track – or not. City Hall consumed nine percent less energy in 2018-2019 than it did in 2010-2011, according to recently released data.

In 2012, an energy assessment report grouped City Hall with seven other buildings for analysis. It found that in FY 2010-2011, City Hall consumed 13,907,920 KWh. This made City Hall the largest consumer of electricity among the eight buildings grouped for analysis. It is also notable that the building consumes 40% more energy than the Strand Theatre, the building that consumed the second most energy.

But the building has done better since then. Our analysis revealed that consumption rates were down by 9% in the last financial year of 2018-2019. 

The electricity demand in City Hall is mapped in 15-minute intervals. This 15 minute interval metric usually helps consumers figure out how much energy they need to run their services and what they can do to reduce it. Many electricity providers such as Eversource, which manages a large portion of Boston’s electrical grids, charge for electricity based on a building’s peak demand. 

City Hall’s peak yearly demand for electricity increased from 2017 (2142 KW)  to 2018 (2269 KW) by six percent, as per our analysis. Demand usually hits its peak during weekdays between 4 p.m and 10 p.m. City Hall was busiest in the months of July and August between 2017-2019. Energy demands were consistently high between the two months, with a combined average consumption of 6,184,657 KWh. 

This year, the average energy consumption has been around 1305 KW per month, and the peak demand per month has been 2231 KW. The numbers are positive in that they are less than what was the average consumption was last year (1448 KW). If this trend remains constant, that’s another step towards a greener Boston. 

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