Peaks Environmental Action Team
PEAT is a Peaks Island, Maine nonprofit. We meet monthly at the Community Center. Meetings are announced on Nextdoor Peaks Island, Carol’s list, and in the Star. Join us in working for a lighter footprint on the island environment.
The first Weatherization week was so successful that we are offering a second one!
Applications due February 10, 2017
Scroll down for more information.
from Peaks Island
January 18, 2017
Bringing Humidity Inside for Winter
Humidity is good for your wood floors, furniture, your house and good for your heating bill. Humidity in the air is important for the health, skin and hair for you, your family and your pets. For most homes, a humidity level between 40% – 60% is recommended for good health and comfort. It seems odd that living on an island, our houses could become dry. So many of us are sealing cracks and windows up to keep the cold out, we have to remember we are keeping the moisture out, too. The heat pumps are a real savings but it is hot, dry air coming inside with no moisture. We had a dry 2016 and it looks to be carrying over into 2017, too. It’s important to have a good balance of moisture in our air. Here’s some tips to help you achieve that.
If you have a humidifier, it’s important to keep the water fresh, change the drum or filter and keep the inside of the unit clean. If you prefer to add humidity without a unit, there are many other things you can do as well.
Try any of the following –
~ Let your hand washed dishes dry on the rack on your counter overnight
~ Stop your automatic dishwasher at the “dry” cycle, open the door and slide the racks out to dry on their own. You may want to take a clean towel to dab the bottoms of the glasses, mugs & bowls to soak up the leftover water that collects there from the rinse cycle. Then hang the towel to dry out adding more moisture to the air.
~ Let your boots and shoes dry inside on a boot tray near or around a heat source.
~ Use indoor clothes bars/racks to dry your clothes and towels – you will want to give your wet clothes a good shake before hanging so they don’t dry all wrinkly & stiff. Some items you might give 10-15 minutes in the dryer to fluff up and take the wrinkles out before hanging. Remember there won’t be any air circulation like on an outdoor clothesline.
~ Use a Wood stove? Be sure to use pans and bowls of water on top or around so the heat picks up the moisture while it travels through the air.
~ Shower with your door open. Sending all of that steam out into the house while you shower is a great way to share in the house. This will also keep your bathroom from holding too much moisture, keeping bacteria & mold from settling in the fixtures and shower curtains.
~ For the Bathtub, you can let some of the water remain in the tub. It is surprising how quickly the water will evaporate on it’s own. Ooops.. but you probably will have to scrub the bottom of the tub out!
~Try air drying your hair instead of using a hair dryer. The heat and force of the hair dryer will dry the air as well as damage the natural oils & moisture in your hair and skin.
~ Drink water and keep hydrated, this is very important for your body and your health. Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water as well.
~ Cook on the stove more often. Use your crock pot. Try those recipes you always wanted to cook. Make those yummy homemade soups that simmer all day long.
~ Speaking of simmering, when you’re not cooking, it’s nice to have a simmer pot with spices and fruit peels simmering on the stove or the wood stove – just be careful not to let the pot run dry.
~ If you have plants, water them a bit more often and spray with a mist of fresh water. Boston Ferns are said to be hearty and put the most moisture back into the air. The Boston Fern is on top of the list of plants that keep the air clean, too.
Beach Clean Up January 2, 2017
PEAT members cleaned up the beach by the Ferry Terminal.
Photos by Randy Shaeffer
DEADLINE Reminder – Wednesday DEC. 7th !
from Randy Schaeffer
Hi folks –
Just a reminder that if you would like to participate in 2017 Peaks Weatherization Week, your application needs to be mailed to the Island Institute by Wednesday, December 7th.
Note to Tenants and Landlords – working together, you too can benefit from Weatherization Week – Landlords can make their properties more affordable and therefore more attractive to potential …
Peaks Weatherization Week
What is a Weatherization Week?
Weatherization Weeks enable eight Peaks homes to receive a professional home energy assessment and basic insulation and air sealing work at a reduced cost over the course of a week.
When is Weatherization Week?
The next Peaks Weatherization Week will be January 16 through January 20, 2017.
How much will it cost?
Homeowners are required to pay $200 for the home energy assessment and six man-hours of insulation and air sealing. While this work would normally cost a homeowner between $700 and $1,000, plus the cost of bringing a certified energy advisor to the island, Efficiency Maine incentives cover $400 towards the cost of the work. The Island Institute has further lowered the cost by coordinating multiple jobs in one week and raising additional funds to cover the cost of the contractor’s transport and accommodations.
How does it work?
Each Weatherization Week participant receives an energy assessment from a Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified energy analyst, using a blower door and an infrared camera to measure and identify air leaks in the home. Once the assessment is completed, the contractor will deliver at least six man-hours of air sealing and basic insulation work. This may include caulking seams, sealing pipe and/or chimney chases, sealing attic hatches and bulkhead doors, and installing door sweeps. Each participant will also receive a brief (1 page) summary report outlining the work completed, estimated savings, and recommendations for additional energy saving measures. The average Weatherization Week appointment lasts between three and four hours.
Air sealing does not include insulation of attics, basements, or walls; heating system replacements, added ventilation for homes that are too tight; or interior storm windows. However, there are incentives available for additional insulation and heating system replacements, and Weatherization Week participants are eligible for these additional incentives. For more information on the air sealing process, visit Efficiency Maine’s website at http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/home-energy-savings-program/air-sealing/.
How much will I save?
Similar programs on the mainland have saved homes as much as $650 to $700 per year. With higher fuel costs on your island, your savings could be even higher. Each home is different, but the average island home participating in a Weatherization Week saves $200-$300 per year.
Am I eligible to participate?
The $400 rebate from Efficiency Maine is available for single-family dwellings and two- to four-unit buildings. Participating homes must be the principal, year-round residence of the occupant, not a seasonal, second, or vacation home. Seasonal residents may be able to participate without the incentives from Efficiency Maine or the Island Institute, but priority will be given to year-round residents.
Who will do the work?
Efficiency Maine requires that the work be completed by Home Energy Answers, a certified energy contractor based in Albion, Maine who has helped weatherize hundreds of island homes.
Who is sponsoring Peaks Weatherization Week?
The 2017 Peaks Weatherization Week is sponsored by the Island Institute with support from the Efficiency Maine Home Energy Savings Program and coordinated by the Peaks Environmental Action Team (PEAT).
What if I decide I want to do additional weatherization work on my home?
Air sealing is a great start, but there are many good options for additional work that can yield even more savings. These follow up measures include:
- Insulation – Efficiency Maine has additional incentives of $500 for spray foam and/or cellulose insulation for attics, basements/crawl spaces, and walls.
- High-efficiency heating systems – Efficiency Maine has additional incentives of $250-$500 for efficient heating systems such as heat pumps and pellet stoves.
- Bonus incentive – Anyone who completes air sealing AND at least one follow-up insulation or heating system measure qualifies for a $100 bonus incentive.
- Low income incentives – Those participating in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are eligible for additional incentives and reduced copays for energy upgrades including air sealing, insulation, and heating systems.
- For more information about these incentives, visit http://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-home/
- For more info about additional energy saving measures, check out the Island Institute’s “Save Like an Islander” fact sheet series at http://www.islandinstitute.org/program/energy/energy-efficiency
Financing for energy efficiency upgrades
There are also multiple financing options to cover the cost of additional work. Efficiency Maine offers financing for energy upgrades including insulation and heating system replacements. For more information on these programs, visit www.efficiencymaine.com. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program offers grants up to $7,500 for low-income homeowners over age 62 as well as 20-year loans of up to $20,000 with an interest rate of 1%. For more information on these programs, visit www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/me.
Weatherization Week Results
Between July 2012 and June 2015, the Island Institute and its community partners helped weatherize more than 350 island homes. Participants in island Weatherization Weeks are now saving as much as $300 per year on their heating bills and are enjoying warmer, more comfortable homes.
If you need more information or would like assistance in completing your application, please contact your
Peaks Winterization Week coordinators:
|Mary Anne Mitchell
Tuesday September 13th, 2016 6-8 PM
ReVision Energy hosted an informational session at the Peaks Island Community Center that discussed the new community solar farm on the island. The solar farm will be able to power enough energy to supply electricity for 9 members of the Peaks Island community.
Summary of Meeting
17 Islanders attended. Jennifer Hatch of Revision Energy was the presenter. She gave a basic summary of solar installations and explained how a community solar farm gets put together and functions. Sam Saltonstall believes 5 people signed up for a visit from Revision and one of them appeared ready to make the required thousand dollar deposit to hold a place in the farm. Mr Saltonstall agreeded to find out if there would be a way to contact people on great and little diamond to see if there was interest in the CSF there as well as on peaks. Todd has agreed to take over from Mr. Saltonstall as the island PCAT member working on this project.
- A building envelope air sealing project is being completed by Thompson Johnson Woodworks at Peaks Island Elementary School. Funded by a $10,000 grant to PEAT from the Peaks Island Fund last fall, this project augments work already undertaken by the City of Portland Public Buildings Dept. to reduce fuel waste at the school and make the building more comfortable. Thompson Johnson Woodworks is also generously footing a portion of the cost. For pictures of the project click on the “blog” tab (above).
- $500,000 for boiler replacement, a new energy management system and repairs to the gym wall of Peaks Island Elementary School have been approved by the City’s Council. The work will be undertaken this summer. The old boiler be cut up and removed and asbestos abatement work completed before the new heating plant is installed. Additional insulation is also still needed in the basement and eastern crawlspace of the school, and appears to be in the works for this summer as well.
- Weatherization Week buttoned up nine more island homes in March. Nine Islanders’ homes received $600 worth of air sealing for only $200 out of pocket during the week of March 14th. Subsidized by the Island Institute in collaboration with PEAT, this Efficiency Maine program included “before and after” blower door testing and verbal consultation on next steps. Participants seemed universally pleased with Keith McPherson’s Home Energy Answers, the firm that came out. If sufficient interest is made known to PEAT, another Weatherization Week may be possible in the fall. If you are interested, email Sam (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Our PEATZA fundraiser at Flatbreat on March 1st was a huge success. Our heartfelt thanks to all who came, donated raffle items, or purchased raffle tickets!
DONATE! PEAT is a 501-(c)-3 charitable organization. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution, either click on the donate button, or send us a check made out to the Peaks Environmental Action Team. We will send you a receipt. Our address: PEAT, ℅ Demos, 25 Crescent Ave., Peaks Island, ME 04108.
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