Borough moves forward with system designed to save energy at NHS


By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

NAUGATUCK — The borough is moving ahead with a project designed to save energy at Naugatuck High School.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses Oct. 6 unanimously approved a plan to install a combined heat and power (CHP) system at the high school.

Four CHP units from Controlled Air Inc. of Branford will be installed in the school’s boiler room as part of the project. 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. The borough will own the units after 10 years, said Adam Burkitt, managing partner of Advanced Energy Efficiencies of Woodbridge, who has consulted borough officials on energy-saving projects over recent years.

The CHP system is projected to save $26,875 the first year the units are installed, after factoring in operational expenses, lease payments and potential energy incentives.

The units are projected to last to 15 to 20 years, according to Burkitt.

The annual net savings are projected to increase each year to $233,108 in the 20th year, which factors in paying off the lease and increases in utility charges. The cumulative savings over 20 years are estimated to be about $2.5 million.

Burgess Carl Herb expressed some apprehension about the project, referring to an incident last year when the solar panels built into Naugatuck High’s roof failed.

The panels were built into the roof when it was replaced about 10 years ago. At the time, they were considered the latest technology. The board awarded a contract for $183,540 to remove them last year.

Herb said he wants an independent person, such as a clerk of the works, to make sure the CHP system works properly.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said Advanced Energy Efficiencies is in essence the clerk of the works for the project.

“In the past, everything was done by the contractors and there was no borough representation like AEE is doing now,” Hess said.

The Board of Education in September approved the project.

“The combined heat and power plan for Naugatuck High School is a good plan that will make the school more energy efficient and save the district money,” Board of Education Chairman Jeff Litke said.

Work to install the units is expected to start before the end of the year and the project is expected to be complete by the summer of 2021, according to Gary Hale, managing partner of Advanced Energy Efficiencies.