Energy Committee Brings Positive Change to Clinton

The Clinton Energy Committee brings renewable energy to the town, saving the earth and money

Tessa Gebauer, Editor/Writer

If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, global temperatures will also continue to increase. Climate change and energy consumption are linked together, with fossil fuels being the largest energy sources. Harmful gasses are released when fossil fuels are burned (coal, gas, oil), warming up the earth. The effects of climate change won’t affect the world evenly. Connecticut is having an increase of humidity, precipitation, and temperatures. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the overall temperature in Connecticut has increased by 2.5℉ according to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. This climate increases the humidity and precipitation in the winter and early spring, and short-term droughts in the summer, stressing forests and agriculture.  

Solar energy cost and data analysis provide information about technology costs and the detailed cost of energy. Information about location-specific advantages and impacts on funding are also included. Better understanding of environmental impacts reduces indirect costs with energy usage. The statistics of the amount of solar power used help incorporate solar power with energy.  With this information, people know how much money is being saved when using renewable energy. 

With First Selectman Willie Fritz’s approval, the Clinton Energy Committee (CEC) was formed and immediately got to work. Their mission is to assist residents, government departments, and businesses to reduce energy consumption. This means using renewable energy sources and reducing energy usage. Paul Gebauer, chairman of the CEC says, “If we can’t hand over a halfway decent planet to our kids, we’re doing something wrong here. I’m just trying to do my part.” 

Solar panels being put on Eliot
The Energy Committee has worked to put solar panels on Eliot, Joel, and other public buildings. This saves the town over $15,000 a year. (Paul Gebauer)

The Energy Committee took action immediately. Within a year of starting the Clinton Energy Committee, solar panels were put on Joel, Eliot, and other public buildings. The CEC originally projected that the town would save around $15,000 a year due to the solar panels on the schools, but with the increase of electric rates, the savings is even more each year. The Home Energy Solution (HES) is an energy evaluation, and it shows how homeowners can reduce their energy consumption. Energy efficient LED light bulbs were put in place instead of incandescent ones. Windows were checked for drafts and caulked. These updates along with other energy measures helped homeowners save an average of $300 a year. Over 400 homeowners participated, and with every HES completed, $50 was donated to Families Helping Families. 

The Clinton Energy Committee
Energy Committee Partners with Eversource Donating $1,850 to Families Helping Families at the Lions Breakfast (Aidan Moran)

Local businesses also participated in a similar program. Energy efficiency diagnoses were performed on local businesses in Clinton, interest-free loans were available for the business to address energy concerns. For example, Campbell’s Gymnastics was very glad to see its energy consumption reduced by 60%. For every business diagnosis completed, $100 was donated to Families Helping Families. 

The Energy Committee hosted a meeting among local Energy Committees, with representatives from Essex, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Branford. They discussed ideas and initiatives, and the successes of the Clinton Energy Committee. Paul Gebauer, chairman of the Committee said, “I encourage people to find out what your passion is. A board, committee, or commission, and you’ll meet so many great people.”