Plans are in the works to replace the Munson Library’s oil-powered heating system with a new, energy efficient system to service the entire building.
Improvements to the Munson’s heating/ventilation/air conditioning system (HVAC) have been on the radar of the Town for almost two decades. In 2019, Town meeting approved $90,000 to replace a poorly-functioning heating and cooling system with air-sourced heat pumps, but no work has been done since that appropriation was approved.
An additional $30,000 was requested this year for HVAC repairs at the Munson. Rob Morra, Amherst Building Commissioner and Assistant Director of Conservation and Development, confirmed that the requested funds would supplement prior requests and provide the funding needed to replace the existing system with an air-to-water heat pump. He said the plan is to replace the systems for the entire building to provide “better control for more even heating and cooling.”
Although the new system takes an oil-fired boiler off-line, the proposed work is not entirely fossil fuel-free as a back-up propane boiler will be present to supplement the heat pump during extremely cold temperatures.
Morra also said that the project includes improvements to the building envelope in the form of additional insulation and air sealing. Other work, such as storm windows, will also be considered but have not yet been determined to be necessary.
Prior to his leaving, former Facilities Director, Jim McPherson, had begun discussion with an engineer for design work at the Munson. A new Facilities Manager was hired recently, Jeremiah Laplante. According to Morra, Laplante “has a great deal of experience with managing larger buildings, HVAC, and controls” and “will be looking at this [project] and moving it along.”