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Sandwich takes steps toward energy audit


November 11, 2009
SANDWICH — The town is taking its first steps toward an energy audit of town buildings as part of a town hall improvement project.

A successful vote at this year's town meeting lead to the creation of a Building Committee to assess the needs of town buildings. Part of that evaluation is plans to evaluate the heating system and the town's energy use. An application was submitted to the Municipal Energy Assistance Program for information on conducting an energy audit.

The application was accepted and Municipal Energy Assistants Brittany Phelps and Lisa Baldwin made a presentation to the selectmen during Monday's meeting.

According to the presentation, MEAP's town report begins with a presentation to the Board then an analysis is taken by town sector followed by a review of building performance. Recommendations are then made followed by a regional context analysis. The last step includes a review of next steps, resources, and methods.

Data gathered for the inventory includes electricity bills for buildings and streetlights, heating fuel bills, fuel bills for each vehicle, and support information, including building size, heating fuel types, and vehicle types.

Energy use and energy cost will be identified in the town sectors and municipal buildings as well as the level of town building energy intensity.

Representatives from Sustainable Development and Energy Systems, a partner of MEAP, will tour town buildings with town stakeholders as part of the audit process and a target building will be selected for presentation to the Board.

The next step will fall under two different types of building audits; one a decision grade audit to identify areas of energy loss and improvement, and an investment grade audit with includes retrofit cost estimates and payback information.

Around $6.5 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants are available from the state and towns can apply for these funds.

Monday's presentation was the first stage in the process, which would be followed by a letter to staff for collaboration. If the town moves forward with the process, data gathering could begin within the next four weeks followed by a draft inventory report completed in six weeks. A presentation to the selectmen on the results would take place within the next two months followed by an audit in two to three months. Financial consulting would take place from the audit process on and would possibly be followed by a policy audit.

Selectmen said the matter will be further discussed and will go to the Energy Committee for review.

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