Maine Small Businessman Enjoys Big Savings Converting from Oil to Gas

Gorham, Maine – When the owner of a 186-year-old historical landmark in Gorham, Maine decided to find a way to reduce his fuel bills and create a greener bed and breakfast operation, he never dreamed he could cut his costs by two-thirds and end up saving almost $6,000 a year. But Jim Robinson, co-owner of Mainely Plumbing & Heating, made him a believer in big fuel cost savings with the high efficiency Baxi Luna system he designed.

PineCrest Inn is a 5,500-square-foot Victorian property built in 1825. Once the grand home of Gorham's town doctor, it is listed as a registered historical landmark in both the town of Gorham and the state of Maine. The inn has seven bedrooms and owner’s quarters (each with a private bathroom), plus a fine dining restaurant and wine bar.

Jim Robinson

Robinson knew a Baxi Luna HT 1.45 light commercial boiler was the right product to bring a 19th Century landmark into the 21st Century as soon as Matt Mattingly, owner of PineCrest Inn, told him he was tired of spending so much on oil, as well as propane and supplemental electric heating for his operation. “I first learned about Matt’s concerns when my wife Jan and I were enjoying dinner at his inn in the fall of 2008,” recounted Robinson. “His oil bills were enormous. He was also paying a much smaller propane bill for his kitchen range, and electric bill for the supplemental space heaters needed to make each guest room more livable.”

At that time, Maine Gas was running a new natural gas line along PineCrest Inn’s street, 91 South, and Jim Robinson urged the bed and breakfast owner to avail his business of the opportunity to convert from oil heat to natural gas.

Surpassed a 50% savings forecast

Robinson produces an energy efficiency analysis for each project he undertakes, using it as a benchmark for his work. His analysis of the Pine Crest Inn, using a Baxi Luna HT 1.45 boiler, forecasted at least 50% in savings. The boiler surpassed his fuel bills saving forecast, and also freed up valuable space in the basement and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“I was blown away when Matt told me that his first annual natural gas bill totaled just $3,005,” he said. “That’s amazing when you consider the inn’s total energy bill for the previous year was $8,947 — $6,925 of which was for oil alone, as well as $1,222 for propane and $800 for electric space heating, all of which we eliminated.”

The innkeeper also got pitches from three other local contractors, but he chose to go with Robinson’s Baxi high efficiency system even though it was not the lowest bid.

“I would have been very happy with the 50 per cent savings that Jim originally forecasted, but I am delighted with the actual 67 per cent cost savings,” Mattingly noted. “I made the right decision selecting Jim and his team. He does everything right, and he always stands behind his work. He doesn’t cut any corners just to save a few bucks.”

Increasing cash flow and resale value

Mattingly says the high efficiency Baxi system enhances his inn’s commitment to Maine's green lodging certification program. He says the inn is also a more comfortable place to be, his occupancy rates are up, and annual fuel savings add up to a payback of less than four years.

Based on a State of Maine study, the savings generated by the inn’s Baxi system increase the inn’s resale value by $118,840. The State of Maine Energy Efficiency Building Performance Standards study shows that energy efficiency enhancements can increase a property’s resale value by $20 for every dollar saved in annual fuel costs.

Oil-to-gas conversion saves firm 50%

Robinson steers systems design and installation for Mainely Plumbing & Heating, while his business partner Steve Vose oversees the service end of the business. The contracting firm maintains a substantial on-hand inventory of Baxi parts and accessories for the service side, which also services other Baxi boiler installations.

When a natural gas line was run on their shop’s street last year, Jim and Steve changed out an oil-fired steam boiler with a Baxi. Result: Baxi saved them 50 per cent in annual fuel costs – right on forecast.