If you have been driving around the island the past few days, you've probably noted an unusual amount of activity at the Commons! The weatherization project is in full swing! Jon Riley and his crew from Casco Bay Insulation started on the 12th, cleaning out debris from the basement and crawl spaces and installing moisture barrier materials throughout. That big white box-truck on the front lawn is storing a vast amount of material and equipment needed for the project.
The long trench you see across the front lawn contains a downhill-sloping drain for all the water/snowmelt that comes off the roofs at the back of the building. Bo Beaupre had a crew there Thursday and Friday, digging trenches for all the new drains and also removing some asphalt by the back door where water had pooled, seeping into the building walls and foundation. A set of new drain pipes will be installed there, in crushed stone beds, to channel runoff to the major drain at the front of the house, And while this work may sound straightforward, or simple, it is very challenging to do all this in the small spaces around the foundation and doorways, respecting the old 19th century rubble foundation and keeping doorways open so that residents and staff can come and go! There was a lot of careful, hand-digging, the old fashioned way with men and shovels!
Then as all this was happening, Ed Reynolds arrived on Thursday to install our two new Roth oil tanks, fitting them snugly into a newly cleaned and insulated section of the basement. Jon Rich was everywhere ... as both Riley and Reynolds were working with pipes and connections from old equipment. Jon Rich's knowledge of the "Commons Underground" (and its history of failures and repairs) has been indispensable! And, I might point out that much of this work in the basement areas requires all these guys to work hunched over or on their knees or backsides as there is a very low ceiling in the basement and even I, at 5'1", cannot stand up in many of the crawl spaces under the residents' wing.
We have a wonderful crew for this project! It is amazing how much logistical coordination takes place in the course of each day.
Amy, Nancy O, and staff are keeping the residents informed and have arranged diversions during some of the noisier episodes but everyone seems to understand the noisy parts are of short duration and we are headed for a more comfortable, less drafty home this winter.
And for the green thumb members on the board, I'm happy to assure you that Annie came by to look over the uprooted plants and will coordinate their future!