New Canaan Conservation Officials Push for Town Commitment to Clean, Renewable Energy


Conservation officials are recommending that New Canaan commit itself to clean, renewable energy through a state program that could see the town qualify for grant money toward new systems.

Wilton already is a “Clean Energy Community” and most every town in lower Fairfield County (except New Canaan and Darien) have taken what’s called the “Clean Energy Communities Municipal Pledge”—a contract-free statement with no financial obligations to save energy in municipal buildings and voluntarily purchase renewable energy. (The program is overseen by Energize Connecticut, an effort backed by the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority, state, and local electric and gas utilities.)

The New Canaan Conservation Commission at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Selectmen authorize First Selectman Rob Mallozzi to sign the pledge.

“I want to note that New Canaan had 94 points as of April and once you hit 100—and we may already have done that—that’s $10,000 toward an energy efficiency project,” Commissioner Mark Robbins said during the meeting, held in part inside the Lapham Community Center’s art room.

Commission Chair Cam Hutchins said that if just six additional New Canaan residents had undergone energy audits since April, the town likely would qualify for the $10,000 in Bright Idea Grants. Robbins said that the funds could go toward projects such as electric vehicle charging, fuel conversion and solar insulation.

“It would clear the path to getting comfortable with this concept of endorsing energy initiatives,” Robbins said.

The pledge itself is an approximately 2-page document that says a town will work toward reducing its municipal building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2018. It includes no financial commitments and isn’t a contract, but rather a statement of purpose or intent.

The commission during its meeting formally thanked Robbins for his service to the group. The moderator of a recent, well-attended League of Women Voters forum on natural gas in New Canaan, as well as a former candidate for the state legislature, Robbins announced during the meeting that he intends to step down.

“I would like to stay involved in an advisory or strategic level with the town and hopefully in a capacity that could liaise with some of the other commissions and initiatives, namely the Utilities Commission and [an energy] task force that I believe [Selectman] Beth Jones is pulling together,” he said.

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