NEWAIM Fiber Mill Goes Green in Waldoboro
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NEWAIM Fiber Mill in Waldoboro, Maine is a fiber processing mill for spinning and knitting artists.
The owners Nancy Williams and Al Mahoney have been breeding Alpacas since 1999, and currently hold a herd of 25. They opened NEWAIM in 2005 and both now work full time in the fiber business.
Al runs the farm and maintains the mill. Nancy, who has been knitting for as long as she remembers, runs the mill and turns raw fiber into beautiful yarns and rovings.
Last winter Al & Nancy decided to make energy efficient upgrades to their operation. They started by sealing air leaks and improving insulation. Next they decided to tackle their fossil fuel consumption. On energy they say their biggest use is “the propane used to heat the water required to wash the fiber.”
To address this problem, they contracted with ReVision Energy to design and install a 90 tube solar hot water system that acts to preheat the water that enters their propane fired water heater.
How Does the Solar Hot Water System Work?
Propylene glycol, the heat exchange fluid in the system, gets hot in the rooftop collectors. Whenever the temperature of the collector fluid is hotter than the temperature of the water in the 160 gallon solar storage tank, the hot glycol circulates through a closed loop system from rooftop to heat exchange coil located at the bottom of the tank.
The solar heated water then feeds into the propane water heater. The system is designed such that if the sun has made the water hot enough, the propane boiler will not fire.
Visit their website to learn more about the NEWAIM solar installation.