Lincoln launches weatherization program to tighten up public buildings

Posted Sept. 16, 2012, at 5:11 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Built in 1924 and expanded 40 years later, the Lincoln Memorial Library has almost no insulation, the primary reason the library wastes an estimated 936 gallons of heating oil annually at present oil prices, the town’s new energy efficiency officer says.

That’s why the library will be one of several buildings upgraded under the supervision of Code Enforcement Officer Dan Whittier, Town Manager Bill Reed said.

An experienced energy assessor and weatherization tech, Whittier has reviewed all town buildings with an eye toward improving their energy efficiencies. Whittier is reviewing bids on the weatherization of the library, will be changing out lighting at the public safety building, and might do some work on the Ballard Hill Community Center, Reed said.

“Even though there is an upfront cost, there is a long-term value there,” Reed said Friday of Whittier’s work. “It is great because we do have the staff with a great deal of knowledge. It is just surprising that they [town leaders] haven’t undertaken this project before.”

The Town Council voted last week to approve the library weatherization, which is expected to cost about $18,500, Whittier said. He will review bids this week and hopes to have the work finished by December.

“It is a difficult, complex structure because of its age,” Whittier said.

Blown-in cellulose and spray foam will be the primary insulation used. Residents will find a library that feels much warmer and less drafty when the work is done, he said.

If heating oil prices stay at around $3.75 per gallon, the work should save about 800 gallons of heating oil annually. At that rate, the job will pay back its costs in about five years, Whittier said – less time than that if the price of oil rises.

Besides improving energy efficiency at the library, the weatherization work shows that town leaders expect as much of the town as they do of private contractors, Whittier said. Under new state building codes the town began enforcing July 1, all new construction must be insulated.

Whittier and Lincoln firefighters began offering free building inspections to homeowners in December to help them prepare for the new codes.

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