One of five businesses in town participates in clean energy
One in five businesses in Wilton, or exactly 19%, has participated in the Clean Energy Communities Program that the town has successfully completed.
The program began in 2013 with a pledge by the Board of Selectmen to make Wilton a Clean Energy Community. The town received $30,000 in award grant money to help accomplish the goal, including $10,000 awarded this year.
The program has succeeded, achieving its 20% energy reduction objective, according to Debra Thompson-Van, chair of the town’s energy commission, who gave a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on March 5.
Thompson-Van said the town secured 20% of its energy from renewable sources, with 26% of residents participating, putting Wilton in the top 10% of towns in the program.
There were townwide campaigns for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and partnerships between the Wilton Energy Commission, Wilton Go Green and the town of Wilton.
Overall, Connecticut towns avoided 954,478 in statewide CO2 emissions, saved 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, saved 25.27 million CCFs (hundred cubic feet) of natural gas, and installed 388,335 kilowatts of renewable energy capacity, Thompson-Van reported in her presentation.
Businesses in town participated by signing on for various energy reduction and rebate programs. Also, in 2015, a large commercial property assessment program was offered to target commercial building owners and property managers.
For its efforts, the town received the Gold Star award.
“The Connecticut Clean Energy Program was a grassroots, town-by-town commitment to reduce the amount of energy consumed and accelerate the adoption of renewable energy,” Thompson-Van said after the meeting.
The benefits of the program resulted in direct reductions of CO2 emissions and reduced electric and gas/oil consumption. These energy upgrades benefit the entire town by reducing the energy needed for schools, homes and businesses, she said.
The Wilton Energy Commission leveraged state, federal and Eversource programs to make the financial elements of these infrastructure upgrades give a better return on investment.
“As a result, the town of Wilton is doing its part to make make the environment more sustainable,” she said.
The general regard of local businesses for the community is to be commended, said Debra Hanson, executive director of the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a close-knit community, one where I think our businesses do everything they can to support the community. It’s evident in the events we do, like the street fair and the holiday stroll, they offer candy treats and just want to be a part of the community and do the best they can for this town,” Hanson said.
The energy efforts don’t stop there, though. Hanson said the Chamber will soon co-sponsor a seminar with Wilton Go Green to help businesses go even more green.
“Local businesses are committed to helping this town do the best in every way,” she said.