Journalism / New Haven Register

Town makes saving energy a priority
By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Aug. 6, 2008

GUILFORD — Energy efficiency will play a greater role in town officials’ decisions in the future, according to a policy the Board of Selectmen approved Monday.

The policy, which passed unanimously, directs all town agencies and departments “to include in their planning and operational processes measures which can: conserve energy, increase efficiency and economy of energy resources, pursue utilization of renewable and clean energy resources and maximize the opportunity to secure external funding in pursuit of these objectives.”

The new directive arose out of conversations with the Standing Building Committee and Energy Committee, First Selectman Carl Balestracci said Tuesday.

Members of the Standing Building Committee, which oversees town building projects, wanted to clarify the importance of considering energy-efficient designs.

“Their authority is just to review the projects that have been proposed to them by different boards, but they thought it was a good idea … that they begin to look at the possibility of renewable energy,” Balestracci said.

He added that the Energy Committee drew up the resolution for the selectmen’s consideration.

“It’s a policy statement from the Board of Selectmen, but it gives direction and authority to the Standing Building Committee and to all boards and commissions that they consider these things as they begin to plan for future projects,” he said.

Under the new policy, energy conservation should now be a topic of discussion for all projects and “long-term cost/benefit considerations shall be considered over short-term budgetary goals in municipal decision-making.”

Selectman Salvatore Catardi said at Monday’s meeting that he thinks the policy will serve as a good guideline for town officials.

“We’ve always had difficulty in our budget process when it comes down to what it costs us for energy,” Catardi said. “I think it’s a good idea to alert people to start thinking about this.”

But Catardi noted that the policy does not bind departments or commissions to take a certain course of action in building projects.

Energy Committee member Sid Gale said at the meeting that the goal of the policy is to allow agencies to consider the upfront costs that renewable sources of energy sometimes require.

“If we continue to hold these opportunities hostage to short-term budgetary needs, we will never take the capital investment steps necessary to pursue these goals,” Gale said.

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