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Exeter YMCA Takes Steps to Slash Energy Use

LED lighting, additional equipment installed as part of energy-efficiency initiative.
Hampton, NH

The Exeter Area YMCA has made the switch to LED lighting and installed HVAC fan motor controls in an effort to reduce energy usage and lower costs.

Unitil worked closely on the project with representatives from the Southern District YMCA, which operates the Exeter facility at 56 Linden St.

“From an energy efficiency standpoint, this was a significant improvement for the Y and we’re pleased that they were able to move ahead with the project,” said Unitil External Affairs Manager Alec O’Meara. “This center plays an important role in the greater Exeter community and we applaud any steps that can be taken to enhance efficiency and make the building greener.”  

Unitil provided more than $72,000 in energy efficiency incentives to help cover some of the costs for the work, which included the replacement of 335 interior and exterior fluorescent and HID lighting fixtures with LED lights and the installation of 10 variable frequency drives on rooftop HVAC units. The drives can reduce energy consumption by modulating the motor load on the supply fans to cut energy usage during periods of lower HVAC demand. 
The light replacement work cost $70,155, but was offset by $52,616 in energy efficiency incentives.

Unitil was able to provide the incentives through NHSaves, which is a collaboration of New Hampshire’s electric and natural gas utilities working together to provide customers with information, incentives, and support designed to save energy, reduce costs, and protect the environment statewide.

The new LED lights are projected to slash the number of kilowatt hours used annually at the center by 133,678, resulting in a potential savings of more than $20,000 a year.

Installation of the variable frequency drives cost $26,289, but the price tag was reduced as a result of $19,717 in additional energy efficiency incentives. The equipment is estimated to lower energy usage by 41,636 kilowatt hours a year, which could lead to an annual savings of nearly $6,250.

This was the most significant project undertaken by the Exeter Area YMCA since the 40,000-square-foot facility opened in 2015.

“I’m so proud of this project. There’s cost savings for us, but there are also environmental savings. These lights will last a lot longer so we won’t have to box up the fluorescent lighting and pay to have them shipped off,” said Sean Murphy, facilities coordinator for the Southern District YMCA, which owns the Exeter facility.

Murphy said the building often experiences vibration from various activities, most notably weights being dropped on the second floor that caused the old lights on the first-floor ceiling to blow out. No bulbs have needed to be replaced from vibration since the LED lights were installed, he said, adding, “We were replacing lights all the time. That was just a byproduct that I didn’t even realize was going to happen.”

AECOM, a global infrastructure consulting firm, was hired to conduct a turnkey energy audit of the facility to identify opportunities for energy efficiency projects. The audit resulted in the proposals aimed at improving facility lighting and HVAC systems while reducing energy usage and maintenance requirements.

“These energy saving measures allow for savings based on operation schedule and load demands while increasing motor lifetime. Working with local subcontractors, we procured material, installed equipment and safely removed hazardous waste on site like old fluorescent tubes. In summary, we were able to work around the busy gym environment with little customer interruption as well as install an amazing energy saving project for the YMCA of Exeter,” said Erik Onufry, an energy analyst at AECOM.

For more information on energy efficiency incentives available through NHSaves, visit

Photo Above:

Sean Murphy, facilities coordinator for the Southern District YMCA, stands under some of the newly installed LED lighting in the Exeter facility.


About Unitil

Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering natural gas and electricity in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices, and technologies that lead to the delivery of dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil's operating utilities serve approximately 108,100 electric customers and 87,500 natural gas customers.


Media Contact

Alec O'Meara
External Affairs Manager