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.”