MyRye.com asked Judy Martin of Rye's Green Home Consulting, her thoughts on green options on replacing the failing Osborn School furnace. Here is what she had to say:
Musings from an Energy Efficiency Nerd
By Guest Columnist: Judy Martin, Green Home Consulting
As I read Frank Alvarez' recent announcement about the urgent need to immediately replace the ancient furnace at the Osborn school, a number of questions come to mind. I have no knowledge of alternatives considered to date but, given the 1956 era equipment, I'm guessing that it could be using dirty #6 fuel oil. Here's an opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint by converting to cleaner #2 oil or, even better, natural gas, both of which would burn much more cleanly. Con Ed even provides incentives for a change to gas. Wainwright House just successfully made this change with Con Ed's help.
I always urge clients to emphasize conservation when making this kind of major investment. "The cheapest energy is energy never used." While it is a pipe dream to think that Osborn could change to geothermal, is Combined Heat and Power an option? The NY Green Bank incentivizes that approach. Plus there are other ways of meaningfully reducing energy use such as new controls and other system upgrades. The Clean Energy Fund incentivizes caulking and weather stripping as well as "comprehensive whole building measures". NYSERDA's Facilities Performance Based Incentives Program provides incentives to schools for furnaces, system upgrades and controls. Have all of these been looked into?
Although it is quite amazing that Osborn has managed to keep its furnace going for so long, let's not miss the opportunities that occur with equipment replacement to reduce its carbon footprint, its future energy use and operating costs by defining the replacement too narrowly, particularly since there are incentive programs to help schools pay for these capital outlays.
Green Home Consulting