Friday, July 3, 2009
Town energy audit sparks conservation
The first moves toward a Carlisle energy conservation plan have begun, fi red by a state energy audit of eight town buildings. The newly formed Energy Efficiency Task Force, which was appointed by the Carlisle Selectmen, met on June 16 to review the audit reports. “These are walk-through energy audits, identifying some good effi ciency measures, but we expect to identify more efficiency opportunities with a more detailed look at the buildings and transportation energy use,” Chair Dan Cook explained in an email. Task force members also include residents Steve Hinton and Glen Reed, as well as Carlisle Building Inspector John Luther.
The energy audit was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources Energy Audit Program and performed by Facility Energy Consultants, LLC of Ohio. The audit process included visits to town buildings, reviews of utility bills and interviews of personnel. Results included a measure of the energy intensity, defi ned as the annual energy usage per square foot (see Table 1 below).
Two buildings received Energy Star ratings, which on a scale of 1 – 100 rates how the building’s energy efficiency compares to like buildings across the state. The Town Hall received an Energy Star rating of 22, which indicates a belowaverage energy efficiency compared to other governmental buildings. The Carlisle Public School and Wastewater Treatment facility received a rating of 59, which places the school slightly above average in energy efficiency.
The consultants choose three buildings on which to perform in-depth audits, with walk-through audits of the other five buildings. They identified modifi cations or Energy Conservations Measures (ECM) that could be made to each of the buildings, estimated the cost of the modifi cations, the yearly savings and the number of years it would take for the ECM costs to be recovered. While some measures offer quick paybacks on investment, others, while less expensive, offer lower savings and a longer payback period. Table 2 (see below) lists recommendations made for the three buildings that were audited in depth. A separate summary document was prepared which lists energy conservation suggestions for the five other buildings.
Task force takes a long, wide view at conservation
Cook explained the task force is taking a comprehensive look at all town energy usage. “We will evaluate the energy use (electric, gas, oil, transportation), rates and cost of fuel for all municipal energy uses.” The task force plans to identify changes that can be made quickly versus longer term projects that require capital funding. Funding sources might include utility companies, state and federal programs, and other grant programs, he said. “Based on the results of our review, we plan to take a comprehensive view of how best to reduce energy use in town buildings, including optimizing utility financial incentives and other funding sources to minimize costs to the town while maximizing efficiency.”
Cook explained that the task force will plan energy upgrades carefully. “We don’t want to be investing in efficiency equipment that may be removed at a later date and waste precious financial resources after we look at the bigger picture and identify systems that should be replaced due to poor effi ciency or equipment failure due to age or changes in available technology.”
The committee will chart historic energy usage and investigate the use of hybrid vehicles. “We also plan to include an education program by establishing a process to educate the townspeople about what projects the committee is considering and what townspeople can do to reduce energy use in their homes while reducing their carbon footprint at the same time.” He said all information generated by the task force will eventually be available online. Δ
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