Energy upgrade helped learning center “button up” for winter
There’s nothing like a roomful of toddlers for floor-level action.
The children in the Gorham Community Learning Center flop, plop, roll, stretch out and curl up across the floor. On sunny days, when the sun streams through the windows and warms the carpet, it’s pretty cozy. But on those woolly winter days, when sleet skitters across the playground and the cold seeps into the stone basement of the century-old schoolhouse, not so much.
This winter, the floor will be a warmer place.
The Family Resource Center at Gorham, which houses the learning center, took the advice of generations of New Hampshire mothers and “buttoned up” this spring. The Community Loan Fund got grants for the Family Resource Center to do an energy audit of the building, then to insulate the cellar walls and tighten the entryway to the learning center.
“It’s important. The children take naps on mats on the floor. If the foundation is insulated, they’re not getting the cold draft,” says Family Resource Center Office Manager Marie Demers.
The Child Care Energy Efficiency Program helped seven North Country child care centers pinpoint how they could save energy – and money – by sealing their buildings or installing more-efficient equipment.
The program used funding from the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and led to the creation of the statewide Enterprise Energy Fund, a stimulus-funded revolving loan program for non-profits and businesses seeking advice and loans aimed at reducing their energy bills.
The Family Resource Center project benefited not only the learning center, which occupies the first floor in the front of the building, but also other nonprofits and the school district’s administrative office housed there.
“We were aware that we needed to insulate, but didn’t have the funding,” Marie says. Without the energy grants, the work would have waited until donations came from private funders. Now she looks forward to the project’s second phase; insulating the attic will potentially cut heating costs by 25 percent.
Says Marie, “When we can save on energy costs, that means our funding can go to direct services for clients instead of for fuel and electricity.”
This article was originally published in the Community Loan Fund’s 2010 annual report.