Mayor explains city’s efforts already underway regarding energy initiatives

To the editor:

Thank you to (Democratic mayoral) candidate Ellen Zoppo-Sassu for supporting the many energy initiatives the city has undertaken or are currently in progress. These ideas are part of the Mayor’s Energy Task Force Energy Plan, which is on track to be brought forward to me, the City Council, and the Board of Finance for support this fall.

As mayor, I have worked with the Public Works Director, the Energy Task Force, the council and the Board of Finance to fund and implement many energy measures. Our current facilities manager (which is a city position) is tasked with the responsibility of coordinating with the Task Force to develop and implement plans to optimize energy management and conservation measures. This structure is working well without the need to create additional staff.

Our work was rewarded with the receipt of two Bright Ideas Grants managed through the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP); the first was funded in 2015 for an LED light bulb exchange program for Bristol residents and the second $15,000 grant received this spring is being used to fund a majority of a LED lighting upgrade project at Manross Library.

Seven years ago, the city completed an energy audit of city facilities and initiated several projects on the 10-year Capital Improvement Plan. We then partnered with Connecticut’s DEEP and entered into a contract with AMERESCO for site assessments of our facilities. The project was not pursued because the state funding was cancelled, many of the measures’ payback period exceeded our anticipated savings and the Board of Education decided to implement measures only as part of normal replacement or school upgrade projects, which qualified for grant reimbursement.

Nevertheless, the city has moved forward with projects either as direct energy savings when replacing or maintaining equipment or incorporating energy saving components into larger projects. Some examples of recent initiatives are:

Street light LED Conversion: Project currently underway converting the city’s 5,535 street lights to LED. The project cost is $1,713,236; upon completion, the city will get a rebate of $532,667 and our projected annual energy savings of $220,979 per year. This project should pay back in 5.34 years.

LED Lighting Retro-Fit Upgrades/Building Management System Upgrades: Entering agreement with Efficient Lighting Consultants (ELC) for City Hall, police-court complex, main and Manross libraries to complete LED upgrade projects, which will upgrade existing fluorescent lighting fixtures to LED. Also replacing building management monitoring system for these facilities to more accurately maintain HVAC settings and reduce energy usage during off hours.

City Hall Electrical Sub-metering: installed electrical sub-meters on all floors of City Hall to monitor electrical usage and identify high consumptions areas. Also installed 60 “smart” power strips, electrical outlets and light switches with programmable settings to eliminate energy waste.

EPA Portfolio Manager Baseline: City and Board of Education staff worked with Eversource to benchmark energy usage for all city building, which allows us to program future energy conservation measures and projects that provide timely paybacks.

NOTE: As of March 2017, City has reduced its 2014 energy consumption by 10 percent. We have pledged with Clean Energy Communities (Energize CT initiative) to reduce our consumption 20% by 2018.

Boiler Replacements: Replaced old boilers with two modern gas-fired boilers with 95% efficiency at both Manross Library and Fire House #2. The city will received combined rebates of almost $10,000 from Eversource as part of their Gas Heating Equipment Rebate Program.

HVAC Replacements: Replacement of HVAC units both in the Police Dispatch Center in the Police Department and the Information Systems Server Room at City Hall with units with higher efficiency. Installed energy efficient HVAC system in administrative areas at City Yard.

Roof Replacements: replace roof systems at Fire Headquarters and Fire House No. 3 using higher-rated insulation systems to reduce heat loss and natural gas usage. Insulation installed in Youth Services Building attic to minimize heat loss and reduce oil usage.

Just by the nature of our operations, the city is aware that we are a major user of energy resources. We have water and wastewater treatment facilities that require round the clock pumping. We own 5,500 streetlights. We operate a large fleet of large vehicles and equipment, some in use 24/7, consuming substantial fuel to provide services to Bristol residents.

We have upgraded control systems, expanded use of variable frequency drives, reduced wastewater infiltration and also replaced equipment with energy efficient models at both Water and Water Pollution Control. We just received a grant and are approving a contract for route management software to optimize our solid waste and winter operations routes. Public Works has purchased an all-electric vehicle to pilot its feasibility for more departments. We continue to look at viable solar sites and fuel cell technology.

The Energy Task Force recommended and Council approved an agreement for the Solarize Connecticut Campaign last summer to provide residents with qualified contractors to install solar panels on their property.

Last fall, the city was selected by Connecticut Department of Transportation for a road safety audit aimed at improving pedestrian and bicycle traffic connectivity between Rockwell Park and Memorial Boulevard. The city has now applied for a Community Connectivity Grant Program for $300,000 to improve transportation conditions for pedestrians/bicyclists along that corridor.

The master plan for Centre Square and design of interior roadways with street scape features enhance our goal for walkability downtown.

For many years, we have coordinated the procurement of natural gas, heating fuel, gasoline and diesel between the city and Board of Education, joining into regional contracts when beneficial. Due to currently differing expiration dates, electricity will be combined into a single contract by 2021.

We have implemented many energy-efficient measures throughout the city. Looking ahead, we will continue to improve energy efficiencies and reduce consumption throughout the City when practical and fiscally responsible. We will seek out renewable energy solutions when possible and continue to promote greater interest in energy planning throughout our community.

Ken Cockayne



Cockayne is the Republican seeking reelection for the seat of mayor.