Energy panel crunches the numbers

MILFORD — Public buildings here use more than $1.04 million in energy a year, according to a local committee that wants the town and the school district to get involved in energy conservation projects.

The Milford Local Energy Committee did an inventory of town buildings by collecting data from Jan. 1, 2008, through Feb. 28, 2009.

The largest consumer of energy, using 52 percent of the town share, is the wastewater treatment plant. The town hall is a distant second with 18 percent.

On Monday night, committee member Tom Hurley and a representative of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission presented their findings to selectmen and asked where they should go from here.

“We can make some recommendations, but the Board of Selectmen and the School Board” have to be willing to act on them, said Katie Chambers, committee member and the school district’s business manager.

Selectmen said they will address the recommendations in a work session with Town Administrator Guy Scaife on Sept. 24. Selectman Gary Daniels said the town should be sensitive to the economy and choose low-cost projects.

The school buildings spent $668,445 for a year’s worth of energy, the inventory found, while town buildings account for $372,316.

The goal is to reduce energy use by 15 percent below 2008 levels by 2015, which Hurley said would save $156,114 a year.

The committee recommends that the town target the most visible buildings and get the public, including students, involved.

The Local Energy Committee was formed with the help of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, and Jill Simonetti of the NRPC told the board Monday night that 90 local energy committees have been formed in New Hampshire.

Every town and school district facility, from the original section of Wadleigh Memorial Library, built in 1950, to the three-year-old police station, were included in the inventory.

The committee was formed after town voters passed a climate change resolution two years ago, one of 156 communities in New Hampshire that did so.

The resolution was sponsored by the Carbon Coalition, a group that advocates for policies that protect the environment from climate change.

Near the end of Monday’s discussion, a resident suggested that the town not emphasize the global warming aspect because it’s a “pretty volatile issue” and to focus instead on cost savings.