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Gill Green Community spending plans advance

GILL — Visitors to the Town Hall or library next winter could find themselves basking in the warm glow of energy efficiency.

An energy audit completed as part of the Green Communities grant recommended new heating systems for the Town Hall, Slate Memorial Library and Riverside Municipal Building.

Town Administrator Ray Purington said the auditor, Bart Bales of Bales Energy Associates, also recommended some insulation work in the Town Hall and library.

If the state Department of Energy Resources approves the project, it could be completed by the next heating season with the remaining money available to the town through the Green Communities program, according to Purington.

Gill earned the state agency’s Green Community designation in the summer of 2012. A $139,900 grant soon followed, with the list of energy-related projects covered by the grant including energy audits and possible improvements for the three buildings.

The project would come fairly close to using the remainder of the grant, which is largely intact with about $3,500 spent so far on the Gill Energy Commission’s projects.

Purington said the Riverside building’s boiler is in need of replacement. The other two are something of a bonus.

“Certainly the boiler at the Riverside building is very old, in need of replacement, very inefficient, and the opportunity to replace it with something new and efficient using somebody else’s money is a good thing,” Purington said. “The furnace at the library and boiler at Town Hall are newer, but not as efficient as they could be and we’ve got the opportunity to use grant money.”

The Riverside building, on Route 2, is home to the Four Winds private middle school, the Gill historical collection and the Riverside Water District.

Decreased municipal energy use is a condition of Green Community status. The Energy Commission is also working toward decreased energy use at the individual level with educational efforts like last weekend’s window insulation workshop as part of a campaign to reduce energy use by 13 percent this year townwide.

Purington said the recommendation is for propane-fired replacements for the furnace and two boilers, a change from heating oil. Natural gas is not available, he said.

Purington said the other major town buildings — the combined highway, fire and police station and the elementary school — were excluded from the study because both have had recent attention. The school building underwent a major energy efficiency project in 2011-2012 and the town replaced the Public Safety Complex boiler last year.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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