Story posted August 04, 2010
The college-owned house at 84/86 Federal Street received an efficiency boost this summer as Bowdoin continued its effort to weatherize campus buildings. Housing members of the faculty, interns, and fellows, the building had air leakage issues caused by thinning fiberglass insulation and seal decay. Following an energy audit by Energy Solutions for Maine, Inc., the College participated in Efficiency Maine's Home Energy Saving Program by decreasing the building's energy use by 50% or more. Because 84/86 Federal Street contains 4 residential apartments the weatherization effort qualifies the College to receive up to $12,000.
Workers began the project in mid-June by reinforcing structural members in the attic to support the increased roof snow load. Then numerous air leaks were fixed using a process which entailed the application of a spray foam in the attic to close gaps in the wood paneling and to guarantee all seals were air tight. The next step in the project was to remove three-inch fiberglass and replace it with a high-density cellulose insulation that raised the house's R-value to 50. Finally, workers insulated the basement and sealed holes in the foundation and walls that allowed moisture to seep in. A vapor barrier was constructed in the crawl space to ensure that no water would be able to collect.
But the weatherization project was not the only step the College has taken to increase the house's energy efficiency. Earlier in June, an old boiler was replaced by a high-efficiency "Munchkin" boiler that runs on natural gas and is estimated to save $5,430 in energy costs annually.
Other campus properties - 31 Longfellow Street and 38 College Street - also received the new efficient "Munchkin" boilers. In addition, College houses Helmreich, Quinby, and Howell as well as the Boody-Johnson House were recipients of boiler upgrade projects this summer - their furnaces were converted from burning #2 oil to natural gas. These six boiler improvement projects, combined with the one at 84/86 Federal Street, will result in an estimated reduction of 240,596 pounds of CO2 annually.
Energy conservation projects like these are keeping Bowdoin on track to achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020.
The College participated in Efficiency Maine's Home Energy Saving Program by decreasing the building's energy use by 50% or more.