2023-07-26 Building & Energy Committee Minutes

Warwick Buildings and Energy Committee Meeting Minutes

July 26, 2023

Call To Order: 5:06 p.m. Present: Jack Cadwell, Dan Dibble, Brian Gale, Janice Kurkoski, Chair, Mary Humphries, Steve Kurkoski.

Others attending: Zac Marti, Emile Marti, Claudia Lewis, Fire Chief Joe Larson (zoom and later in person) Mike Mankowski, and Keith Ross.

Public Comment: None

Discussion, Updates & Action Items:

Draft meeting minutes for May 31 approved.

New Fire Station Buildout:

Brian Gale summarized his plans for the completion of the New Fire Station Buildout. He stressed that his goal is to finish the project under code and in a timely fashion. Dan shared his main concern that the finished building use the least amount of energy as possible. He stressed energy efficiency. Brian expressed his belief that the initial savings on the building (i.e. volunteer construction) was enough and that energy improvements over code was a waste of money. He confirmed that it will be as efficient as the minimum code allows.

There was a good deal of discussion regarding current code vs. the code at the time the permit was pulled. Brian said the Stretch Code has “gone away.” He reiterated that the Fire Station will be efficient. Steve expressed his concern about the R values of the walls and ceiling. Insulation was discussed. Brian stated that he started the building in 2002 and wants to finish it according to the Fireman’s Association’s beginnings.

Keith Ross asked about the possibility of grants, to which Janice replied that it will be difficult if not impossible to write and receive a response to a grant within the timeline being discussed this evening. Dan asked about using more insulation in the building if we (WBEC) could raise money to pay for the additional insulation. Claudia (via zoom) asked about ARPA funds. The subject of a blower door test came up, and Brian stated that he’s not interested in that test; although later in the meeting he said he wouldn’t oppose it – assuming the cost was taken care of. Keith (representing the Select Board) made it clear that they would consider any proposals.

The issue of solar panels on the roof was raised, and Mike Mankowsky expressed a strong concern about that technology being a fire hazard to buildings. Brian again expressed his opinion that the cost/benefit is not there regarding further “green” measures that could be taken.

Dan suggested that we could reach a compromise if we worked together to upgrade minimum standards. Zac had the suggestion that we use existing funds instead of trying to raise more money through grants, but Brian is reluctant to go that direction. Mike M and Brian want to complete the building using only the $28k left over from Firemen’s donations. Dan also brought up the possibility of using some of the $40K.

Joe Larson was having difficulty hearing Brian via zoom and said he would talk to him later. Joe asked the WBEC to write down its concerns and what we want. He wants to stick to Brian’s timeline (Christmas 2023.) He also said that if estimates require that we dip into the $40K approved at TM, then so be it.

Dan D suggested installing an extra stud wall. Estimate? Plumber? Brian has no plumber, yet, and no specific dates. Brian Peters will do the electrical work. JK suggested SK talk to Brian P. about looking ahead to PV on the roof and mini-splits, so that the elec panel is right sized. Brian was asked who he’s using for the mini-splits. Janice said she’ll work on that. Insulation plan? Dense packing?

Vents were discussed. JK said she feels strongly that the building be properly vented. Brian’s opinion is that code and new energy-efficient building regulations are so severe, that we’re constructing “sick buildings.”

The question was posed: Where do we go from here? Brian is leaving mid-August and will be gone for two months. He is hoping to have this project completed by the end of the year.

Dan D. volunteered to take some energy-saving steps; e.g., boxing off the end of the bays which could be done anytime. Janice also expressed interest in doing some of that work.

Jack C. left the meeting at 6:45 pm. Doc Pruyne joined the meeting near the end.

On several occasions Brian stated that there are differing opinions on this project, and that that’s ok. He restated his intention to complete the Fire Station per code by the end of the year. BEC members agreed to look into material choices and costs for better insulation, air sealing, and mini-splits, and to pitch in.

Other News:

JK said PV array is going on the Town Garage.

New hire at WCS– Tony Streeter will be the facilities manager/custodian.

Mark Fellows is learning the monitoring of the EMS for the WCS.

Meeting was adjourned at 6:55

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Humphries