O&G takes steps toward boost in energy efficiency

December 6, 2020

Torrington-based O&G Industries, one of the state’s oldest and largest construction companies, is helping to pave the way toward greater energy efficiency.

At its 60-acre site on Bogue Road in Harwinton, O&G has invested more than $800,000 over the past year in equipment and system upgrades that should significantly reduce the amount of energy its asphalt and concrete plants use.

The improvements included new asphalt storage tanks with additional insulation and a more efficient heating system; upgraded rotary dryers used in the asphalt mix process; new burner and fan controls; and more efficient motors, damper controls and lighting systems.

Paul Balavender, O&G’s general counsel, said the upgrades are projected to reduce annual electric use by 12% and natural gas consumption by 30%. He said the upgrades are not mandated by state or federal regulations.

“This is a voluntary initiative,” Balavender said. “These aren’t compliance issues. These aren’t mandatory, regulatory upgrades. It’s really an opportunity to make the plants more efficient, use less fuel, spend less money on power and produce less carbon.”

Balavender said he was notified by Louriero Engineering a couple of years ago of a presentation that Eversource was putting on regarding energy efficiency. After attending that, he met with representatives from Eversource and Louriero to coordinate an energy use assessment at the Harwinton facility in late 2018.

Eversource Energy, the state’s largest energy company, helps pay for the engineer who analyzes sites for energy efficiencies.

“Eversouce will pay the first half of the engineering costs,” Balavender said. “If you find and do enough things at your site, there’s incentives for them to pick up the second half of the engineering costs as well. We probably have close to $575,000 in incentives on an $800,000 bill.”

But he said it is too soon to know whether O&G’s customers will benefit long-term from lower costs due to O&G’s reduced energy consumption.

Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said O&G has also implemented efficiency upgrades at its locations in Waterbury, Torrington, Beacon Falls, New Milford, Southbury, Danbury and Stamford. In total, the upgrades are expected to “cut lifetime carbon emissions by more than 28,000 tons – the equivalent of removing more than 5,600 cars from the road or powering 3,000 homes for a year.”

At its Beacon Falls facility, O&G replaced outdated lighting fixtures with LEDs and system controls, Gross said. The company also added three solar panel installations: a 1.3-megawatt array at its quarry in Southbury, rooftops of the company’s fleet maintenance facility in Torrington and mason supply showroom in Bridgeport.

“The 3,762-panel array is coupled with a 280-kilowatt energy storage system in Southbury that will help to augment supply during peak demand cycles and will produce the energy equivalent necessary to power 150 homes,” he said.

O&G plant manager Tony Blanchard said further savings are expected from upgrading exhaust fans, switching over from electricity to natural gas and repairing air leaks.

“Air leaks are the biggest energy loss you can think of,” he said.

O&G has eight concrete plants and seven asphalt plants, plus three mining sites.

Owners of homes and businesses, plus renters, can search for energy efficiency programs at energizect.com. The programs are funded through customer utility bills.

To read the full article, visit the Republican American website.