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Mission of the York Energy Efficiency Committee

Our mission is to respond to the global warming crisis by promoting energy efficiency, alternative energy, and environmental initiatives throughout the town of York, Maine.

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[Source: The US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)]

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Portland structure touted as model for energy efficient building

Paul Ledman, a Maine builder, recently unveiled his three-unit structure in Portland’s Munjoy Hill neighborhood as a “model for sustainable building, using solar power, air source heating and heavy insulation to nearly eliminate monthly utility bills while maintaining high quality living spaces.”

The three-unit building uses no fossil fuels, creates enough energy that it exceeds in-house needs and contributes to the grid most months, and yet is hardly Spartan in its amenities — even with a private elevator hopping from floor to floor — Ledman still has electrical capacity to install an outdoor hot tub, which is in his plans.

Outside his bedroom window is a rack of 90 solar pipes, collecting sunlight to warm three hot water tanks. Another array of 30 photovoltaic solar panels provides electricity to the units, and eschewing oil or natural gas, Ledman had air source heat pumps installed to regulate temperatures in the apartments — one of which he set aside for his own family of four.

“People think that in order to be efficient, you have to give something up,” Ledman, who worked with Georgetown-based Island Carpentry to develop the project, said. “Quite the contrary. We’ll take showers and do the dishes and run the laundry — everybody [in the building’s other units] will, too, if they want to — and we won’t pay a penny for it.”

Among other energy-conscious design elements, the building has R-43 walls.

In a state with aging housing stock, Ledman said a home built in 1950 might have walls with an R value of 13, for comparison.

“Even on the coldest days, we barely need any heat to heat it,” Ledman said. “The real key if you’re building new is insulation. If you don’t waste [heat], you don’t need to buy more. Anybody who doesn’t build with energy efficiency in mind today is setting themselves up for failure. [Fossil fuel] prices are going to continue rising. [Energy efficiency] is good for your pocketbook, and it’s good for the environment.”

The super energy efficient building was actually similar in cost to build as a traditionally heated and powered structure, according to Ledman.

Read the rest of the article on the Bangor Daily News site.



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