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.
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.
A recent chiller rental project: Mechanical Services answered the call and responded quickly to deliver a Ware chiller to the Augusta Civic Center – a convention and exhibition facility, with 49,000 total square feet, owned and operated by the City of Augusta.
(August 2009) — When the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle determined that its energy technology was obsolete and more importantly, uneconomical, it looked to Mechanical Services to help.
The mall conducted an energy audit and found it was using an excessive amount of electricity to heat and air condition its vast retail space. One of the first solutions was to upgrade to a more efficient propane heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit — and recycle the old electric-fired 20-ton units.
It’s the first step to a greener mall says General Manager Patti Crook. See the full report from WAGM-TV 8.
(April 2008) — In a recent news story about the Governor’s Energy Conference on WCSH 6 — the local NBC TV affiliate — expert Jim Poitras from Mechanical Services pointed out that the cost savings from installing energy efficient systems can be very real.
“We’ve done projects with less than a year payback and a substantial amount of money. We’re talking sixty, seventy thousand dollars with a one year pay back on high efficiency combustion controls.”