Mayor’s task force gets Norwalk a $15K grant, works toward energy efficiency

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Norwalk Councilman John Kydes (D-District C) is chairman of the Mayor’s Energy and Environment Task Force.

NORWALK, Conn. – A newly minted Norwalk task force has already taken steps to save the city nearly $30,000 a year.

The Mayor’s Energy and Environment Task Force (MEETF), which has had no formal meetings as a group, is working toward a City Hall lighting retrofit, Mayor Harry Rilling said. Rilling also signed a pledge.

“We signed on to reduce energy consumption by 5-10-15 percent,” he said last week at a Board of Estimate and Taxation meeting. “We end up with a $15,000 grant just by signing on. We’re going to be retrofitting the lights in City Hall. We’re also looking at solar on some of the buildings.”

Task force Chairman Councilman John Kydes (D-District C) explained in an email:

Pledge and grant — Rilling signed the Clean Energy Communities Pledge, a promise that Norwalk will reduce building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018, Kydes said. By signing the pledge, Norwalk was given a $15,000 grant that can be applied towards an energy saving project.

City Hall lighting retrofit — The task force, with the help of city staff members Alan Lo, Gerald Foley and Mike Sgobbo, has gone out to bid for a City Hall lighting retrofit. “We have narrowed the bid process to two companies and will be making our final choice within the next two weeks,” Kydes said. “The project will reduce lighting consumption by 183,457 kWh annually, equaling an annual savings of $29,740.36. This will reduce City Hall’s energy lighting costs by half and it will take under four years of savings to pay back the City’s investment.”

Solar panels — The Mayor’s Energy and Environment Task Force is putting together a list of schools and city buildings that have roofs that are capable of accepting solar panels (taking into consideration sun angles, weight load limitations), Kydes said. Current building projects (Naramake Elementary School, Rowayton Elementary School) and planned future projects (the City Hall roof) are also being looked at to include solar panels. “We are working with Mike Mocciae (Recreation and Parks Director) on phase 2 of the Master Plan for Oyster Shell Park,” Kydes said. “Phase two includes the installation of solar panels and possible wind turbines. The MEETF is currently meeting with several companies for our solar needs. There will be no cost to the city or (Board of Education) for solar panel installation, equipment purchasing or maintenance, and for each building that installs solar panels, there will be a 20 to 50 percent reduction in electricity costs. Savings amounts are will vary, based on the amount of solar panels that can fit on the roof.”

Residential and commercial property owners workshops — “The MEETF is currently organizing a series of workshops that will inform residents and commercial property owners of inexpensive ways to reduce energy costs, available utility incentives and alternative energy sources. We are planning our first workshop to coordinate with Earth Day,” Kydes said.

The task force was announced on Feb. 20.

“These are projects that the mayor and I felt needed to be addressed first, and with the help of task force members, we have already made positive progress,” Kydes said. “Our first task force meeting as a full group will be March 17. There we will move along what we have been working on and set more short & long term goals. With many being environmental.”


3 responses to “Mayor’s task force gets Norwalk a $15K grant, works toward energy efficiency”

  1. EveT

    Could they make the stairwells in City Hall more accessible so that elevator use would decrease? Of course elevators are necessary and important, but many able-bodied people would prefer the health benefits of using the stairs.

  2. spanner

    The task force should know firefighters need training around Solar installations its now part of fire science the new task force needs to work on providing that information if its available to them.

    An article in the Stamford Advocate by John Nickerson recently was cutting edge jouralism on the safety of Solar power and firefighters.This drew some interesting comments from the Stamford fire dept and was very informative both the aticle and what the Stamford dept had to say about what is needed for firefighter safety.I consider Stamford a top notch fire dept just like Norwalk.

    If Norwalk is already there lending such information to other depts would be awesome clearly what has been said and written in the firefighting circles there is a need to learn and understand the dangers during any fire ground operation.

    With this in mind any rooftop installation of schools in Norwalk where kids do hang around that would also be another task of the force to ensure Norwalks liability is covered.I’m sure for those who inquire to the police dept about things in Norwalk will find kids on roofs of schools does happen.

    The way the budget process works in Norwalk talking about training first repsonders now for somthing a year away may be prudent.

  3. Tesla

    “The project will reduce lighting consumption by 183,457 kWh annually, equaling an annual savings of $29,740.36. This will reduce City Hall’s energy lighting costs by half and it will take under four years of savings to pay back the City’s investment.”


    So, city hall’s eletric costs, (alone, excluding DPW, Police headquarters, the Firehouses and parks), city hall annual electric bill is near 750,000? Wow and I thought I was getting ripped by the utilities. Wait, I am getting ripped more than twice, we all are. Monopolies are unhealthy for a democratic economic structure. A fact Kim Jung un may disagree with. 750 thousand is allot of money wasted for what exactly? Lights and computers and temperature control? Oh and the soda machines. Yes that’s allot of dough to keep the lights on that could be better spent on badly needed infrastructure upgrades, so any projects that can reduce those costs are positive and should be whole heartedly encouraged. Regardless of Regan’s antic when he moved into 1600 Penn. We all know now,if we all recall, Regan made his decisions based on tarot cards. Most of western Europe is far ahead of us in solar. Germany appears to be in the lead. A quick glance at Google Earth shows how far ahead they really are. Norway and Sweden also are ahead. Any and all efforts to reduce dependence on the grid and the exorbitant costs associated, no less the city’s carbon foot print, should be and are applauded. One item that has not been mentioned; Knoop also did an energy revamp about a decade ago, installing some different lighting and automated lighting switches and plumbing at city hall. Anyone have those numbers of the projected savings than and the original costs of the study and installation? Would be interesting for comparison. There has been many instances of toilets backing up and flooding the bathrooms. It remains debatable whether the stoppages are from the automated plumbing or disgruntled taxpayers. But it would be helpful for comparison to see what the last effort results were, as we, finally, step forward reducing dependence and lowering operational costs, besides just hitting employees and taxpayers wallets and purses. Nice work everyone, keep it rolling.

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