2023-02-07 Building & Energy Committee Minutes

Warwick Buildings and Energy Committee Meeting Minutes

February 7, 2023

Call To Order: 6:01 p.m. Present via zoom: Jack Cadwell, Dan Dibble, Janice Kurkoski, Chair, Mary Humphries, and Steve Kurkoski.

Public Comment: None

Minutes of the previous meeting (11/28/22) were unanimously accepted as written.

Allison Cage (FRCOG) wants to schedule a meeting with us in the next few weeks. She has a draft of the town-wide greenhouse gas inventory and wants to review the figures. Janice will send us her note.

Discussion, Updates & Action Items:

Update on GC Grant Items: These will likely be due in April. Air-to-hydronic heat pump for the Fire Station, slab, and office build-out. JK and SK met with Rich Finn and Mike from Energy Source, and Jim Hennessey from PTC at WCS and at the Fire Station. Heat pump for the Fire Station is a priority. Propane unit did ok during the cold spell per Mike M, but it would be good to have a second heat source available. JK will price another unit. JC says GC will want to know how much electric it will use. We can only apply for $200K at a time.

WCS: GC Grant will also include VRF heat pump for the gym. We will look into doing our own single-head mini-split units for the classrooms. Todd Weed offered to get a couple of students from the tech school to test the line pressure after installation. David will shop for these units. We can do some of the work on our own and plan to get the bigger-ticket items through GC. The following are projects to consider doing outside of the grant:

  • Integrate Stiebel Eltron on-demand DHW – WCS
  • ASHPs for two classrooms and staff offices; maybe café – WCS
  • Needed mechanics for conversion to bio-fuels or wood chip boiler
  • PV and storage for WCS and/or Fire Station
  • ASHPs for Warwick Library
  • Induction cook plate – WCS

JC left the meeting at 6:16 p.m. Discussion of winserts for the rest of the school: 38-42 winserts in all. This would be part of the GC grant application. Jack returned at 6:24 p.m.

What to do about the WCS boilers? On-demand heater from Fire Station may come to the school. Ted Cady offered to donate his solar hot water system. The school has high hot-water requirements by code. What else can we burn at the school? Wood chips? The boilers didn’t keep up over this past weekend during the extreme cold. We have a call into John Hennessey for help.

Thomas Ratte of Northeast Biofuel has biofuel for sale which includes professional delivery. Janice will call him back for more info. DY was also contacted by NE Biofuel and signed a “letter of interest.” Dan suggested getting info from some of their customers. Janice will get in touch with Tom tomorrow.

JC asked about the use of wood chips, and JK gave an explanation of this heat source. JC offered feedback as to how the forests are degraded in this process. He equated it to strip mining with loss of forest floor nutrients and native plants. Based on JC’s information, wood chips have been crossed off of our list of options.

WCS 35kW generator runs fine. It only backs up the circuits in the emergency panel. SK talked about the voltage adjustment of the generator in detail.

What else can we pursue without the grant? JC asked about the status of the Fire Station and said it would have been helpful for the emergency tree people to have had access to conveniences during the storm cleanup. JK said it could be an article for Town Meeting and let the people vote on it. Discussion about WBEC possibly supporting the completion in steps/phases. JK is meeting with Chris Mason at WCS 3:00 p.m. 2/11 for walkthrough. JK would like to see PV with battery backup for both the Fire Station and WCS. Regarding an induction cool plate for the school, JK encouraged DY to shop for a small or used one.

GC ideas going forward: The electric aggregation plan that was outlined in past newsletters represents huge savings according to George Day and DY. This has been especially noticeable since National Grid’s recent rate hike. The current contact ends Dec. 31st, 2023. There’s lots of buzz around Town on this subject! We could use quotes from George and remind people of the aggregate plan.

JK brought up the idea of talking to Olivia and/or Ben (Chase Hill) on the other proposed topic of dietary changes as a lifestyle change to help fight climate change. JC offered to forward the NYT article to Mary.

Meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m.

Next meeting: February 21st @ 6:00 p.m. with Allison Gage of FRCOG

Respectfully submitted, Mary Humphries