Sawyer’s Island Retreat: Raupanel Radiant Heating System~ By Holly Haining-Zulieve

An Installation of Raupanel Radiant Heating System on Sawyer Island: If you are reading this article you probably live in Maine, either part or full-time, so you’re a Mainer, whether native or by spiritual osmosis.  I get it, I understand having moved away and come back, and it gets me too.  It is that ethereal, mysterious magnetism that draws people back to this place.   Hence the old saying, “True Mainers Venture Out, but Never Really Leave.”  This affliction if you will, undoubtedly has affected our customer Bob Barris.  Bob was born in Maine, but his family moved to Chelmsford, Massachusetts when he was very young.  He still spent every summer at the family’s cottage up here in Ocean Park.  These seasonal vacations in Maine only served to increase and strengthen his sense of attraction and connection to the state he emotionally and spiritually never left.  After graduating from Suffolk University, Bob mused that, “I would still find myself driving up to Maine every weekend to visit friends.”

In 1978, Bob took an opportunity to permanently move to Saco, a beautiful town in Maine’s southern coastal area.  Perhaps it was fate that brought Bob, a self- proclaimed “water guy” to a particular Maine beach on a particular day in 1983, where he would meet “Deb,” a woman with a passion for the water equal to his.  Not surprisingly, they became husband and wife. Bob was a pioneer of the Maine windsurfing movement and after their marriage, the two spent many years windsurfing up and down the east coast until Bob’s asthma no longer allowed him to tolerate the freezing Atlantic waters.  No matter and true to form, the Barrises satisfied their water “fix” in a 30’ Ericson sailboat. Having never sailed before, they individually learned to sail (funny story for another time).  They joined a Yacht Club (Maine Ericson Owners Association) and found themselves sailing some of the most picturesque waters in the world.  During those early days of sailing they discovered Linekin Bay where the Yacht Club’s annual two week sailing cruise always departs.  Ultimately they purchased a circa 1980’s house with frontage on Sawyer’s Island.  Unfortunately, the home required extensive updating, including a new heating system.

Bob points out a picture he keeps of MCES Install technicians Tim Harriman and Robert Desrosiers.

Bob searched for a suitable HVAC company, limiting his options to relatively large companies that could provide full service.  Enter Mid-Coast Energy Systems and Sales Manager Gina Philippon, with whom Bob was very impressed right out of the gate.  According to Bob, Gina guided him through  the entire process.  She was extremely thorough in her assessment of his needs, and the best tack to achieve those needs in the most cost effective manner possible.  When it came time to decide on which  option to choose, Bob and Deb drew on their previous experience with radiant floor heating, the superior comfort it would provide and its lack of unsightly baseboards.  Bob was particularly impressed with the RAUPANEL system which was recommended by MCES, including its above the sub-floor Installation and unique hot water tubing design all of which provided super heating distribution at maximum efficiency.

Gina Philippon explains the features and benefits of a RAUPANEL Radiant heating System.

According to Bob, on top of the company’s well established reputation in its field, its personalized service was a bonus and final factor that sealed the relationship.    Bob admitted that he spent considerable time on the project hovering around Tim Harriman, (MCES master plumber who has been with MCES for 30 years) who Bob jokingly said “did not even mind me looking over his shoulder.”


Today, with the job done and all mechanical systems tucked neatly out of sight, all visitors see is a lovely appointed home with spectacular views.  Through the front door entrance visitors are met with beautiful hardwood floors leading up to sweeping views of the bay.  Front and center, an inlaid compass rose made of intricately cut hardwood and brassannounces ‘a sailor lives here.  The glossy floors are toasty warm underfoot while providing a visually seamless and appealing flow throughout the house, all without detraction from the hidden heating system.

Bob & Deb were so impressed by MCES’ commitment to consumer education and personalized service; they asked MCES to also maintain their generator and water treatment systems.   During this interview, Bob had a question about the water treatment system.  Again, Gina expertly explained how the entire treatment system functions, including the maintenance schedule causing Bob to say, “That’s exactly why I love you guys … you take the time to explain how mechanical systems work;  what service is required and why, so I never have to resort to blind faith.”  He added that everyone at MCES was always attentive to his needs and schedule, and arrived quickly to address any issue that arose.

And so, along with becoming a true Mainer, Bob Barris has also become far more than another satisfied customer, and more like an enthusiastic spokesperson.  Gina Philippon concluded that, “It is fantastic when a customer says that if anyone wants a referral, tell them to call me!”  How great is that?