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March, 2018

Solar Power Providing Wilton Schools with Electric Energy

Another Huge Success!

Installation Program Successfully Underway






May 18th, 2016

Solarize Wilton a Huge Success!


Program Successfully concluded on May 18th, 2016
Wilton participated  in a cutting-edge solar program, first introduced to Wilton residents on January 12th in the Brubeck Room at the Wilton Public Library and reiterated in a number of subsequent events,  that made going solar easy and affordable.   Solarize Wilton was part of Solarize Connecticut -- a ground breaking residential solar program spearheaded by Connecticut’s Green Bank through a partnership with SmartPower.  Solarize Connecticut has helped thousands of residents save money on energy bills through solar.  Over 300 people attended education workshops and 32 homeowners took advantage of the Solarize program.  Once these new  systems Once theses new systems are installed, Wilton will have close to 70 solar systems providing electric energy to Wilton residents.  The additional 32 installations are equivalent to oil reduction of 25,000 gallons per year and a reduction in CO2 emissions of 210 tons per year.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

May 1st, 2016

Wilton Energy Commission at the Wilton Goes Green Festival

On May 1st, the WEC was prominently present at the Wilton Goes Green festival. Although the weather did not cooperate that day, it did not dampen the spirit and enthusiasm of the visitors and exhibitors.  Good cheer was provided by "Silk'n Sounds" , a cappella group from Hamden, CT.

Wilton Energy Commission (Debra, Richard, Christina and Patrice) surrounded by Silk'n Sounds a cappella group


"Wilton Energy Commission (Debra Thompson-Van, Richard Creeth, Christina Lampe-Onnerud, and Patrice Gillespie) surrounded by Silk'n Sounds"




                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

January 1st, 2016

Solarize Wilton

The Town of Wilton has been selected to be part of a special State-Town sponsored program called Solarize Connecticut.

Starting Tuesday,  January 12th , Solarize Wilton will offer a discounted solar group-purchasing program through the Ross Solar Group (Danbury, CT), Wilton's  preselected solar installer, to all Wilton residents.

To learn more about going solar, please attend the Solarize launch workshop at Wilton Library.  You will be able sign up for a free, no-obligation solar site assessment to find out if your home is good for solar by going to www.SolarizeCT.com/Wilton.

This Green Speaker talk is co-sponsored by the Wilton Energy Commission,  Wilton Go Green, Wilton Energy Conservation Commission and Wilton Library. No charge. Registration recommended.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Appraising Soar Energy's Value’

Solar Panels and Home Values

By Lisa Prevost - NY Times
February 20, 2015

New research sponsored by the Department of Energy shows that buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar panels — a finding that may strengthen the case for factoring the value of sustainable features into home appraisals.

The study, conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, examined sales data for almost 23,000 homes in eight states from 2002 to 2013. About 4,000 of the homes had solar photovoltaic systems, all of them owned (as opposed to being financed through a lease with the solar company).

Researchers found that buyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with the average-size solar photovoltaic system (3.6 kilowatts, or 3,600 watts), compared with a similar home without one. Put another way, that translates to about four additional dollars per watt of solar power........

Read more about it ->  Link to NYT article


                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

White House Announcement Means ‘Today Is a Very Big Day for PACE’

By Eric Wesoff - GreenTech Media
August 24, 2015

An improved PACE program is just one of many energy initiatives announced by Obama today in Las Vegas.

Some barriers to popularizing the property-assessed clean energy (PACE) program across the U.S. were cleared today with an announcement made by President Obama at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada.

PACE loan programs let homeowners finance energy-efficiency upgrades, such as adding insulation and water savings measures or installing energy-efficient windows or solar panels, to be paid back as a line item on the homeowner's property tax bill. This lowers the risk for lenders and owners and can potentially build a much larger energy-efficiency market.

But PACE obligations enjoy first-lien status in most states, making municipalities first in line to be repaid -- ahead of the mortgage agencies, in case of default -- and mortgage agencies don't like that. 

So today, the White House and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) established a new PACE guidance aiming to “remove existing barriers and accelerate the use of PACE financing for single-family housing.” (The FHA guidance letter can be found here.)

According to the California Association of Realtors, the FHA guidance will require PACE liens to be subordinate to FHA single-family first-mortgage financing,

As Cisco DeVries, CEO of Renew Financial, notes in a release, "The FHA, which insures over 20 percent of new mortgage originations in the United States, outlined a set of principles associated with their new guidance -- including allowing PACE financing to transfer between owners during the sale of the home if the PACE lien can be subordinated during a foreclosure."

In a statement from today, Ed Golding, head of the FHA, wrote, “PACE allows homeowners to benefit from the improvements immediately and spread the cost over time. When the property is sold, the PACE loan may transfer to the next owner, who is responsible for repaying the loan. The ability to transfer the loan to the new owner allows for both the payment and the value of the retrofit to be transferred from one owner to the next.”

California completed about $500 million in residential PACE projects for approximately 25,000 homes in 2014, according to PACENow, a nonprofit that promotes the PACE model. The commercial market has closed about $100 million in completed projects, with another $400 million in the pipeline. The approximately $600 million in completed projects is up from about $60 million in 2013.

DeVries spoke of work going on in Washington, D.C. and California over the last six months on residential PACE by regulators "with compromises by everyone and changes on how residential PACE is handled." The California state treasurer’s office launched a $10 million PACE Loss Reserve Program, which the California Senate required to mitigate the risk to mortgage lenders for losses related to PACE liens in foreclosure situations. He said that "homeowners and contractors are happy" and the "data is very strong that this is working well."

DeVries said the market was seeing less "regulatory uncertainty" with a clear method of "protecting mortgage holders."

Tom Kimbis of the Solar Energy Industries Association noted, "The FHA has 5 million mortgages in its portfolio, but investors have been hesitant because of mixed signals and interaction between local and federal governments. The key is bringing more certainty to the FHA marketplace." Kimbis said the new changes would allow access to previously untapped markets with much greater certainty.

J.P. McNeill, CEO of Renovate America, operator of the HERO Program and a PACE provider "with more than 40,000 funded projects in California in more than 35,000 homes," noted in a release, "We are pleased the White House and FHA recognize PACE...and enshrine in federal policy today a core principle of the program: ‘When the property is sold, the remaining PACE loan stays with the more energy-efficient property and the next owner is responsible for repaying the loan.’  As the policy guidance points out, PACE enables homeowners to benefit from the improvements immediately, spread the cost over time, and transfer the value of the retrofit from one owner to the next.

PACE legislation has been passed by 31 states, and nearly $1 billion in projects has been financed using PACE, despite opposition from mortgage holders. "There have been many thousands of projects completed since 2008. And there's no evidence that PACE has caused defaults," said DeVries.

"Today is a very big day for PACE," said DeVries, adding, "The concept is ready to go national." 

Stacey Lawson, the CEO of Ygrene Energy Fund, a PACE administrator, concurred, "PACE is now at the forefront of national energy efficiency policy."  Illustrating the uptake of PACE, Ygrene is announcing more than 90 new cities and counties across California that have adopted its PACE model.

Today's PACE announcement was just a small part of a long list of White House initiatives addressing energy issues unveiled today at the Las Vegas energy event. The list includes:

  • Making $1 billion in additional loan guarantee authority available with new guidelines for distributed energy projects utilizing innovative technology
  • Launching a new HUD and DOE program to provide homeowners with a simple way to measure and improve the energy efficiency of their homes
  • Creating a DOD Privatized Housing Solar Challenge, and announcing companies that are committing to provide solar power to housing on over 40 military bases across the U.S.
  • Announcing $24 million for 11 projects in seven states to develop solar technologies that double the amount of energy each PV panel can produce
  • Approving a transmission line that will support bringing on-line a 485-megawatt photovoltaic facility that will be constructed in Riverside County 
  • Achieving an economy-wide target to reduce emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025
  • Installing 300 megawatts of renewable energy across federally subsidized housing by 2020
  • Increasing the share of renewables (beyond hydropower) in their respective electricity generation mixes to the level of 20 percent by 2030
  • Doubling energy productivity by 2030

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

WATTS Up in Your Community:  Making a Bigger Difference By Working Together


By Enoch Lenge, Energy Efficiency Spokesman - Eversource
Blog - August 17th, 2015

It’s great to be energy efficient and eco-friendly in our individual homes and businesses, but what about as a community? Believe it or not, even the smallest neighborhood can benefit from banding together and committing to energy- and cost-saving initiatives. 

These improvements can make a major difference for homes and communities such as:

  • reducing waste and improving the environment
  • improving housing conditions, especially in urban areas
  • contributing to community regeneration and support
  • helping tackle climate change for a more sustainable future

So let’s take a look at a program we support at Eversource that’s making a big difference for neighborhoods and businesses around the state. 

With the help of Energize CT and the nationally-recognized Clean Energy Communities program (CEC), 144 of the 169 Connecticut cities and towns have joined the movement towards greater energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. When municipalities take the CEC pledge, their communities reduce energy waste, save money and improve the environment. Here are a few examples of communities that are already benefiting from the program.

Waterbury and Light Bulb Exchange event: More than 700 residents exchanged 5 incandescent and/or CFLs for LEDs, making this the largest turnout in the light bulb exchange program to date.  This means that each participating resident will see approximately $50 per year in energy savings thanks to the new bulbs, which now have a lifespan of about 23 years!

Bloomfield and CEC pledge: This town has a whopping 26% participation rate in the CEC program, which means that 1 out of every 4 homes have received home energy assessments and are now running more efficiently.  This translates to a more comfortable home for families year-round and saving a couple hundred dollars annually on energy costs. 

Mansfield businesses: One out of every 3 Mansfield businesses has gone through a business energy efficiency project through the CEC program. As a result, they’re now saving more of their earnings by spending less due to energy inefficiencies.

Another initiative, the ‘Bright Idea Grant,’ helps municipalities earn points from residential and business participation in state Energy Efficiency Fund programs. This includes programs such as Home Energy Solutions, Small Business Energy Advantage or Retro Commissioning. Bright Idea Grants can range from $5,000 to $15,000 and can be used towards a community-selected energy-saving project. 

Projects funded through the CEC program can include ventilation system upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, insulation upgrades and other energy management systems.

If you’re interested in helping make your community more energy efficient, Energize CT has ways to help you take action.  Visit here or call 1-877-WISE-USE.  To find out if your town/city already participates in the CEC program and how you can help support their efforts, visit the Conn. Clean Energy Communities Dashboard.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Connecticut Demonstrates Reducing Carbon Pollution Can Be Achieved While Creating Jobs and Building Clean Energy Economy of the Future


Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
Press Release - August 3rd, 2015

Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Attorney General George Jepsen, and Commissioner Robert Klee of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection released the following statements regarding the release today of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which will regulate carbon pollution from existing electric power plants.
 
The EPA was required to issue this rule under the Clean Air Act and as a result of the 2006 decision by the United States Supreme Court in Massachusetts et al v. Environmental Protection Agency in which twelve states, including Connecticut, and several cities, brought suit against the EPA to force that federal agency to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants.
 
Governor Malloy said, “This is about our future. The action we take now will endure for generations to come.  I commend President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for their ongoing commitment to address climate change and for the Clean Power Plan released today.  In Connecticut, we have already implemented a forward-thinking vision, reducing carbon pollution by more than 10 percent from 1990 levels.  The air we breathe is cleaner that it has been in decades as we build an advanced energy economy that delivers good-paying jobs.  And we’re continuing to move forward with an aggressive, ambitious goal in to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent below 2001 levels by 2050.  We’re becoming a national leader on these issues because the steps we take today will build a better Connecticut tomorrow.”
 
Attorney General Jepsen said, “While my office is still reviewing the plan, I applaud President Obama and the EPA for honoring their pledge to reduce carbon emissions over the next several years.  The State of Connecticut has consistently demonstrated a commitment to clean air, reduced emissions and the development of alternative energy sources, and this plan will play an essential role in continued efforts to protect our environment and public health, safety, and welfare.
 
“It is appropriate and critical that the EPA exercise its legal authority and satisfy its obligation to regulate.  Such regulation will complement the contributions of the existing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in promoting improved air quality and reducing health risks to our residents.
 
“The new rules set reasonable limits on emissions of climate change pollution from new and existing power plants and are firmly grounded in law.  My office stands ready to support and assist the EPA throughout the implementation of the plan, including in any legal challenges that may be filed in the courts.”
 
Commissioner Klee said, “At DEEP, we are launching a detailed review of EPA’s final Clean Power Plan to develop the compliance plan that will be required of all states.  From what we know about the plan so far, we are pleased to hear that the rule not only maintains but improves the stringency of carbon reduction targets, and that it incorporates opportunities for more cost-effective reductions, especially in states that have not yet taken significant action to reduce their carbon footprint.  I am confident we can comply with it in a manner that protects ratepayers and continues to build our economy for a sustainable and prosperous future.
 
“Connecticut’s progress to date is the result of several initiatives. Our participation with eight other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) serves as a flexible, market-based solution other states should be able to replicate or adopt under the EPA rule to cut carbon emissions from power plants in a cost-effective way.  As a result of the RGGI program, carbon emissions from power plants in Connecticut have declined 34 percent from 1990 to 2012, $137 million has been generated for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, and new jobs have been added to our economy.
 
“Our state has also taken strong steps to reduce the demand for power from conventional fuels – another path the EPA rule suggests – by focusing on energy efficiency and deployment of renewable energy projects.   We have doubled funding for popular and cost effective energy savings programs – and the lifetime energy savings achieved from projects funded in 2014 alone will avoid carbon emissions of more than 3.2 million tons.  In addition, we have increased by ten-fold the in-state generation of power from renewable sources, entered into the cost-saving grid-scale renewable procurement contracts, expanded the state’s infrastructure to support electric vehicles, and joined with other states to encourage consumers to switch to zero-emission vehicles.”
 



                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Middlebrook and WHS Join CT Green LEAF Sustainable Energy Program

By Heather Bordon Herve - GMW Editor
Posted on March 16th, 2015

Wilton has another environmentally forward program to brag about in its quest to be Fairfield’s greenest town. Middlebrook and Wilton High School have joined the Connecticut Green LEAF Schools program, Wilton Go Green announced this week.

As the 73rd and 74th schools in CT to join the program, Middlebrook and WHS are the first of the Wilton schools to take part program, and one of the first public schools in the state to join as well.

“This program is an acknowledgment of all our staff has done to promote sustainability in our schools,” says school superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith, adding, “It marks the beginning of an exciting new coordinated focus that will build on what’s been accomplished.”

What’s just as special is the person who has been instrumental in driving Wilton’s participation in Green LEAF:  Wilton High School junior Alex Scaperotta, who even at his young age, is already making his mark as the youngest board member of Wilton Go Green.

Scaperotta’s environmental activism started early, when he founded Wilton’s “Little People, Big Changes” when he was in 3rd grade. Then, he launched a “no idling” campaign in town. Even more, he was active in getting Wilton residents signed up for energy audits, which helped the town earn funding for the installation of solar panels at Wilton High School in 2012.

“Wilton Go Green was the [logical] next step for me. Hopefully I can get more students involved,” he says.

The Connecticut Green LEAF statewide program is run by the Institute of Sustainable Energy (ISE) at Eastern Connecticut State University. It helps schools to grow greener and focuses on “Leading, Educating, Achieving, and Fostering healthy, green schools for all, by providing resources for educators, administrators, building officials, and students in CT K-12 schools, colleges, and universities interested in taking a comprehensive sustainability approach.

There are three goals to the program including:  providing effective environmental and sustainability education; improving the health and wellness of students and staff; and reducing environmental impact and cost. The program celebrates and recognizes those schools making progress toward sustainability with its Connecticut Green LEAF awards. It also supports the nomination of selected schools to the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon School award.

The effort for Wilton schools to join this program has been spearheaded by faculty, staff, administrators and students within the schools who for many years have been implementing a variety of “green” programs quietly and independently. By joining Green LEAF, “these efforts now have an umbrella” Scaperotta says. “By coordinating them and drawing on the resources and learnings of other Green LEAF schools, these efforts will become part of a greater plan to help make our schools and community even more sustainable.”

The first step is to form a “green team” at each school, made up of teachers, administrators, students and community members to take a self-assessment, figuring out where the school has taken energy sustainable steps and identify where they can improve.

Alex mentioned some things that WHS has in place that are considered environmental positives, including the solar panels, no-flush urinals, water fountains that allow bottle refills, and the high school’s organic garden. Middlebrook has pushed for integration of sustainable curriculum, especially in Family and Consumer Science, on topics of organic gardening and composting.

“There are great champions already in the schools who have been working on this, so this gives them a lot of support and structure to make these things happen,” explains Eve Silverman, Alex’s mom and his partner on the WGG board.

The two are hopeful that Cider Mill and Miller-Driscoll will also become part of the Green LEAF program, and they say it’s gratifying to have the support from school administrators, starting with the superintendent. They say the students are very involved and have taken the lead at the two upper schools and they’re hoping it will filter down to the younger kids–potentially involving high school students acting as mentors on the green teams there.

“We’ve got our sights on Cider-Mill next. I talked with Dr. Smith and he was really supportive,” Alex says.

“The town is really great too,” adds Eve. “Alex presented to the energy commission and they are working on initiatives that will feed right into the program, including energy benchmarking, which will relieve the schools of having to do it. Alex’s job is to maintain communication between the schools and the town. We want to make sure we’re not duplicating each other.”

Alex and Eve will act on behalf of Wilton Go Green to serve as a Green LEAF “hub,” linking the schools’ efforts with each other, as well as to resources available through the Green LEAF program, town government, and the community.

Any individuals interested in volunteering on the WHS green team can contact Alex via email; the contact for Middlebrook is Janet Nobles, a teacher at the school.




                                                                                                                                                                                                                    





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