Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheshire Energy Commission - 5/18

At tonight's Energy Commission meeting there was discussion of the Town getting another photovoltaic (PV or solar electric) panel. People were wondering where it should go.

One of the regular non-member attendees (Walt Gayeski) suggested using it to light the sign that stands at the entrance to CHS, but nearer the Youth Center. I think it's a great idea because it'd be an extremely high visibility location. And it could be independently-powered... off the grid.

Also the EC has about $4500 in grant money that must be used to increase public awareness of clean energy. If you (or anyone you know) have any bright ideas for increasing public awareness of clean energy, please contact Carol Wilson. She's the clean energy Chair.

And the last thing to note is that it was requested of the schools' facilities manager that he prepare a list of energy-efficiency projects. See, the $787 billion stimulus package included $108,000 for energy-efficiency projects in Cheshire. And since we don't have a current energy audit of the entire town, I'm guessing that some of the easiest energy-efficiency projects to tackle would be replacing some of the 30 or 40 year old equipment in the school kitchens. But it gets a bit tricky because the capital budget for the kitchens is owned by the school cafeteria program... while the operating budget (the utility bills) for the kitchens is owned by the school maintenance department. Anyway, I'm guessing a few new stoves and/or refrigerators would be one of the easiest ways to make the Town more energy-efficient... yet not require a bunch of meetings... such as likely would be required for building envelope improvements (i.e. - windows, walls, insulation, etc.).

Tim White


Robert said...

How much power does one of these solar panels generate? How much do they cost and how much for installation? How much does it cost to light the sign now? Is there a location in town that uses more power where this can be more of a benefit?

bill said...

A few options for the 108k. Window replacement in Darcey or a microturbine at Darcey. The EC should consider taking one school and making it the most energy efficient it can be and use it as a model for future projects. Do one school, show the paybacks, see real dollar savings and move to another school.

tim white said...

1 kW

The PV is provided to the town free-of-charge as a result of:

1) The Town's membership in the 20% by 2010 clean energy campaign and

2) 100 households participating in the clean energy program



Just an idea at this point. Do you have any suggestions?

tim white said...

Bill... I agree with the general idea. But I'm guessing $108k won't go very far with windows... though I suspect a 30 yr old refrigerator would have a pretty good and noticeable payback.

Robert DeVylder Jr. said...

Tim, Bill's idea of working on one building and using it as a model is a good idea. 1 solid/large project makes more sense than having multiple little project spread all over town where we would have a hard time monitoring the savings.

tim white said...

multiple little project spread all over town where we would have a hard time monitoring the savings.We're probably going to add "vendor misers" to the 12-16 refrigerated vending machines in the schools. The facilities' manager already calculated estimated savings.

The same could be done with any plug-in equipment pretty easily, assuming you use similar power supplies... and not switch from an electric stove to an NG stove and need to convert to BTUs... and I'm not even sure how easy it would be to measure NG consumption on individual units.

tim white said...

1 solid/large project makes more sense... If we get into envelope issues, it's going to cost a lot.

Typically that money would be bonded. I don't see such bonding issues passing referendum at this time... partly because the Council routinely fails to determine likely savings.

I have ideas to improve the town's energy-efficiency, but many of my ideas have been getting little more than lip service for years... from both R & D majorities.

tim white said...

FWIW, I dunno if the Council will even vote on anything. This stimulus package is set up very strangely... but with the intention to spend expeditiously. I'm guessing the EC will consider that. Then the Council may or may not vote on it.

Since I'm not a voting member of the EC, I don't know if I'll ever even vote on the $108k.

Anonymous said...

The point is start small, prove the methodology, prove the financials. Of course this will not make sense to government and the local favorite contractors and real estate agents.

It is a simple analysis of what is possible for energy conservation, we just have to eliminate the local favorites in order to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

"we just have to eliminate the local favorites in order to make it happen."

They run this town and they're not going to just roll over.