Monday, March 3, 2008

Efficient Light Cast on Town Politics

Residents attending Monday night's town meeting and voting in Tuesday's election experienced the warm and efficient glow of new energy-efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs installed in recent months.

Warren King, one of the leaders of the town's Alternative Energy committee which undertook the project, said that between the community house and the town offices, the electric load for lighting had decreased from 5200 watts to just 2500 watts with the new bulbs, a decrease of 52 percent.

"It took a while to get them up," he said. "I had to use a long pole, and twist out the old bulbs and then put up the new ones. But the light is lovely." The first few electric bills were lovely too, he said--estimated payback time for the investment was well under 5 years.

In fact, the savings may come even faster. A similar efficiency project was just completed at the elementary school, where 598 bulbs were replaced with high efficiency ballasts and tubes. The $12,650 cost looks as if it will yield annual savings on electric bills of more than $3,000 said school board member Mike Hussey.

More than $10,000 remains in the school energy efficiency fund voted at town meeting last year, and Hussey said a variety of projects were being considered, including improvements to hot water heaters and air handlers. Win Colwell, speaking from the floor, urged the board to consider solar hot water heating, arguing that solar panels on the roof of the school would spark interest in the technology among passersby.

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