“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” – a common thought process when it comes to building maintenance and equipment replacement. The benefits of spending money to renovate operational facilities and work spaces or to replace functioning equipment can far outweigh the costs when factoring long-term financial savings, improved environment and increased productivity.
The State of Connecticut provides significant resources and financial incentives to make energy efficiency upgrades to buildings and equipment more affordable and less time consuming for companies. Energize Connecticut is an initiative administered by local utility companies, who work directly with project managers and vendors to make energy-upgrade recommendations specific for each company’s unique situation and business needs. In addition to developing an energy upgrade action plan, the Utilities also work with customers to secure monetary incentive payments, rebates and, in some cases, low-interest financing available from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, to help offset the cost of energy upgrades.
Calabro Cheese Corporation, a family owned and operated cheese company in East Haven, Conn., worked with The United Illuminating Company (UI) to identify areas where their equipment was functional, but working at an inefficient rate. Calabro completed four energy-efficiency projects in 2012 and 2013 through Energize Connecticut’s Energy Opportunities and Operations and Maintenance programs. Upgrades included comprehensive lighting retrofit, refrigeration motor replacement and steam trap survey, repair and replacement. They also participated in a compressed air leak study, which was followed by installation of new compressed air distribution system and steam trap insulation, including remote monitoring.
For the combined upgrades, Calabro received a $56,457 incentive payment from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund and is now saving 148,949 kWh and 62,556 ccf annually. These savings translate to an estimated $95,769 saved on energy bills “Investments in energy-efficient equipment can pay off through significant annual monetary savings, which gives our customers a competitive edge to reinvest savings elsewhere in the company,” said Roy W. Haller, Director of Commercial and Industrial Energy Services at The United Illuminating Company. “We help customers within a wide spectrum to identify the most feasible energy upgrades for them, whether taking on one project or planning a course of action that utilizes multiple energy-efficiency programs.”
Energize Connecticut programs can support long-term benefits for new construction and renovation projects. Through the Energy Conscious Blueprint program, the Utility representatives work with building designers, architects and contractors to incorporate energy-efficient designs into building plans from the onset. For Aptar Stratford, a manufacturing company, an energy-efficient addition to their facility provided multi-pronged benefit.
UI enrolled Aptar Stratford in the Energy Conscious Blueprint program and worked with them to design a warehouse addition onto their Stratford facility that incorporated high efficiency rooftop air conditioning units, high efficiency lighting and occupancy sensors, an energy-efficient furnace and high efficiency battery charging units to charge forklift batteries.
These upgrades secured a $38,975 incentive payment for Aptar Stratford from the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund for completing the project, and Aptar Stratford will save 153,997 kWh annually, translating to an estimated $27,719 annual savings.
“By working with us before the addition project was designed, Aptar Stratford was able to take full advantage of the programs available to them through the Energize Connecticut initiative,” said Haller. “When assessing the costs and benefits of investments to facilities, equipment and construction, we encourage customers to contact their local utility at the initial stages of consideration to learn more about all of the various programs that can support their goals.”
Energize Connecticut programs are a partnership of the Energy Efficiency Fund, the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, and Connecticut electric and gas utilities and are funded by a charge on customer energy bills.