The town has converted three of its buildings to natural gas and has plans this winter for three more before moving on to prominent structures such as Town Hall, the Fire Department and Waveny Pool, officials say.
In addition to four of five New Canaan schools, the town has converted a garage at Saxe Middle School, the Police Department and Schoolhouse Apartments, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann.
Next up are the DPW highway garage, scale house and the control building at the wastewater treatment facility, Mann told members of the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee on Buildings and Infrastructure during their regular meeting Monday.
Later this summer, the utility company is expected to run gas lines along Main Street so that Town Hall, the former Outback Teen Center building and fire station can be converted, “then we are in the works, discussing with Eversource about bringing a line into Waveny which will bring online the pool itself, the paddle hut and then Lapham Community Center,” Mann said at the meeting, held via videoconference.
“The rest of the facilities at Waveny—the distance to, say, Waveny House or the Powerhouse or the Carriage Barn—is about half a mile of piping. And would necessarily be cost-prohibitive at this point to try and bring anything up to those, based upon the size and usage, whether it be beneficial for us to bring up anything further. And the rest of the facilities we have, the Nature Center, Irwin Park, things of that nature, Kiwanis, are a little further off where the gas line is at present, Kiwanis being the closest, but again the amount of usage that is there is quite minimal for the expenditure to bring gas to those areas and convert those boilers.”
Vine Cottage also “is quite small and probably is not worthy of conversion” at this time, Mann said.
The comments came during a general update on energy-related projects.
The long-planned installation of natural gas lines through downtown New Canaan was thrown off by the COVID-19 pandemic. The town is now entering the fourth year of the Eversource-led expansion, which brought service to 30 roads in 2018 and extended an additional five miles in 2019. Another five miles had been planned for 2020 when the pandemic set in, and town officials for months have been pushing for Eversource to continue the project.
Mann said during this week’s meeting, “We are trying to maximize the amount of conversions that we have and the usage that we would get, where Eversource goes. We are actually trying to direct them to different areas—say, upper Elm Street and things of that nature. And at that point, we will look at converting the train station over if that’s feasible and worthwhile, as well.”