SOUTHINGTON — The Town Council unanimously approved a $13 million energy efficiency plan Monday that councilors say will be paid for by energy savings over the next 14 years.
The council’s six Republicans councilors approved the contract with Noresco and a loan from Bank of America. All three Democratic councilors were absent. Noresco will oversee the plan.
Work will be done at municipal and Board of Education buildings as well as on streetlights, which will be changed to LED lights. Projects range from added insulation and weather stripping to replacing heating and cooling systems at the high school.
Town Manager Garry Brumback said overall the projects pay for themselves in less than 15 years. Some of the individual projects have shorter timeframes while others, such as the heating and cooling system replacements, will take as long as 60 years to recoup costs.
John Kauppinen, Noresco senior account executive, said the energy cost savings are guaranteed. At first, those savings pay for the cost of the upgrades but after payoff they reduce the town’s utility bills.
“After the contract you reap the financial benefits of the continued savings,” Kauppinen said.
Councilor Stephanie Urillo questioned whether more efficient technologies might reduce the payback time of the some of the work.
Brumback said that projects that are quickly paid off help generate savings that will fund more expensive improvements.
“All put together, some of the shorter-term paybacks help pay for some of the longer-term paybacks,” he said.
Assistant Town Engineer Annette Turnquist said work is scheduled to begin this summer. Improvements to schools will be completed during summer break.
“We’ll have a few things going on simultaneously,” she said.
Work will likely be completed next spring, according to Kauppinen.
“We are taking energy conservation very, very seriously in town,” said Council Chairman Michael Riccio.
The town received a 2.9 percent loan from Bank of America for the improvements.