New warehouse now Mass. town's biggest green energy provider
The Centennial Park commercial site where, 18 months ago, an industrial fire sent thick smoke rising from a flaming vat of Styrofoam products, is now a top-of-the-line metal warehouse — and the largest supplier of solar power for the city of Peabody, Mass.
The new blue building replaces the one where Lifoam produced Styrofoam products like coolers and pool noodles, until a metal light bulb caused an industrial fire that raged for days, reports the Salem News. The City Council recently approved a special permit for CEVA Logistics, a trucking terminal, to operate out of part of the new facility.
"We're building a better building. It's more energy-efficient," property owner David Harrison said. "It's better insulated than your house, by far. Everything is high-efficiency – the gas heaters we're putting in; the ESFR sprinkler system with a booster pump is a phenomenal system. We're spending a lot of money, but I'm doing it right so we only have to do it once."
The entire building will be lit with LED lighting.
The roof is lined with 2,222 solar panels that make up a 711-kilowatt system, according to Harrison. Since the solar power went online in May, it has generated enough energy to power 32 homes for a year.
Harrison chose to have solar panels on the roof not only for the environmental benefits, he said, but because that added revenue is another way to support the building. Energy from the roof is directed to the Peabody Municipal Light Plant, which pays him 5.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a fixed price for the next 20 years. Harrison's future tenants will buy power from PMLP.
CEVA Logistics, the building's first tenant, has been working out of South Boston for 15 years and provides air export and ground services throughout New England. The Peabody location will support pickup and delivery operations in 40,000 square feet of the new warehouse, which is expected to be complete by March.
The remaining 105,000 square feet won't be finished until after Harrison finds a tenant, he said, so he can customize the building to the needs of the business.
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