Reliance Health energy efficiency upgrade already paying off

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Norwich — After completing a major lighting efficiency project in two large downtown buildings, Reliance Health is saving about $1,000 a month on electric bills and one employee reported her migraine headaches have disappeared.

Reliance Health and Norwich Public Utilities officials marked the completion of the project Tuesday, with NPU providing a rebate of $28,145 for the total project cost of $112,583 through the utility’s energy efficiency upgrade program.

Reliance Health replaced 100% of the lighting fixtures in its office headquarters at 40 Broadway and its new Morosky Building program and service center at 2 Cliff St. In total the yearlong project, done by Bonner Electric of Uncasville, replaced some 450 old, inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lights with about 600 low-energy LED lights and new fixtures. Motion sensors and dimming controls also were installed.

NPU provides rebates of 25% of the cost of labor, materials and disposal, said Fawn Walker, NPU manager of key and commercial accounts.

Sue Caplet, Reliance Health property manager said the project involved replacing all lighting in the two buildings, including in offices rented to the Veterans’ Center and the state parole offices in the Morosky Building. Reliance Health obtained a mortgage from Chelsea Groton Bank for the project, Caplet said, and the monthly energy savings already exceed the monthly mortgage payments.

Jack Malone, chairman of the Reliance Health board of directors, gave a firsthand account that the motion sensors work just fine. He said the board held a meeting in the art gallery at 40 Broadway recently and at one point, the board became quiet and nobody moved. “The lights went out,” he said.

Laura Eleazer, Reliance Health property program specialist, said the project had an additional workplace quality benefit. She said one employee had been suffering from migraine headaches at the end of the day and at times lost work time because of it. She told Eleazer that the headaches stopped once the fluorescent lights in her workspace were replaced with bright new LED lights. Another employee told Eleazer she preferred to not even turn on her old fluorescent light because she didn’t like it.

The new lights are projected to last much longer, as well.

“We were constantly changing lights,” Eleazer said.


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