Borough board OKs lease for energy system at Naugatuck High


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

NAUGATUCK — The borough is one step closer to installing a combined heat and power (CHP) system at Naugatuck High School.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses Dec. 1 voted, 9-1, to enter into a lease agreement with Saulsbury Hill Financial, LLC, to pay for the project. The borough board and Board of Education previously approved installing the system.

Under the plan, four CHP units will be installed in the school’s boiler room. Each unit has a natural gas engine that spins a generator which produces electricity with a byproduct of waste heat. The units will be connected to the boilers via a heat exchanger. The units will work in the first position and the boilers will be secondary.

The system is expected to provide 45% of the school’s existing electrical consumption and 52% of its thermal consumption, according to officials.

The project is estimated to cost $990,000. Under the plan, the borough will pay it off over a 10-year lease with estimated monthly payments of $9,416 and own the system once it paid.

The units are projected to last to 15 to 20 years. The CHP system is estimated to save the borough about $2.5 million over 20 years, according to officials.

“There’s no doubt that this project is a win-win project for the borough because not only we reduce our carbon footprint but also save significant money,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

Hess expected to sign the lease after a final review by Borough Attorney Ned Fitzpatrick.

Adam Burkitt, managing partner of Advanced Energy Efficiencies of Woodbridge, said the system will be installed starting in January and take seven to nine months. Borough and Eversource Energy officials will assess the system while it’s installed to verify it’s done so properly, he said.

The project’s installation wouldn’t interfere with heating, power or any other school operations, Burkitt said. The CHP would be operational by the beginning of the next school year, he added.

Burgess Carl Herb voted against approving the lease. He raised concerns during the board meeting that the CHP project will leave a carbon footprint and he wants to see the borough move in a more environmental friendly direction. He expressed support for solar power.

Burkitt said the natural gas engines provide relief to the electric grid and focus on carbon neutrality.

“Solar is a passive generator where a combined heat and power system actually fluctuates and is a variable engine motor that actually goes up and down with the demand that is being pulled from the grid to actually offset higher costs of electricity,” Burkitt said during the meeting.