Curtis Packaging uses incentives for green upgrade

Curtis Packaging is getting a green makeover.

The Sandy Hook-based packaging company is undergoing a $2.5 million renovation project that will include improved energy efficiency and allow the company to use renewable energy sources.

The upgrade is being financed through Connecticut Green Bank’s C-PACE program, which gives commercial and industrial property owners access to low-rate, long-term financing for green energy.

Among the green initiatives included with the project are conversion to natural gas, new energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems and a roof-top solar array. The project is being financed over 16 years and, according to Curtis Packaging officials, is expected to result in energy cost savings of $4.5 million over the life of the project.

Don Droppo Jr., president and CEO of Curtis Packaging, said the project will not only save his company money over time, it is also a valuable tool for its clients as they can market their products as having a reduced impact on the environment.

“Green companies want to work with other green companies,” Droppo said. “This has opened up an entire new avenue of growth for us. Curtis is the first luxury packaging company to be 100 percent carbon neutral and the first to rely on 100 percent renewable energy.”

According to Green Bank officials, building owners finance the improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill and the projects are developed so that energy savings exceed the cost of the financing.

“With the help of the C-PACE program, we were able to further our sustainability efforts and make these most recent upgrades, including getting rid of a 50-year-old oil burner with very little out of pocket investment,” Droppo said. “Everyone wins in this deal and we couldn’t have done it without the Connecticut Green Bank.”

The project is being done by Thomaston-based JK Energy Solutions, which works with several C-PACE projects.

“Our first step is to improve efficiency of existing systems before designing renewable energy systems like the Curtis Packaging solar array,” said Rich Cardita of JK Energy Solutions. “Curtis Packaging’s decision to use a Connecticut-based company helps foster the growth of the renewable energy industry in Connecticut.”

The Green Bank is also currently offering manufacturers extra support through its Energy on the Line program, which offers grants of up to $50,000 for green projects. Energy on the Line is funded by the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund.

“The C-PACE project at Curtis Packaging is a great example of how Connecticut businesses can use more green energy,” said Mackey Dykes, vice president of Commercial and Industrial Programs at Connecticut Green Bank. “Thanks to the C-PACE financing model, energy upgrades that have long been back-burner issues for businesses like Curtis Packaging are now much easier to address.”

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