Wilton High School converts to natural gas

As part of the town’s natural gas expansion project with Eversource — formerly Yankee Gas, Wilton High School has converted from oil to natural gas with the installation of three natural gas boilers.

Custodial and Maintenance Services Supervisor John Murphy said energy cost savings, lower emissions and cleaner operations were the reasons behind the school district-supported town decision to convert the school’s energy source.

“A year or two ago, the Wilton Energy Commission estimated that we would save in excess of $160,000 per year at the high school by converting from oil to gas,” said Financial Director Ken Post.

However, Mr. Post said, oil prices were higher at the time the energy commission made this estimate, so he is “not sure how accurate that number is now.”

In December, George Ellis Co. began converting the Cleaver Brooks boilers at the high school.

The lead boiler, which Mr. Murphy said will “handle most of the load for the building,” was completed in late January and the remaining two were finished this week.

All three boilers can be found under the library in the southeast corner by the central office.

Mr. Murphy said Mark Esposito, the district HVAC technician, was directly involved in helping coordinate the work and overseeing the project’s completion.

Although there was somewhat of a scheduling challenge, involving “a lot of steps involved between the gas company and the contractors doing the work,” said Mr. Murphy, it was a “fairly straight-forward project once we had the approval to move forward.”

“I believe the high school is the first town building to convert to gas as part of the [natural gas] expansion,” said Mr. Murphy, “and we are currently proceeding with the conversion of Cider Mill and Middlebrook” as well.

Mr. Murphy said Cider Mill and Middlebrook conversions will take place next summer.

Mr. Murphy said the town also plans to  extend the gas up to Miller-Driscoll, “allowing us to replace the equipment there with gas-fired equipment as part of the building renovation.”