Library, School Improvements Keep Orange's Energy Future Bright

From LED lights to natural gas, Orange is embracing energy efficiency this year.


They may have been easy to overlook. But quietly and surely, 15 new energy-efficient LED lights have been doing their job outside since June, bringing light to a long-dark parking lot. They're one part of a concerted push toward energy efficiency and improved infrastructure for 2012 by the town of Orange, designed to bring big savings to the town and taxpayers. For library staff, the new lights are a welcome addition.

"We've been looking forward to getting the lights installed," says Library Director Meryl Farber. "And it took a while, but now that we have them, they've been great."

The original lighting wore out years ago, so the town of Orange hired town resident Ronald Petrillo, of R.S. Petrillo Electrical Company, to introduce lights that met current state standards for energy savings compliance.

"People love to come to the library programs at night," says Farber, "So it's important we have the best illumination. And now we do." Farber says the lights make the parking lot safer and more hospitable after sunset. 

The push toward energy efficiency comes on the heels of inquiries by Orange's Bond Formulation Committee into worthy projects to improve town infrastructure. The committee is in the midst of hearings to develop what First Selectmen Jim Zeoli calls "a large bond to address the needs of community buildings and infrastructure." The bond could address an array of projects across town and in schools, including repairs that would plug leaks in Case Memorial Library's roof.

Zeoli says he's most hopeful about the natural gas that will be pumping through Town Hall, and this winter -- and the 325,000 gallons of water currently being heated by natural gas at .

"The pool consumed about 30,000 gallons of fuel oil," says Zeoli. "We're hoping that natural gas will cut that in half. It's heated year-round whether it's summer or winter, so it's a huge consumer of energy. By switching over to natural gas, I'm hoping it will give the town some savings."

Natural gas heating is a big industry, and it's only getting bigger as schools across Connecticut and the United States transition to the cheaper, more efficient and -- some say -- greener service. Race Brook and Mary L. Tracy will join Amity High School and Woodbridge Town Hall in using natural gas heating as temperatures begin to drop in the fall. Amity School District's deal with Connecticut Gas Company , according to Woodbridge resident Dr. William Silberberg, who told First Selectman Edward Sheehy of the savings last year.

"This winter will be the first big test of natural gas," says Zeoli. "And the school projects are underway right now, so we have a lot going on."


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