Immaculate High School in Danbury, CT goes solar

Anthony Rizzo, Jr., calls Immaculate High School in Danbury a “hidden jewel.” Over the summer, he helped to change that. Now any aerial photograph of the school shows gleaming new solar panels on the roof—topping off numerous other energy efficiency upgrades completed in August.

Rizzo, serving as chair of the school’s advisory board, worked closely with Richard Rapice, project manager in the Diocese of Bridgeport Real Estate Office, and fellow Immaculate board members, Gerry Hatcher and David Cappiello, to replace the 50-year-old roof and the boiler as well as every single light bulb. The renovation also gave the students a new energy-efficient physics laboratory.

The complete project cost $700,000, but it’s projected to Immaculate goes solar save Immaculate 20 percent annually in energy costs. Even with a steadily increasing enrollment and generous contributions from the Immaculate community, raising that amount of money required finding another financial partner. That role was filled by the Connecticut Green Bank, which runs the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program, commonly known as C-PACE. C-PACE enables property owners to gradually pay for certain energy-related improvements with an additional charge on their property tax bills. It was this program, according to Rizzo, that made the major renovations at Immaculate possible. Under the direction of Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, all parishes and schools are undergoing self-assessments, which often include facility reviews. Choosing the correct types of devices and building materials that can save a particular building the most energy can quickly overwhelm anyone. Even finding the right professional to call could mean hours of research.

The wrong approach is to replace a single fixture without studying the whole energy flow. “A building really needs to be thermally wrapped,” advises Rapice.

To find the right approach…

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Source: The Monthly Newspaper of Diocese of Bridgeport –