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Jim Stenqvist has worked with the North Haven Clean Energy Task Force for the past three years. (Photo courtesy of Jim Stenqvist )
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For the past three years, Jim Stenqvist has been involved in the North Haven Clean Energy Task Force. While he has only been on the committee for a few years, he has had a focus on the environment throughout much of his career as a mechanical engineer.
“I’ve always had a passion for the environment, renewables, and energy efficiency and we always try to incorporate it into what we do,” says Jim, who works for DTC, an engineering consulting firm in Hamden. “It’s become more prevalent and you’re seeing more in the codes now.”
Jim is now a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited professional and DTC has worked on several LEED Gold designs. His company works on projects throughout Connecticut, including work on the new North Haven Middle School and high school, and in the New England area. He notes that LEED Gold projects have features such as wind turbines, geothermal, rain water harvesting, and more.
The experience Jim has gained throughout his career has been a benefit to the North Haven Clean Energy Task Force, which was founded in 2008. Soon after Jim joined the task force, he completed the paperwork to apply for an award through the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection and in June 2017, the North Haven Clean Energy Task Force was awarded the Green Circle Award.
“We thought applying for this was a great idea because we’ve done a lot of things in town,” says Jim. “We ended up winning the award for the town and it was really exciting.”
The award was a result of many of the projects the Clean Energy Task Force has completed in town. Some projects completed include the installation of a cogeneration system at the pool, which converts natural gas to heat and electricity; solar panels on the roof of the middle school and high school; and replacing the 3,700 bulbs in the town’s streetlights with LED bulbs.
A solar array was also installed at the municipal landfill. The array provides power to the water treatment plant, an area with the town’s highest energy use.
“It’s the perfect situation there,” Jim notes
The Clean Energy Task Force has applied for many grants over the years that have funded other additions such as a high-efficiency fence for the North Haven Cultural Center building and an electric vehicle charger in the parking lot at the recreation department.
“Unfortunately, the grant money is not as robust as it used to be due to the state budget, but even though the dollars have gone down for this, you’ve got to keep trying and looking for it,” says Jim. “We keep doing improvements around town. It’s nothing really exciting, but everyone likes saving money.”
The group led two Solarize North Haven Campaigns in conjunction with SolarizeCT to encourage residents to install residential solar arrays. It also worked with Home Energy Solutions to provide home energy assessments to residents.
“With the energy audits, they seal up cracks, change the light fixtures, do a blower fan test, and install low-flow shower heads and fixtures,” says Jim. “It’s a nice program that we’ve gotten for free or for a low cost that saves the homeowner a lot of money. I’ve had it done 10 years ago and then again recently. The solar campaign was also very successful.”
The Clean Energy Task Force also focuses on education. The group has sponsored community forums on a variety of topics and Earth Day at the high school where it presents literature.
Jim has lived in North Haven for 25 years. He and his wife, Terri, raised their two sons, Mitchell and Hunter, in town. His older son attends the University of Connecticut and his younger son is graduating from Notre Dame West Haven this year. In his spare time, Jim is a baseball and football fan. He also enjoys collecting autographs.
Jim meets with the Clean Energy Task Force once a month. The group also meets with First Selectman Mike Freda on a quarterly basis as well as with other task forces in the state quarterly as well.
“Mr. Freda is a champion of energy savings and saving the town money,” says Jim. “We talk to other task forces about what we’re doing, what they’re doing, state legislature, and funds available. North Haven seems to be a leader in the state. A lot of towns don’t even have energy task force and are a little bit behind the times.”
Jim encourages those interested in the Clean Energy Task Force to join a meeting, also noting that the group is seeking new members as well.
“We talk about new ideas or come up with energy savings and what we can do to improve our town from that perspective,” says Jim. “We spend time looking at grants and ways to try to save the town money and make improvements.
“When you see people in town, you take pride in saying we’re helping the town, we’re reducing energy, reducing taxes, and reducing costs,” Jim adds. “There are a lot of substantial things being done behind the scenes that the average person isn’t aware of.”
The North Haven Clean Energy Task Force meets on the second Monday of the month at the North Haven Recreation Center on Linsley Street at 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome and the task force is seeking additional members. For more information, see North Haven Clean Energy Task Force on Facebook or on the town’s website.
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