Casco creates energy committee

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

CASCO – What could a rural town do to improve the energy efficiency of its public buildings? What changes could compute into cost savings for local taxpayers?

How can residents afford energy audits of their homes? How can community members take advantage of rebates offered by the federal government?

These may be some of the questions explored during the first meeting of Casco’s Energy Committee, which will gather at the Casco Community Center on Monday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, the Casco Board of Selectmen created the Energy Committee and appointed four members, Chairman Barbara York and Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes, Lynne Potter and Grant Plummer.

Also, selectmen approved the group that would be studying energy efficiency to be a standing committee, which means the committee will continue to exist for two to five years.

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What: Energy Committee meeting

When: Monday, April 4, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Casco Community Center

Who to contact: Mary-Vienessa Fernandes, 776-2319 or Barbara York, 627-4655.

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The longer timeframe will allow the committee to complete some of its long-range tasks, according to Town Manager Dave Morton – who suggested the standing committee status.

Recently, York and Fernandes simultaneously became interested in bringing the topic of energy efficiency to Casco.

Several months ago, both women attended different workshops on energy, and became excited about exploring energy-saving concepts in their town.

“We talked about it,” York said. “We have buildings that we don’t know how to make more energy efficient.  You don’t know what the expenses or how much savings would be until you start learning about it.”

Earlier this month, the two board members hosted an energy-efficiency discussion with members of the Institute for Civic Leadership.

York credited Fernandes for “a lot of hard work” in coordinating the public forum that was held in March, and making into reality something that started out as an idea.

The April 4 meeting will be open to the public, York said.

The community center where the newly formed Energy Committee will convene its first meeting was renovated to withstand New England winters without taxing the town’s budget.

“The radiant heating is efficient,” Town Manager Morton said.

“Six-inch walls that are insulated, thermal pane windows, additional insulation in the ceiling, the lighting is more efficient – all of that compared to what we had — it’s better,” he said.

“There is no ‘gee whiz’ stuff,” Morton said, “But, there may be other things we can do to improve the energy efficiency” in the community center.

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