Sun, Apr 20, 2014 ●
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Scarborough receives grant, considers energy projects

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Scarborough receives grant, considers energy projects

SCARBOROUGH — The town has been allocated $84,300 from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.

According to the Web site, eecbg.energy.gov, the grants "represent a presidential priority to deploy the cheapest, cleanest and most reliable energy technologies we have – energy efficiency and conservation – across the country."

Under the conditions of the grant, the town must use the funds on projects that would reduce its fossil fuel emissions, reduce total energy use of the eligible project, improve energy efficiency in transportation, building or other areas, and create jobs.

The town is guaranteed the funds if it meets the criteria, but it must apply for the money and include a description of the proposed projects. Under the terms of the grant, the goal is to use at least 50 percent of the funds for proposals that can be started by mid-June.

Town Manager Tom Hall said he contacted departments to ask for suggestions for possible energy-related improvements or additions when he received news of the grant.

"I challenged my staff and gave them two weeks to come up with projects," he said.

Ten suggestions for projects were submitted from different departments, Hall said. After creating a committee to consider each idea, the list was whittled to five.

The first suggestion would replace Town Hall parking lot light fixtures with equivalent LED fixtures. While the long-term quality and cost operation of this lighting system is not yet fully known, the project would give the town a chance to assess its success to determine whether to replace other light fixtures in the future.

The Planning Department suggested using some of the money to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of using wind power in the Oak Hill area to provide electricity for its high concentration of school and municipal buildings. The study would analyze the area's wind to make sure it would be sufficient to generate the power needed to make the wind turbine a financially sound investment.

The department estimated the study would cost about $30,000, but suggested much of that could be saved for the design, engineering and purchase of a wind turbine if the existing communication tower at the nearby Public Safety building could be used  to collect the data.

A project proposed by Public Works that is under consideration would be to purchase a control system to automatically adjust the block heaters used by the 16 snow removal trucks from mid-October to mid-April. By using the energy-efficient system, it is estimated the town could save more than $18,000 a year.

Sports facilities lighting would be changed in another project under consideration. A new system would increase the life of the lamps for a 66 percent increase in operating efficiency and reduce off-site flooding by 50 percent.

The last idea under consideration is installing occupancy sensors in Town Hall, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions while saving the town money over the sensors' lifetime.

The town will be submitting these ideas in the next couple of weeks, Hall said.

"Four of the five are fairly simple and straightforward," Hall said.
"They would reduce the carbon footprint ... nothing earth-shattering, but
we expect to reap serious savings in the future."

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.