Earth Day is every day for this Fairfield official
Updated 12:37 pm, Thursday, April 28, 2011
The town may celebrate Earth Day once a year, but Assistant Public Works Director Ed Boman is working every day to help make the town "clean and green."
From management systems to control electrical usage to a fleet of cars powered by compressed natural gas to studying local uses of wind power, Boman has been instituting changes designed not only to lessen the town's impact on the environment, but also the impact of energy costs on the budget.
On Saturday, some of the energy-efficient and cost-effective techniques that Boman has implemented will be on display at town's annual observance of Earth Day, with a multi-faceted program from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fairfield Warde High School.
One of the "greenest" places in town, unlikely as it may seem, might just be the sewage-treatment plant on One Rod Highway. Micro-turbines and a fuel cell are used to power the plant, and a biofilter made of wood chips -- acquired from the composting facility across the road -- cleans all the exhaust it emits.
"It purifies the air and there are no odors, which is pretty amazing," Boman said. Soon, methane gas produced by the plant will be funneled to a generator and used to make electricity. Wastewater that runs into Long Island Sound is treated by ultraviolet equipment designed to kills organisms left in the water.
More InformationEarth Day in Fairfield Fairfield's annual Earth Day celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Fairfield Warde High School. Admission is free. Features include: • Screening at 11:30 a.m. of "Bag It," a documentary about plastic bags. • Recycle cell phones, eyeglasses, rechargeable batteries, blue jeans and computer ink cartridges • Performances by Mike Dougherty and the All-Star Energy Band at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. • Trashy Fashion Show, 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. • Recycling Magic Show, 11:45 a.m. • Exhibitors will be on hand all day with demonstrations and information on a range of earth-friendly topics, including construction, recyclable bottle tags designed by an 11-year-old, reuseable shopping bags and energy audits by the town.
The town's fleet of 29 vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, including two full-size school buses, not only saves money on fuel, but run cleaner, Boman said. They are also low maintenance, and if not for the small CNG logos the cars sport, observers would be unable to tell the difference.
Right now, Boman said, the town has started testing LED lighting, and not just in municipal offices. "We're doing some experimenting at the Southport and Fairfield train stations," he said, "and replacing some of the decorative lighting along the Post Road." United Illuminating has also installed LED lights in front of the Burr Homestead and in spots along the Post Road. It's easy to tell, Boman said, because they burn brighter and whiter.
In the Public Works office, he said, they've tested out the LED lights and found that lower wattage bulbs give off more lumens. "It's crazy," Boman said, and while they are more expensive to purchase, they last at least 10 times as long and use 60 to 70 percent less electricity and have no mercury.
The "green" measures not only save money on the town's utility bills, but are all eligible for grants, some of which cover 100 percent of the costs.
"All of our electric bills have two line items for green power," Boman said. "Everyone, through their bill, pays a certain amount for these programs and our goal is to get back every penny our townspeople pay into that, and we are."