NORWALK, Conn. -- The Norwalk Energy and Environmental Task Force kicked off a series of educational events with a forum on how homeowners can save money on their energy bills.
The task force was formed earlier this year by Mayor Harry Rilling to assess opportunities to reduce municipal and school building energy use, as well as to identify programs for residents and property owners to save money on energy costs. The forum included representatives from Connecticut Light & Power, as well as vendors who provide home energy solutions for homes. They discussed programs that homeowners can use to make their homes more energy efficient.
"We want to make sure we're cutting our carbon footprint, making Norwalk greener, but also saving money," said Diane Lauricella, a member of the task force, who led the event.
Diana McCarthy-Bercury, an administrator for Clean Energy Communities, discussed Energize Connecticut, an initiative to help residents find ways to make their homes more energy efficient. The website can connect residents with vendors who will provide home energy solutions to cut their carbon footprint and reduce wasted energy. These programs are subsidized by the "Combination Charge" that is included on residents' CL&P and UI bills.
"This service has a $99 copay, and it gives you about $1,000 worth of work done on your home in a four to six hour appointment," McCarthy-Bercury said. "What these technicians do is they come over, they evaluate the home and they do some energy saving services right here on the spot, and all you pay is $99."
Representatives from two vendors, Next Step Living and New England Smart Energy, discussed how their representatives evaluate a home and offer suggestions on how residents can reduce their energy, such as more efficient lighting, better insulation and window sealing, as well as options such as solar power and natural gas installation. Tim D'Souza of Sagewell also discussed how homeowners can go online and order thermal image reports to see where their homes are losing energy.
State Sen. Bob Duff, chair of the Connecticut Energy and Technology Committee, talked about efforts in the state government to increase energy efficiency.
"We are working on some really exciting things up in Hartford, making energy cleaner, cheaper and more reliable" Duff said. "Last year for the first time in Connecticut's history we passed a comprehensive energy strategy that did a number of things, allowed to be put into place. We're working on natural gas expansion that is going to affect about 300,000 consumers over the next 10 years."
Lauricella said this will be the first in a series of events the task force will be hosting throughout the year to educate Norwalk residents on how they can be more energy efficient.