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Town Energy Efficiency Coordinator Makes Great Strides For Taxpayers

The Town‘s efforts to hire an Energy Services Coordinator in 2017 is beginning to pay dividends for Hamden’s taxpayers.

Kathleen Schomaker, Hamden’s Energy Efficiency Coordinator began her part time position earlier this year as part of the Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization Department. “Adding Kath’s expertise was a critical move to help to continue providing valuable services to both residents and small businesses”, noted Dale Kroop, Director.

Ms. Schomaker, who came to Hamden in 1994 to attend—and graduate from—the  Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, fills her part-time work hours each week pursuing her passions for saving money through energy conservation and transitioning to renewable energy in Hamden.   “I am grateful to Mayor Leng for creating this opportunity for Hamden, and for entrusting me with this work,” she said. “I also appreciate the remarkable talent assembled on our Energy Use and Climate Change Commission.”

Ms. Schomaker also recently completed a 2 ½ day course and certification testing on “Connecticut Green Building Essentials” and qualified for the GPRO Certificate from Urban Green Building Council. The course, offered by the Connecticut Green Building Council and fully funded by United Illuminating and Eversource, is designed for professionals involved in any way  with green building practices across residential, municipal, and corporate settings.

Important Initiatives Include:

Ms. Schomaker  recently oversaw the LED lighting upgrade at the Lou Astorino Ice Rink at no cost to the town, paid for with a grant and zero-interest loan repaid from savings.  On behalf of Hamden residents, she is collaborating with United Illuminating on Energize Hamden 2017, launching on September 18 in media outlets around town. “This program offers residents Home Energy Services (HES) at a substantial savings,” reported Ms. Schomaker.  “Hamden homeowners who get their HES ‘blower door’ test can feel immediate benefits in home comfort while also seeing savings on their on their energy bills. This is a not-to-be-missed service in advance of our next Connecticut winter!”

At the same time, Ms. Schomaker  is working on Solarize Hamden 2017 with Smart Power, a national non-profit specializing in community-based solar campaigns, and with Connecticut Green Bank, specializing in financing for energy projects state-wide.  The launch of Solarize Hamden 2017 is on September 28 at 7:00 pm in Thornton Wilder Hall.  The Solarize campaign runs through February 14, 2017.

Relatedly, she enrolled Hamden in a unique project, SolSmart, to review and update our town policies and procedures related to solar energy installations. In commenting on this project, she noted,  “Once Hamden is successful with SolSmart certification we will be able to advertise our town as ‘open for business on solar energy!’”

Ms. Schomaker is also facilitating the proposed United Illuminating upgrade of Hamden to LED street-lighting, which will net a cost savings in electricity without sacrificing public safety.  Town officials and interested residents are also contributing to this project. 

Coming up in the spring of 2018 will be an Energy Fair on a date to TBD. The Fair will be held for residents and small business owners to provide information and tools to save money and to make their homes and business more energy efficient and sustainable.

Ms. Schomaker describes her longer-term view, “We look forward to having a master plan for town-wide energy conservation, including upgrades to energy systems in town buildings as needed. We also have an eye out for energy conservation programs to reach out to small and medium sized businesses, as well as programs dedicated to working with Hamden’s non-profit organizations.   And of course, the plan will include critical attention to both transitioning to renewable energy and to establishing municipal energy resilience as we face ongoing changes in both our physical and economic climates. Stay tuned!”

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