October 14, 2010

Efficiency gives town warm feeling

The Taylor Library’s energy cost savings may
 be small, but for officials it’s just the beginning. 
Next on the town's list of "green" initiatives: upgrade drafty windows at Taylor Library.
Union Leader Correspondent

 — Though $100 dollars might be a drop in the bucket of overall town spending, officials say the energy savings at Taylor Library since efficiency updates last spring could pave the way for upgrades in other town-owned buildings.
In March, the Derry Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee conducted an energy audit of
 the Taylor Library in East Derry, suggesting that library staff change out roughly 25 incandescent light bulbs for the compact fluorescent varieties, seal up leaky heating ducts in the basement and insulate the frames around several doors.
“We looked at some of the things we could do effectively, efficiently and inexpensively and got most of that done,” said energy committee
 Chairman Tom Minnon. 
Switching out the incandescent bulb of the flagpole spotlight
 for LED lights has contributed to the Taylor Library's
10-percent cut in energy costs, said Taylor Library Director Linda Merrill.
While Taylor Library Director Linda Merrill said the library had stored away $10,000 in unspent funds from last year’s budget for efficiency updates, much of the labor was provided by the energy committee free of charge. 
“It was wonderful to have something like this done for free and to have people in town saving the town money,” Merrill said. 
And since March, the library has already cut its energy costs by 10 percent over last year, said Derry Public Works Director Mike Fowler. 
Since April, the library has spent $1,032 on electricity, Fowler said, down $123 over the same period last year. But for a small building that pays less than $2,500 for an entire year of electricity, the $100 reduction means a lot, Fowler said. 
“It’s small, but the project wasn’t that large to begin with,” he said. “In future years, I suspect savings might be a little bit better wrapped in with other work.” 
Up next, Merrill said contractors will remove the building’s 16 exterior storm windows and install new, more efficient storm windows on the inside of each pane. 
“We knew we needed to do something because it gets so cold in the winter,” Merrill said, highlighting a particularly chilly reading corner near a drafty window in the small library. 
“We tell people, if you’re going to sit over there, bring your jacket.” 
And while the Taylor Library was a pilot project for the recently formed energy committee, Minnon said the group is also eyeing efficiency upgrades to go along with upcoming renovations at the Derry Public Library. 
The public library updates, which are scheduled to begin this summer, will restructure the main floor of the 20-yearold building and put up new paint and carpeting, said Derry Public Library Director Cheryl Lynch. 
Minnon said the energy committee is hoping to see the library use green paints and carpets that don’t emit “volatile organic compounds” that can lead to poor air quality. Ideally, he said, the library would meet standards laid out by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification system. 
“We want to make sure we comply with the guidelines established by LEED,” Minnon said. “Any remodeling and new construction in town should really try to meet those guidelines.” 
Further Minnon said he’d like to see lighting upgrades at the public library similar to what was completed at Taylor Library, though obviously on a much larger scale. 
Initial estimates show upgrading all the library’s lighting could run $35,000, Minnon said, but that it is expected to return on that investment in four years with energy savings. 
But Lynch said funding those changes upfront could be tricky. 
“The trustees are thrilled by these suggestions and will certainly look at how much it’s going to cost,” Lynch said. “I don’t know if we’re going to measure up to LEED standards because it’s extremely expensive, and we’re trying to do this with the (library) fine account.” 
In the shorter term, Fowler said current heating and window upgrades to Veterans Memorial Hall could end up cutting energy costs nearly in half, saving the town about $5,000 each year. 
And Fowler said Boston based consultant Peregrine Energy Group will also soon audit the Derry Police Department and Adams Memorial Building as part of a New Hampshire Energy Technical Assistance and Planning program using federal stimulus money. 
With limited funds, Fowler said, Peregrine will focus on two of the buildings that he thinks would likely benefit most from windows, lighting and insulation upgrades. 
But like updates at the Derry Public Library, Fowler said, the expense of efficiency upgrades will determine the pace at which they are brought in. 
“We would use (Peregrine’s) findings as a basis to bring to the Town Council,” Fowler said. “But we know that in most cases because money is so tight, it isn’t going to be something that is funded in the first or second year.” 

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