Energy Commission to Save Wilton Some Cash

Did you know Wilton's tennis courts' lights are activated by a computer in Ohio?

Energy conservation initiatives are slowly making gains in saving the town money.

Bruce Hampson of the presented at the Board of Seletman meeting Monday night a number of energy-saving strategies and upgrades that the commission has done under the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act grant.

  • Replaced underground circulatory water pumps of Town Hall
  • Found that in the Town Hall Annex and at the firehouse that the boilers operated year round so they installed temperature controls to disable/enable them. Hanson said this action was the “biggest bang for the buck” when asked by the Board.
  • In the Town Hall Annex, installed a programmable thermostat for the heat not to be active all night.
  • LED outdoor lighting were installed on outdoor lamps at Middlebrook School
  • Installed Day-Lighting Control circuitry at the , which senses the light level in the space adjacent to the windows. If the sun provides enough light, the overhead lights go off.
  • Over the next two weeks there will be $150k worth of upgrades at Comstock. The town will receive a $100k 3-year loan from CL&P at no interest.
  • All the current changes are top-down, so now the next step is to make behavioral changes—turning off lights, keeping doors and windows closed, for example—which can be expected to save about 5-10 percent.
  • In the future, the town expects to track energy usage in municipal buildings through individualized reports

The Energy Commission is also trying to figure out how to turn off the lights at the town’s tennis courts, which are often on at night with nobody playing. Richard Dubow said this was one of the number one complaints that the Board hears from Wiltonians.

Interestingly, the lights are actually turned on and off by a computer in Ohio. The Parks and Rec center has to call an automated number and manually program when the lights will go on and off, depending on when people schedule to use the courts. However, people leave early and don’t often notify the Rec Center, so the lights stay on.

“We beat ourselves up over that, because we’re getting the same complaints,” said Hanson.

“We gotta get a better system for this,” said First Selectman William Brennan.

“It’s a very good point, how can we talk about energy conservation” when people drive by and see the lights on, said Hampson.

“We’re going to address it in a thorough and comprehensive plan about how we can still provide the services and how we can still get the lights off when nobody is on the field,” said Brennan.

Sue Donem February 09, 2012 at 09:59 PM
"Over the next two weeks there will be $150k worth of upgrades at Comstock. The town will receive a $100k 3-year loan from CL&P at no interest." Has anyone done any kind of ROI or payback analysis on these "upgrades"? It's great that it's an interest free loan, but if the savings don't total more than $100k in three years then the repayment will have to come from somewhere else, and in fact the savings have to exceed $150k to cover the entire project cost. Just seems like an obvious point to cover in the article......
Craig Donofrio February 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I wanted to clarify this further with Hanson, but since you asked, I believe there is expected to be about $30k a year in savings. From what I understand, The Energy Commission's goal is in long-term savings. CL&P also rewards some municipalities money through grants of kilowatts saved, and if they use clean energy sources (see:http://patch.com/A-kJQx for more information), and there are other government grants that towns can apply for as well. I'll have to double-check before I want to go "on the record," but I hope that clarifies your question a bit for now.
Craig Donofrio February 09, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Whoops..the link above got melded with the text. Here's the correct one: http://patch.com/A-kJQx
Sue Donem February 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Thanks for the quick response Craig. So, in year 3 we'll owe $10,000 more to CL&P than we will have saved. Two years after that we will have recouped all of the investment. I don't know -- seems like a worthwile project in good economic times, but today? I'm not so sure. Also, given the state of Comstock, is a 5 year payback even viable? There have proposals floated on and off to demolish the building and start over.
NeighborToNeighbor February 10, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Great article! It's fantastic to see the hard work of the Wilton Energy Commission highlighted, and see the town recognized for being so progressive in developing long term plans for energy reduction. The day-lighting control at the Wilton Library also sounds pretty impressive, can't wait to check it out next time I'm there.


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