By: Matt Kiernan
WILTON — Town officials have signed a pledge to reduce energy use in municipal buildings by 20 percent by the year 2018.
The signing commits Wilton to the Clean Energy Communities program, an initiative of Energize Connecticut, which motivates cities and towns to improve energy efficiency and implement new forms of clean and renewable energy.
“We’re seeing a lot of communities respond well to the program,” said Rebecca Meyer, senior program administrator at Connecticut Light & Power, in a phone interview Wednesday.
Wilton has joined more than 70 other Connecticut municipalities, including Weston and Westport, that have already signed on for the program.
In addition to the energy consumption decrease, Wilton officials have pledged to purchase 20 percent of its municipal electrical needs from renewable sources by 2018.
CL&P, CEC program administrators and the Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority will assist Wilton in achieving its new goals.
“We wanted it to be a realistic goal, but really have a vision,” said Meyer.
The state has a goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s website. Meyer said CL&P wanted municipalities to match that number.
Wilton municipal buildings consume about $2.5 million of energy each year, according to the job description of the new director of facilities and energy management position that town officials are seeking to fill.
Taking part in energy-saving and renewable energy programs can earn Wilton points for rewards.
Businesses or residents who receive a Home Energy Solutions assessment, install a renewable energy system, apply for energy improvements using new Connecticut Clean Energy Fund financing products or upgrade equipment can earn points for the town.
The town is a member of the Commercial-Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which assists communities in obtaining affordable energy upgrades for buildings.
“Wilton has always embraced energys efficiency and renewable energy initiatives and we are excited to join the Clean Energy Communities program, which will ensure that our community continues to grow in both of these areas,” said First Selectman Bill Brennan last week in a press release.
Membership into the program allows Wilton to gain reward points for applications and completed C-PACE projects at commercial and industrial properties.
For every 100 points a town earns through participation in renewable initiatives, a municipality can earn a renewable energy system equal to a 1-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.
Wilton previously gained 5 kWs of solar photovoltaic through an energy efficiency program along with a donation of 15 kWs by a former local resident, resulting in a 20-kW system installed at Wilton High School.
“I hope that by signing the pledge, residents and businesses are encouraged to participate in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which will help lower their overall energy costs, and contribute to Wilton’s participation in the Clean Energy Communities program,” said Brennan.
CL&P energy specialists will visit those who sign up for an HES service. Specialists will install energy-efficient products in homes and apartments and seal air leaks, replace lights with energy-saving bulbs and insulate hot water pipes.
The services are valued at an average of $1,000, but the cost for HES service is $75 for residences with electricity or natural gas, according to the press release.
HES services cost $75 for homes head with fuel oil and propane, and are free for people who meet income eligibility requirements.
One of the town properties seeking to improve its energy efficiency is a home located on the Ambler Farm property at 257 Hurlbutt St.
“It’s really an interesting one,” said Gillespie.
Wilton Energy Commission member Patrice Gillespie said in a phone interview Thursday that the home recently had an energy assessment conducted through the HES program.
The home houses the family of Ambler Farm’s program manager Kevin Meehan.
Gillespie said town officials will review the HES analysis to see what improvements the town can afford to make to the home.
According to Mitch Gross, spokesman for CL&P, 870 homes in Wilton have signed up for HES programs. In addition, 150 CL&P customers and 50 businesses have taken advantage of additional rebates for energy appliances and services.
“It’s a great program,” said Meyer.
Residents interested in signing up for an HES service can call (877) 947-3873.
For more information about Energize Connecticut’s programs, visit www.energizect.com.