Energy efficient state archives to save 73,200 kWh and $17,500 annually

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Energy efficient state archives to save 73,200 kWh and $17,500 annually

Thu, 12/16/2010 - 5:25am -- tim

The Vermont State Department of Buildings and General Services and Efficiency Vermont recently collaborated on the expansion and renovation of the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration (VSARA) building in Middlesex. The building preserves some of the State’s most important public documents in an energy-efficient building that also will generate long-term savings for taxpayers. Former Secretary of State, Governor Jim Douglas was an ardent supporter of this project and he was joined by legislators Senator Phil Scott and Representative Alice Emmons in dedicating this state-of-the-art building in May of this year.
Vermont’s treasures weren’t always so well-preserved. This project fulfills the State’s long-term goal to relocate the papers, maps, photographs, and other collections from basements ‘ some with leaky pipes ‘ and other buildings to one centralized and secure location.
The Vermont State Archives contains historical documents such as the original 1777 Vermont Constitution; official correspondence from George Washington and Abe Lincoln, revolutionary leaders Ethan and Ira Allen, and Vermont’s first Governor Thomas Chittenden; maps that represent original town boundaries around the state; and centuries of legislative committee records as well as birth, marriage, divorce, and death records for untold Vermonters.
‘The Vermont State Archives houses in one place a multitude of stories of Vermonters and their government, woven together through centuries, as represented by the documents that are now well-preserved in our energy-efficient Middlesex location,’ said Vermont State Archivist Gregory Sanford.
The Vermont State Department of Buildings and General Services, Efficiency Vermont and several contractors collaborated closely on the 8,000 square foot addition that adds 25,000 cubic feet of archival document storage capacity and on renovations to the existing VSARA building on Route 2 in Middlesex.
The energy-efficiency features incorporated into VSARA’s headquarters provide stable temperature and humidity conditions, which are critical for archiving historically important State documents. The headquarters now feature high-efficiency water source heat pumps, chillers, and a well-insulated design, which prevents air leaks that can increase cooling and heating costs. In fact, the new structure achieved one of the best results in the state for a well-sealed building. The building also takes advantage of cooler outdoor air to cool rooms though the use of economizers.
The Vermont State Archives building will save an estimated 73,200 kWh per year and reduce energy costs for Vermont taxpayers by $17,500 per year.
‘The preservation and security of these vital documents chronicling the ongoing history of Vermont is of critical importance to all of us,’ said Gerry Myers, Commissioner of Buildings and General Services. ‘When we can do that, and reduce our long-term operational costs through energy efficiency, it’s a win-win situation for all Vermonters.’
According to architect Richard Deane of TruexCullins Architecture + Interior Design, one of the most striking design features is its overall focus.
‘While our design challenge included creating a comfortable and productive workplace for the employees who work on site to manage and build the historic resources of the Archives, as well as the historians, researchers, and other interested Vermonters who access these resources, this was not our main challenge,’ noted Deane. ‘Our overriding goal with the Vermont State Archives project was to develop efficient storage systems and a strictly controlled curatorial and protective environment to protect and preserve ‘things,’ the unique artifacts and documents, that tell the story of the people and history of our State.’
On behalf of Governor Douglas, the State of Vermont works with Efficiency Vermont on dozens of projects each year, with the State focusing on making the best energy-efficient choices at the lowest cost to meet the needs of highly-specialized facilities like the Vermont State Archives.
‘Thankfully, Vermont’s state leaders have been aggressive stewards of the State’s historical documents, preserving our common heritage while using the most energy- and cost-efficient strategies that benefit the public,’ said Richard Donnelly, a planning and development manager for Efficiency Vermont.
The general public can view select documents at the Vermont State Archives in Middlesex Tuesday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., or online at www.vermont-archives.org.
December 2010 ‘ Middlesex, VT ‘ Efficiency Vermont was created by the Vermont Legislature and the Vermont Public Service Board to help all Vermonters reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy, and protect Vermont's environment. Efficiency Vermont is currently operated by Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), an independent organization under contract to the Vermont Public Service Board. VEIC is a Vermont-based nonprofit organization founded in 1986. For more information, contact Efficiency Vermont at 888-921-5990 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com