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Tuesday
Oct092012

City Council Approves Clean Energy Financing Program for Business and Industrial Buildings 

Bridgeport is first in state to pass the new program

BRIDGEPORT, CT (September 19, 2012) – On Monday night, the City Council approved an agreement with the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) to create a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, also known as C-PACE, for businesses and industrial buildings in the city. Bridgeport is the first municipality in the State to offer the C-Pace program.

Under C-PACE, the cost of an energy project may be funded by special financing arranged through CEFIA and repaid annually by the property owner through a special “benefit” assessment on their property tax bill. 

“Through our BGreen2020 efforts, the City is working diligently to reduce its carbon footprint, including making our municipal buildings more energy efficient. Through the C-PACE program, in partnership with CEFIA, we can now help private businesses operate their buildings more efficiently, lowering their energy costs without having to spend a lot of money on energy improvements,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “Thank you to the City Council for approving this agreement, which will help create jobs and lower our greenhouse gas emissions.”

With the City Council’s approval, the City of Bridgeport has now opted-in to the program to create a C-PACE district, and will now have an established Memorandum of Understanding between the City and CEFIA.

Bridgeport businesses will now be able to engage with contractors to work on energy upgrades to their facilities. Businesses then seek approval for these energy upgrades from CEFIA, the C-PACE program administrator. CEFIA will arrange low-cost financing for these energy upgrades.

“One of the pillars of our BGreen 2020 initiative is to create incentives for the private sector to develop more energy efficient facilities, which will positively impact their bottom lines by helping to reduce operating costs. Ultimately, such actions will assist the City as a whole by enhancing and increasing economic development here,” said Ted Grabarz, Director of Sustainability for the City of Bridgeport.

Benefit assessments are a common municipal finance tool that has been used for many projects, including street paving, water and sewer systems and street lighting. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have PACE enabling policies.

The C-PACE program was signed by Governor Dannel Malloy on June 15 following a special session of the Legislature on June 12.


Press release originally published here.

Wednesday
Sep262012

A Visit to Pleasure Beach

BGreen supporters, city staff, and elected officials took to the water this morning for a special visit to Pleasure Beach, the long-shuttered island in Bridgeport Harbor. The City and its partners are seeking funding to implement a major restoration plan that would open parts of the island up for recreation after more than a decade.

Pleasure Beach was once home to an amusement park and to seasonal cottages, but a 1996 fire damaged its only bridge, restricting access. Since then it has seen only limited human activity, while providing habitat for birds, deer, rabbits, foxes, and even coyotes.

The master plan for the island includes a restored pier, ball fields, and walking paths while preserving its wildlife habitat. A water taxi would initially serve the island while funding is obtained to rebuild a bridge link. Additional renderings of the Pleasure Beach plan are available here.

Want to know more about Pleasure Beach? Read the article that ran this spring in the Audubon Society's Audubon Magazine this spring.

Thanks to Bridgeport city staff and BRBC for organizing this windy excursion.

Thursday
Sep062012

Learn about Green Village Initiative's work this summer in Bridgeport

Tuesday
Aug282012

Getting Ready for Climate Change- Report from 2012 workshops released

A summary of recommendations on how Bridgeport can anticipate the impacts of climate change- expected to result in more severe, frequent storms and flooding- has been released by Clean Air Cool Planet and The Nature Conservancy.

The top recommendations include:

  • Planning for pre-disaster  & post-disaster response and recovery     
  • Improving the resilience of infrasturucture and buildings
  • Increasing effectiveness of emergency communication and increase community awareness of risks
  • Strengthening natural barriers such as marshes and green infrastructure
  • Factoring climate change into infrastructure improvement plans.

Emergency management access and ability to evacuate residents and commuters during an event were identified as key concern. Flooding makes accessing the South End difficult. Another concern was preparing adequate shelters for residents and their pets during storms and power outages.