HOULTON, Maine — After initial hesitation, the town has opted to risk some greenbacks to learn how town facilities can be made greener.
Town councilors earlier this week authorized Town Manager Doug Hazlett to sign a letter of intent with Honeywell International to allow it to conduct an energy audit as part of the town’s energy retrofit project.
The initiative aims to save taxpayer dollars by making town buildings more energy efficient.
Over the past few years, town officials have been taking steps to button up buildings by replacing doors and windows and putting in new boilers and furnaces to replace older, less energy-efficient models.
Now that the town has signed a deal with Honeywell, company employees will look at all of the town’s buildings and suggest projects the town could do to save money on energy bills.
If the municipality makes plans to follow any of their recommendations, the energy audit is free. If they don’t, they must pay the company for their work, which would cost $6,000.
Hazlett said the town did not have to take all of their suggestions and could pick and choose what projects to complete.
The council initially was presented with the letter of intent earlier this month, but opted to table a decision on the matter until they could get more information about the proposed agreement.
Although the council approved the plan, Councilor Paul Romanelli remained hesitant to conduct the study and risk paying $6,000 if the town did not follow any of the company’s recommendations. He noted that the town was facing tough times financially.
“This is a critical year and we need to have our ducks in a row,” he said.
Councilors Sue Tortello agreed that signing the letter was a “risk,” but she called it a “finite risk.”
“If we can identify potential savings over a period of time, it’s a good risk,” she said.
Councilor Walter Goodrich agreed, saying the town should act to become more energy efficient.
In the end, the council opted to sign the letter to authorize the energy audit.