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New police expansion plans aim for greener building

September 29, 2010
Another town hall renovation and police station expansion plan has been presented to the Board of Selectmen with a focus on energy efficiency.

Project architect Alan Yeaton of Amoskeag Architectural Group presented revised plans to the board last Wednesday night and said the project estimation has lowered but is still in the $1.2 million range.

Yeaton said with energy efficiency in minds, electrical and mechanical alterations will be made, as well as a replacement of the sidewalk out front, a correction of drainage, door replacements, creating a small vestibule outside, and offering two stories and an additional restroom upstairs for Police Department staff.

Though saving energy is a primary goal with the renovation of the building, a geothermal system no longer exists in the plans.

"We will see new heat pumps and new energy efficient heating systems," Yeaton said. "We are also bringing in a ventilation system."

If the new plans are completed, the building will meet all of the building and fire codes that have altered or upgraded over the years.

With renovations would comes sprinklers and new fire alarm systems installed throughout part of the building, along with "energy sensitive" fixtures. And while ceiling tiles would have to be removed and replaced for installation, it would save money in the end.

"With the fixtures we could save $3 per fixture per year," said Yeaton who added that he assessed the model of the building as it is now, and then its efficiency if renovated. "New windows would increase 4 percent in energy efficiency, and insulation by 14 percent."

Yeaton said the insulation, slightly altered from the last plan, and heating and cooling systems should allow for the building to become "greener," with less energy consumption overall.

Although there was debate on whether replacing the old windows with new ones would be cost-effective, Yeaton pointed out that the windows may need to be replaced in the long run anyhow.

"The building is losing heat with the windows, and even the doors. They are metal with wood trim and the wood behind them is rotted," said Yeaton. "They must be taken out to align correctly with the design."

There would be an estimated $353 payback if the windows remained as is, but Town Administrator Scott Dunn said the value of replacing the windows would outweigh the added cost if rotted wood and the aesthetics of the building are taken into consideration. New windows would also come with a 30-year warranty.

"I was also reluctant to replace the windows, but when Alan (Yeaton) did the inspection, he found rotting in the windows. It's a valid argument and worth not receiving the extra money," said Dunn.

Selectmen John O'Brien added at this point, any improvement to the building is going to help in the end.

Dunn said the energy efficient portion of the project could possibly be funded by the New Hampshire Municipal Energy Assistance Program for energy conservation projects such as this one. This would be a seven year loan at a rate of 3.5 percent, covering almost $500,000 of the project.

While Yeaton estimated the price of the project to be about $1.2 million, he said that depending on his collaboration with Dunn, their creativeness and chosen route of alternative funds could lower that figure.

Only a hand full of members of the public attended the public hearing. Gilford resident Barbara Aichinger said she believed it was still too early to invest in such a project in a difficult economy, but she would approve of the plan when the economy improved.

Tiffany Eddy
Martin Lord Osman
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