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June 20, 2013

Derry Public Library readies for natural gas job

DERRY — Derry Public Library could save a lot of money once it gets upgraded to natural gas.

That is what officials hope for as a plan to convert the 23,000-square-foot library’s HVAC systems from oil to natural gas gets closer to a start date.

The town is currently seeking proposals from contractors. The cost of the conversion could be approximately $83,000; the money was included in the town’s fiscal year 2014 capital improvement plan.

“This has been a long-term goal,” Public Works Director Michael Fowler said.

The project will be done in several phases, Fowler said, with the initial phase beginning later this summer to extend the gas main from Park Avenue, across East Broadway to the library.

Natural gas could save the library thousands of dollars per year. Fowler said the library was already spending about $14,000 per year on its approximate 4,500-gallon fuel oil usage.

Town officials and library board members have had the project on the radar for some time.

“The cost of (natural gas) is so much cheaper,” Town Administrator John Anderson said during this year’s budget process.

He said there even may be a possibility of tying nearby Grinnell Elementary and Gilbert H. Hood Middle schools into a natural gas link once the library goes online.

The library could save thousands of dollars simply because it would no longer require regular Department of Environmental Services inspections of its 5,000-gallon underground oil storage tank.

Helping the library save money on energy costs is part of the town’s mission to be as energy-efficient as possible, Fowler said.

“Whenever possible, we try to be proactive,” he said. “This makes sense for the town.”

Other town facilities are reaping benefits. Energy-saving efforts are already in use in many buildings, Fowler said, including the fire department, police station, and municipal center.

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