CARIBOU, Maine — Cary Medical Center held a valve-turning ceremony this month to herald the use of compressed natural gas as the facility’s primary fuel source.
The preparation to use CNG set the hospital back approximately $600,000, but the conversion is expected to save about $250,000 in annual energy costs.
Mechanical Services Inc. was the local primary contractor for the conversion project. Preparation also included the construction of a concrete pad and decompression building behind the hospital, along with underground piping to connect the gas cylinders to the hospital’s boiler room.
When natural gas from a pipeline starts flowing into UPM Madison’s heating furnaces late this year, it will be a fuel conversion several decades in the making and a move General Manager Russ Drechsel expects will boost the paper mill’s competitiveness.
Drechsel’s story is playing out in businesses and homes alike through Maine, which ranks 49th in the nation in terms of the number of homes heated by natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Only 4% of Maine homes are heated with natural gas compared to 51% U.S.-wide. Most Mainers, some 80%, heat their homes with oil, followed by propane at 5% and electricity at 4%. Various sources quote cost savings of anywhere from 35% to 50% in converting from oil to pipeline natural gas, which for a consumer paying $3,000 to heat his home for a season means up to $1,500 less for fuel. That has some companies and consumers signing up for natural gas as soon as it’s available.
“It’s like the wild, wild west,” says Chris Green, president of heating, ventilation and air conditioning company Mechanical Services Inc. of Portland, which expects to add a couple million dollars this year to its fuel-conversion business, comprising 10% of the company’s revenue. Gas conversions are boosting business quickly for HVAC companies like Green’s: he’s also looking to hire four to six more workers.
Augusta, Maine (July 16, 2013) — Mechanical Services, Inc., announces Augusta District Manager Travis Wheeler is a Maine licensed Professional Engineer after passing the P.E. exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES).
As a licensed engineer, Wheeler can prepare, sign, seal and submit engineering plans and drawings to a public authority for approval.
Wheeler is celebrating 13 years of employment at Mechanical Services, starting out in 2000 as a project engineer. He holds industry certifications from the National Air Duct Cleanings Association and is a Certified Ventilation System Inspector. A graduate of the University of Maine at Orono, Wheeler resides in Litchfield with his wife and three children.
Presque Isle, Maine (May 11, 2013) — When The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) searched for a solution to resuscitate the facility’s energy bill, they called Mechanical Services for a consult.
Mechanical Services President Chris Green introduced TAMC to compressed natural gas (CNG) because of several sound reasons: the ease of upgrading the existing boiler system; the reduction of TAMC’s carbon footprint; and the high rate of return on investment.
Startup costs for the CNG conversion pegging a return on investment in less than one year. A prescription for success.
“This not only makes sound economic sense and helps us advance our mission, but allows us to greatly reduce our carbon footprint and makes our organization a much better steward of the environment,” Sylvia Getman, TAMC President and CEO.
At the official Valve Turning Ceremony held May 13, Mechanical Services and participating partners joined TAMC officials to applaud the historic occasion.
Bath, Maine (April 11, 2013) — The historic Hyde Mansion sits atop a gentle sloping hill on The Hyde School campus in Bath, striking a Maine parallel to the current PBS hit series, Downton Abbey. While education is their main focus, school officials are pleased with the recent conversion from oil to natural gas. Their investment has a one-year pay back, scoring an A+ for energy savings and sound business planning.
“The transition from oil to gas was seamless,” remarks Hyde School Executive Business Manager Cindy Morgan. Hyde School worked with Mechanical Services, a statewide HVAC company starting in September of 2012 after the pipeline was installed last summer.
Fourteen buildings on campus are now heated with natural gas from the Hyde Mansion to the newly constructed residence hall. “Each building presented a different set of issues and Mechanical Services worked with us to create unique solutions,” says George Paton, Hyde School facilities manager.
“The Hyde School conversion to natural gas is a perfect example of how new technology is helping save energy and money in ways unimaginable when the facility was built a century ago,” says Mechanical Services President Chris Green. “The original heat source was coal and our team thrived on creating solutions to meet each job’s specifications.”
Underneath the mansion’s gracefully-appointed rooms, oil-fired steam boilers are equipped with state of the art Webster natural gas burners with an Autoflame Combustion Management system. In addition, Mechanical Services installed a code compliant stainless steel lining system in the 100-year old chimney.
PORTLAND, ME (November 15, 2012) — Mechanical Services has been named 2012 Contractor of the Year by Efficiency Maine. The statewide energy efficiency trust recognized a number of its customers and business partners at their Annual Awards event held in Freeport.
Mechanical Services was the first honoree of the evening. Michael Stoddard, Executive Director for Efficiency Maine, recognized Mechanical Services for the 42 Efficiency Maine projects completed over the course of the past year. These projects are saving Maine businesses about 785,000 kWh each year. David Clay, Director of Product and Energy Services, accepted the award on behalf of Mechanical Services.
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Aroostook Medical Center became the first health care organization in the state and possibly the nation to break ground on a project that will result in a hospital being heated with compressed natural gas.
The hospital has been working for several months with partners Mechanical Services, Inc., which has four locations in Maine, including Presque Isle, and New England-based Xpress Natural Gas, or XNG, to develop specific details for the conversion. Mechanical Services introduced the concept of CNG to TAMC, and will provide the expertise for the boiler house piping and burner conversion.
Portland, ME (July 2012) — The Portland International Jetport has won LEED Gold certification — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Jetport is only the second commercial airport in the country to receive this coveted LEED Gold designation.
A key element in the Jetport design is energy-saving environmental controls installed by Mechanical Services and Maine Controls. Our state-of-the-art technology helps the Jetport manage high-efficiency systems as part of its recent $77 million expansion.
Maine Controls’ Energy Management System supports the Jetport’s geothermal impressive heating and cooling system, which is the largest in Maine. The system absorbs the earth’s heat in winter and uses it in summer. It is expected to save the Jetport 50,000 gallons of fuel oil annually.
Mechanical Services Offers Cost Saving, Energy Efficient HVAC Solutions
Portland, ME (April 9, 2012) — Aptly named, Chris Green, owner and president of Mechanical Services, has helped hundreds of businesses throughout Aroostook County install energy efficient equipment in order to GO Green by improving the environment and GROW Green by reducing utility costs and improving their bottom lines. From optimizing existing systems to designing never-before-seen custom systems, Aroostook County businesses are utilizing energy efficiency services in a variety of ways. Here are three outstanding examples:
Graves Shop n’ Save in Presque Isle recently received an Environmental Leader designation from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for efforts it made toward making the store a greener, more environmentally friendly location. One effort in particular, has had a significant impact on reducing the store’s carbon emissions and lowering electricity costs. Mechanical Services replaced inefficient refrigeration compressors and controls with variable speed compressors that run only when cooling is needed. This one improvement is projected to keep more than 350,000 cubic tons of greenhouse gas out of the air and save the store almost $40,000 each year in electricity and maintenance costs.
In Houlton, an energy audit of the Houlton Regional Hospital revealed the boilers weren’t operating as efficiently as possible. Mechanical Services designed and installed new high efficiency systems featuring two Webster burners and Autoflame computerized combustion controls. The improvements save the hospital about $20,000 a year in fuel costs and $10,000 a year in electricity costs. Beyond financial benefits, the hospital is helping to keep about 100,000 cubic tons of carbon dioxide out of the air.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a federal weather agency, hired Mechanical Services to revamp the HVAC system at its Caribou weather station – maximizing energy efficiency and prolonging equipment life. The existing geothermal system was inadequate and consistently plagued with technical problems. Mechanical Services modified the building’s heating system and installed state-of-the-art air-to-air heat pumps, air-sourced free cooling equipment and updated the existing geothermal well. These modifications allowed the facility to maintain its federal “Green” status and made this NOAA facility one of the most energy efficient facilities in the country. It’s a completely carbon free facility with zero emissions.
Green believes these types of capital improvements are not only the trend here in Maine, but a necessary means for helping Maine businesses thrive. “We’ve installed energy efficient HVAC equipment and controls all over Aroostook County,” he says. “Business owners understand the costs and benefits of implementing new technologies to reduce fuel and electricity expenses.”
Ocean-based “Sea-o-thermal” HVAC System Used at SMCC
Portland, ME (April 4, 2012) — Southern Maine Community College in South Portland partnered with a team of energy professionals to design and install an innovative ocean-based geothermal – or “sea-o-thermal” HVAC system in the Lighthouse building. The energy efficient system either absorbs or rejects heat from nearby seawater to bring a closed-loop glycol-heating coil to temperature. The system is completely environmentally friendly – releasing no byproducts into the water and requiring no fossil fuels. This innovative system makes regulating the building’s temperature easy and is three times more efficient than conventional heating and cooling systems.
“The ocean is an amazing energy source,” says SMCC’s Dean of Admission Scott Beatty. “Even in the winter it provides potential heat that can be extracted and used to make the Lighthouse building comfortable.” This project was designed to use only electricity and energy harnessed from Casco Bay, no other fuel required. It’s 100% clean, producing no greenhouse gas emissions other than those created by electricity generation.
“This is a zoned facility with true heat recovery technology,” says Chris Green owner of Mechanical Services, the company involved with design and responsible for installation. “Each room has its own thermostat allowing occupants to control the temperature in each zone.”
The unique ocean-based system is the only one like it in Maine and proving to be highly efficient. Previously, the college consumed about 2,000 gallons of oil a year to heat the essentially unoccupied Lighthouse building. Now, thanks to the new “sea-o-thermal” system, the building is used full time and doesn’t require any fossil fuel for heating – saving the school about $7,200 in heating costs each year. In addition the “sea-o-thermal” system is also being used to air condition the building during summer months – a comfort that was not part of the old HVAC system.
The individual room’s environment is controlled by a state-of-the-art system which also controls the flow of sea water used by the system. A touch screen located in the building lobby allows the building occupants and visitors to view the system’s operation. The control system was designed and installed by Maine Controls
Mechanical Services, a statewide HVAC contractor, helped design the system and was responsible for its installation.