BUCKSPORT, Maine — The town and RSU 25 have hired a Dexter firm to conduct an energy audit on the public buildings owned and operated by Bucksport and the school district.
McCormick Facilities Management already has collected information on the buildings and will conduct inspections of the facilities in the coming months. The audit will review energy consumption, lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, water and sewer usage, the building envelope, and how those buildings are used.
Preparations for the audit began last year, before the new regional school district had been formed. Superintendent Jim Boothby and Town Manager Roger Raymond then continued to work on the plan after the district joined the school districts from Bucksport, Orland and the SAD 18 towns of Prospect and Verona Island.
Although they worked on the scope of services together, the town and the RSU signed separate contracts for the audits and will receive separate reports.
The town buildings included in the audit will be the Public Safety Building, town garage, the transfer station, the wastewater treatment facility and the waterfront walkway. The RSU buildings to be reviewed are Bucksport High School and Middle School, the Miles Lane School, Jewett School and the Orland Consolidated School, as well as the former Luman Warren School, which serves as the administrative headquarters for the RSU.
“This all boils down to the fact that we need to be more efficient in terms of our plant maintenance and operation costs,” Boothby said Friday. “This will give us an overall look at the buildings in the RSU that will give the details we need as we develop our long-term maintenance and capital improvement plans.”
The school buildings vary in terms of their age and the kind of construction, he said, but they all are large areas that need to be heated and lighted. Boothby said the audit will look not only at how they use energy, but at equipment as well, including the types of motors and lights the schools use.
Raymond noted that the town already has seen some benefits of an energy audit. The town had one done on the municipal building several years ago that identified several ways in which the town could save on energy usage and costs. A review of the rest of the town buildings, he said, will identify ways in which they can be run more efficiently.
“We know that the cost of energy is certainly going to go up,” he said. “It’s down now from a year ago, but at some point it’s going to go back up. We’re trying to be as efficient as we can in terms of our use of fuel and electricity.”
The town plans to expand the scope of its contract to have McCormick look at other alternative energy sources, Raymond said.
The town already has made initial investigations into using wind and natural gas, which is available through the pipeline that runs from Orrington to the Verso Paper mill. Raymond said they also want to review newer, more efficient wood boilers that can be used to heat large areas and, potentially, to generate electricity.
The reports from the audit will include simple and complex energy conservation measures including new products and operating strategies.
Boothby and Raymond said they expect those reports to be completed by fall.