BY: QUANNAH LEONARD
BEACON FALLS — The town has already taken steps to be more energy efficient, and is pledging to do more by 2018.
Beacon Falls has recommitted itself to an expanded Clean Energy Communities Program, an initiative under Energize Connecticut that gives towns incentives to improve energy efficiency and promote clean, renewable energy use.
Under the program, the town pledges to reduce its energy consumption at town buildings by 20 percent by 2018. It also has to purchase 20 percent of its electricity from clean, renewable energy sources by that same year.
Energize Connecticut is an initiative of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, the state and local electric and gas utilities, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills, according to a release.
The expanded program is jointly administered by the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and the state’s public utilities on behalf of the Energy Efficiency Fund.
Beacon Falls joins other towns in the pledge. Of Connecticut’s 169 towns, more than 30 have recommitted — including Ansonia, Bethany, Bristol, Cornwall, Plymouth and Southbury — said David R. Goldberg, director of government and external relations at the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority.
First Selectman Gerard F. Smith, who recently signed the pledge, said Beacon Falls has been doing what the program has asked it to do, and he believes the town will be able to meet its goal.
Town buildings including Town Hall previously have upgraded lighting equipment to high-efficiency fixtures, according to the release. The town used Energy Efficiency Fund incentives and a zero-percent interest loan available to municipalities to pay for the upgrades.
Last October, the Board of Selectmen approved interior and exterior lighting upgrades to several municipal facilities including the wastewater treatment plant, which will save the town $2,350 a year, and exterior lighting upgrades to Town Hall, saving the town $600 a year.
Smith said the town has exceeded targeted savings at the treatment plant. In one month, it has saved $2,000, he said.
By participating in renewable initiatives and energy efficiency programs, Beacon Falls can earn points for rewards.
For every 100 points earned for renewable initiatives, the town will receive a clean-energy system such as a solar photovoltaic array, and for every 100 earned through energy efficiency programs, Beacon Falls will receive a $5,000 grant to be used toward a community-selected energy-saving project such as hiring an energy auditor to further assess town buildings.
Program administrators will work with the town to assist it in meeting its goals. There is no penalty if the town does not meet the goals.