As the nation strives to become greener and cleaner, Connecticut is making a conscientious effort to provide people and businesses with cheaper and more reliable energy. That’s why the state launched its most comprehensive energy efficiency initiative, Lead by Example, in 2011.
With nearly $15 million in bond funding and a team of experts from across state government, Lead by Example intends to save money and reduce energy usage throughout the state and local government buildings and operations.
Daniel Esty, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner, said Lead by Example is capable of, “providing real savings for taxpayers, reducing the environmental footprint of state government, and proving to municipalities, businesses and property owners that energy efficiency is a sound investment.”
Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy said, “The Lead by Example program is the first step towards achieving my vision of making Connecticut the most energy efficient state in the nation.” In one year, the program has committed $10.14 million to 41 projects across state government, with an average payback period of 5.9 years. The program has pursued projects that incorporate “deeper” energy efficiency measures, which go far into buildings to wrench out more savings in each project.
Additionally, in October 2011, Connecticut adopted the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code into the state’s building code to improve duct sealing and efficient lighting requirements. The codes apply to single-family housing and multi-family housing three stories or less for new construction, new additions, home alterations and repairs.
As a precursor to the State’s Lead by Example, performance contracting was made available to cities and towns throughout Connecticut. These contracts provide municipalities with incentive funds which are used to assist cities and towns design and implement energy efficient projects including but not limited to improving lighting, heating, energy management systems, cogeneration and motors and drives.
Most recently, two local towns, Stratford and East Hartford, have taken big steps towards becoming more energy efficient by entering into performance contracting projects. Lead by Example has recently launched a comprehensive energy efficiency performance contracting program for state agencies and municipalities that will significantly increase the number of performance contracts being executed in the state.
In February, the Town of Stratford announced it had been granted $839,086 in incentive funds for a performance contract with Energize Connecticut. Stratford is currently working on a $10 million project that will make 33 town-wide buildings more energy efficient. These buildings include the town hall, firehouses, a water treatment facility, and various elementary and upper-level schools.
Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins said, “Reducing the town’s energy usage, and at the same time, upgrading our energy infrastructure within our buildings is a win-win. Municipalities must think outside of the box and take advantage of programs such as these to move forward in this economic climate.”
With the performance-contracting model, energy-efficient facility improvements are paid for with the resulting utility savings. Over the 15-year contract term, the Town of Stratford will save a projected $9.9 million in energy savings.
Also partnering with Energize Connecticut, the town of East Hartford was granted an 11-year performance contract that began in 2007. Through this contract, East Hartford was able to execute a process of making 18 town buildings more energy efficient. In 2009, the second phase of the contract started enabling the town to begin energy efficiency work on nine town buildings and eight schools.
Throughout the duration of the contract, the town is expected to save close to $6.9 million.
By 2013, the program hopes to have reduced the amount of energy consumed in state buildings by 10 percent, and by 2018, the program aims to reduce the amount of energy consumed by an additional 10 percent.
Jamie Howland is the Director of Environment Northeast’s Climate and Energy Analysis Center, and a member of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board and the Connecticut Fuel Oil Conservation Board.