In the News | Three Rivers sees savings, brighter campus in lighting upgrade project

Norwich, Connecticut (The Day, January 15, 2019) — Winter days and nights are brighter at Three Rivers Community College, and the college budget is a bit healthier these days, with the fall completion of a $271,480 efficiency lighting upgrade expected to save more than $55,000 per year in energy costs.

Three Rivers received $95,018 rebate check.

Operations Manager of Norwich Public Utilities Chris LaRose presents President Mary Ellen Jukoski of Three Rivers Community College with the $95,018 rebate check. From left to right: Mark Filiatreault, Three Rivers; Paul Russell, JK Energy Solutions; Simon Matthews, JK Energy Solutions; Arnie DeLaRosa, Three Rivers; President Mary Ellen Jukoski, Three Rivers; Dean Robert Farinelli, Three Rivers; Operations Manager Chris LaRose, Norwich Public Utilities; Interim Dean Steve Finton, Three Rivers; Fawn Walker, Norwich Public Utilities; and Zach Styger, Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University.

As an added bonus, the college on Tuesday received a rebate check for $95,018 from Norwich Public Utilities – 35 percent of the total project cost – through the utility’s energy efficiency program. Officials estimated Tuesday that the annual savings would amount to 14 full tuitions per year.

“It will help with our budget,” Three Rivers President Mary Ellen Jukoski said, “with reduced state funding.” She added that she has no word of the proposed 2019-20 college budget, which will be part of Gov. Ned Lamont’s Feb. 6 budget announcement.

The financial boost was only part of the benefit, Jukoski said. Anyone working evenings at the college during the dark winter evenings or attending evening classes when the spring semester begins Jan. 24 will notice the difference immediately, she said.

“Walk through the building,” she said. “You’ll notice its very much brighter. We really appreciate that. It’s helpful to our eyes.”

Three Rivers and NPU officials started planning the project in the fall of 2016 and the lighting was completed this past fall. The partnership included working with the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University. Eight students working for the institute, including Zach Stygar of Windham and Torin Radicioni of Oakdale, both of whom attended Tuesday’s press conference celebrating completion of the project.

The two students said they went through the entire school and accounted for all 8,500 lights and fixtures slated for replacement with high efficiency alternatives. Fawn Walker, manager of key and commercial accounts for NPU, said by comparison, the college has more lights and fixtures than the city of Norwich has streetlights. NPU recently completed the installation of LED streetlights across the city.

Construction started in May of 2018 with selected contractor Energy Resources Services, installation was completed by the end of September and all inspections and audits done by Dec. 10. NPU officials showed that Three Rivers reduced its electric consumption by 182 kilowatts per year, the equivalent of removing 3,033 inefficient incandescent bulbs from the NPU system.

The next step will be installing lighting controls, such as motion sensors and dimmers for times when rooms or hallways are not in use, said Jeff Brining, NPU division manager of customer service.

The energy efficiency partnership started with a 2016 project to replace six old boilers with six much smaller natural gas boilers.

“We took something the size of a 15-passenger van down to the size of a compact car,” Brining said. That project also included replacement of external lighting on campus.

Three Rivers received a rebate of $54,000 for the six new gas boilers and $20,472 for the new LED external lights. A demonstration solar panel also was installed behind the campus utilities building as an educational tool to show students how solar energy is generated. One panel is not enough to really save on energy usage, Brining said, but it does give Three Rivers students hands on experience with the technology.

Jukoski said she would like to explore installing an array of solar panels on the campus in the future.

Before Tuesday’s gathering broke up, Three Rivers Director of Facilities Arnie DeLarosa already was planning for the next potential partnership with NPU.

“Is there money in water heaters?” DeLarosa asked.

“Some,” Brining responded.


By Claire Bessette, Day staff writer

The original article can be found here: ‘Three Rives sees savings, brighter campus in lighting upgrade project’


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