Oct 14, 2015

Energy Conservation Committee Minutes Oct 14, 2015


Attendees: Mary Boulanger, Peter Cooper, Ron Bolt, Bill Gendreau and Dann; plus David Van Houten, Ammonoosuc Regional Energy Team, and North County Council representative Michele Moren-Grey

Administrative Matters:

  • The minutes of the 2 September 2015 meeting were approved as amended.
  • The highlights of the September meeting were also memorialized in the 23 September issue of the Courier.
  • The Courier also recently covered the upcoming Solarize Ammonoosuc project, and lauded the efforts of the ECC in an Op-Ed.
  • Bill Gendreau has been officially appointed to the committee.
  • Andrew Dorsett has been appointed as a non-voting member.
  • Ron will inquire about a selectman to replace Marghie Seymour.
  • A letter asking for support in raising the state’s cap on net-metering was sent from the ECC to our four local legislative representatives.
  • Henri Wante is featured on a LATV program currently showing about the new wood chip heating system at LRH. 
  • Flu shots were available to committee members today.

Energy Management Plan

Our top 15 priorities for 2015 and 2016 were presented to Town Manager Andrew Dorsett on 8 September. Also discussed was the initial proposal from NH Solar Garden regarding installing a solar PV system at the retired landfill. Under this proposal, the town would have a contract to lease the land for $20K a year plus a $7K annual PILOT, and a separate power purchase agreement would be worked out with LW&L. Andrew suggested taking some of the Town revenue and creating a special energy efficiency fund. Also discussed was the shortage of funds to install LED lights at the new highway garage, and the status of various heating system designs from Yeaton Associates.

Our top 15 priorities were presented to the Board of Selectmen on 14 September with the goal of presenting the information in time for end of year spending in 2015 or budgeting for 2016. The presentation went well and included a discussion about the solar PV initiative as a way to obtain revenue that, in part, could be spent on energy efficiency. We also presented the selectmen with a list of observations and recommendations to be passed along to the Parks & Recreation Commission. Selectmen Bratz had a number of follow-up questions that were answered by Peter, Dann, and Ron. Ron submitted an article on the EMP for the September issue of the Local Energy Solutions E-News.

Lighting at the New HD Garage

Due to a funding shortfall, LED lighting was dropped from the plans for the new highway garage. The committee worked diligently with the Town Manager, Finance Director, and Public Works chief to restore this lighting because of the relatively short pay back. There was about $1K remaining from the 2015 lighting warrant article, with the remainder of the necessary funds coming from the current year budget.

Remedial Work at the Fire Station

When it became evident that something had fallen through the cracks, a meeting was held between the Town and Yeaton Associates. In January, the committee approached Yeaton to explain that three separate heating engineering plans were wanted: one for the new garage, which included the wood pellet system and a supplementary heating source; one for the existing heat distribution problems within the fire station; and, one for a new back-up system at the fire station. Regarding the latter two, only one engineering plan was offered, which did not address all of the concerns with the existing system at the fire station. Yeaton was asked to revise this plan by the end of the month to deal with all of the issues. The Fire Chief needs lead time to prepare a 2016 warrant article for the back-up system and fixes to the current system. As for this coming heating season, the heating system will have to once again be manually operated.

Lighting Task Force

Lightec’s sub-contractor commenced installation at the fire station on 6 September and will work their way through the Waste Water Treatment Plant, Transfer Station, Senior Center, and foot bridge over about a three week period. The work is going well but a few questions about warranties and replacement have come up that we will ask Lightec about.

We are awaiting information from Lightec on Phase II of a retrofit of lighting at municipal buildings. Phase II will complete the project and focus on the Opera House with a smattering of other buildings and facilities.

Littleton Water & Light

Committee members attended the 21 September meeting of the LW&L Commissioners at which Tom Considine presented the pro’s and con’s of the NH Solar Garden power purchase agreement proposal. Most of the “con’s” related to the extra cost of solar. The Commissioners thought we should get more bids, and they were subsequently provided with the names of three other vendors. The Commissioners were also interested in the prospects for a surcharge on willing customers. A letter drafted by Peter, Dann, and Ron, addressing this idea was subsequently provided to Tom. On 29 September we received notification from NH Solar Garden essentially saying they were withdrawing the proposal because they could not compete with the low rates in Littleton. They also encouraged contact with customers to see if they would be willing to pay a little more. David provided useful input on Renewable Energy Credits.

It appears that Tom might be putting together a proposal for the commissioners on a plan to purchase a number of LED street lights. This would be separate from any attempt to apply for state rebates.

Possible 2016 Warrant Articles

  • Phase II of the lighting retrofit at municipal buildings
    • Awaiting input from Lightec
  • Tax Exemptions
    • Arwen could not attend today but mailed in her draft. We should all take a look at this before the November meeting.
  • Energy Audits 
    • Bill G. has been researching vendors and will arrange walkthroughs. This should include the fire station, Opera House, and the Senior Center. Michele offered some suggestions on possible grant opportunities.
  • Special EE Fund
    • Even without the hoped for revenue from the landfill, this might be worthwhile pursuing. Certainly a capital reserve fund of some sort can be established, the question would be populated from what funding source. Our role would to be advisory only.

Other Business

  • The first load of pellets for this season was delivered by Sandri in early October at a rate of $236/ton.
  • Peter attended the 23 September information meeting on New England Grassroots Environmental Fund featuring Executive Director Julia Dundorf.
  • Dann plans on attending the Biomass Boiler Operators Workshop on 23 October.
  • An offer of support was sent to the Littleton Industrial Development Corporation regarding Phase IV. Mary volunteered to reinforce this offer.
  • Ron will attend a meeting on Friday with the Town Manager and Ray Cloutier regarding an upcoming event at the Tannery.
  • The “Outreach” program has been abandoned.
  • The Local Energy Solutions group has asked for a photo to affix to their webpage on projects that includes the LPD’s gas-saving/anti-idling program.

Next meeting: Wednesday, 11 November 2015, 9 AM, at the Community Center

Ron Bolt, Secretary