Middlefield officials pledged to attempt to reduce the town’s municipal building energy consumption by at least 20 percent by 2018 and to purchase 20 percent of the town’s energy needs from clean, renewable energy sources by the same year.
The pledge, endorsed by Middlefield’s Board of Selectmen at its March 18 meeting, is part of the Clean Energy Communities program and makes the town eligible for funds called Bright Idea Grants.
“You’re either part of the cure or you’re part of the problem,” said First Selectman Jon Brayshaw before signing the pledge on behalf of the town.
Representatives from the joint Durham-Middlefield Clean Energy and Sustainability Task Force encouraged the town to take the pledge.
Former Middlefield resident Pat Bandzes attended the meeting and supported the program as a community relations specialist for Connecticut Light & Power.
By taking conservation efforts, Middlefield will earn points and those points can be used to earn Bright Idea Grants. According to representatives of the Clean Energy Task Force, Middlefield’s recent efforts could be applied to the program, making Middlefield already eligible for a $5,000 grant.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Selectman Ed Bailey.
“The voluntary nature of it doesn’t commit us to anything.” In addition to being voluntary, the pledge is non-binding.
“There is no penalty if the Town of Middlefield fails to meet the reduction amounts set forth in the schedule,” reads part of the two page pledge.
The program is administered in part by energy companies Connecticut Light & Power, United Illuminated, Yankee Gas, and others as the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority and the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund.
Brayshaw noted that Middlefield had been a leader in conservation efforts in the past and described the energy-efficient heating and cooling system working in Middlefield’s community center.
Tangentially, Brayshaw raised the idea that 20 acres of a town-owned 50 acre parcel on Hubbard Street would make good site for a solar farm.
Homeowners also could become part of the program. Middlefield homeowners who put their home through an energy audit earn points for the town.
Publicity for the program will be handled by both the selectmen and the task force.
Durham already participates in the program and has earned a $5,000 grant.
The funds earned through the program must be spent on conservation efforts, including education.
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