SUFFIELD — Looking to help the town earn a grant and save on utility bills, First Selectman Edward McAnaney had his Wren Road home undergo an assessment Tuesday to help make it more energy efficient.

McAnaney said he underwent the assessment not only to save money on utility
bills, but also to encourage other residents to do the same as the town
participates in the Connecticut Energy Efficient Fund’s 20 Percent by 2018
During the assessment, which lasted just under four hours, a contractor sealed
leaks around windows and a fireplace, and installed energy-efficient light bulbs and water fixtures.

The Energy Efficient Fund estimated the average assessment costs $700, but
homeowners getting one done through its program pay just a $75 co-pay.

“Hopefully, other people in town will do the same,” he said.

McAnaney is one of 350 homeowners in town to undergo the assessment under the fund’s campaign, helping the town earn points towards a $10,000 grant.

Towns become eligible for the program by participating in the 20 percent by
2018 campaign and pledging to purchase at least 20 percent of their municipal
energy usage from clean energy sources.

Diana McCarthy-Bercury, a program administrator for Connecticut Light &
Power, said the fund has “revamped” the campaign and is asking the 108
participating towns to also reduce their municipal energy usage by 20 percent.

CL&P and the state’s other utility companies administer the fund, which is
generated by a fee on utility bills. The fund then helps cover the costs of grants and other program initiatives.

Residents and business owners in participating communities can also help their
towns earn credits toward grants by purchasing clean energy, undergoing energy
audits, and other steps.

A town can earn 6 points for each 1 percent of homeowners who undergo an
assessment, 8 points for each 1 percent of residents who redeem rebates towards
energy-efficient technologies, and 4 points for each 1 percent of businesses or
municipal buildings that participate in campaign programs.

Suffield has earned 66 points, including 42 from the 350 households undergoing
an assessment, just over 7 percent. The town has also earned 8 points from 66
households utilizing technology rebates, and 16 points from 18 business or
municipal energy projects.

Towns reaching 100 points can earn a Bright Ideas grant ranging from $5,000 to
$15,000, and Suffield would qualify for a $10,000 grant based on its size, said
CL&P Senior Program Administrator Rebecca Meyer.

A town can then use the grant to make energy upgrades at municipal buildings,
buy solar panels, cover the home assessment co-pay for residents, or other
energy-related initiatives.
“It’s definitely exciting to have the town leader lead by example,” Meyer said.

Towns also can earn points for residents who install renewable energy systems
or purchase energy from renewable sources, and can earn a free 1 kilowatt clean
energy system.

Residents can learn more about the Energy Efficient Fund’s campaign or
participate by calling 877-Wise-Use (877-947-3873), or by visiting

McAnaney said the town will undergo energy audits at municipal buildings to
determine the best ways to meet its pledge under the 20 percent by 2018

He said reducing energy usage not only is good for the environment, it also
will help the town free up money in the budget for other needs.

“As with many municipal budgets…we don’t have a lot of money to throw around,” he said.

The town also has an Alternative Energy Committee to gather information for
town officials and create awareness among residents.

Committee member Rich Bosse, who has a 7-kilowatt solar panel that powers his
home, said he hopes McAnaney’s assessment will create awareness for both the
committee and the campaign.

“I don’t think most people even know the committee exists” he said.