BERLIN — An energy audit shows that the town could benefit from $9 million in energy efficiency improvements, including the installation of solar arrays, and could use savings from utility bills to pay for them.
The proposal, backed by the town council Oct. 20, will be reviewed at a public hearing Dec. 1. at 6:55 p.m. Council member David Evans abstained from the vote because the proposal involves some assistance from his employer, Eversource Energy. The Berlin school board has also approved the project.
The audit was done by NORESCO, a Westborough, Mass., energy conservation company that inspected town and school buildings this summer and determined that certain improvements would trim enough energy costs to pay for the $9 million in improvements.
Mayor Rachel Rochette stressed that the plan will not cost taxpayers any additional money because the improvements will be covered by reduced energy costs.
The upgrades include weatherization; new, more efficient boilers; cooling equipment; lighting and ventilation; and new streetlights and solar panels.
The public hearing will give residents a chance to discuss the proposed contract. It calls for a 20-year lease arrangement for equipment, for a total cost not to exceed the $9 million in energy savings that NORESCO guarantees to deliver.
NORESCO is part of Connecticut-based United Technologies and is involved with energy-savings projects with the state and several municipalities, including Southington. The state contract is for a $30 million renovation of energy systems at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown.