Norwich - A new company that will market energy efficient lighting to commercial entities ranging from small stores to large manufacturers will open in downtown Norwich in the Mercantile Exchange office building.
Northeast Illuminating, with a staff of six corporate officials and energy consultants, has leased space on the first floor of the Mercantile building and will market its products to businesses throughout New England.
"I live in Norwich," said Paul Paris, company vice president of sales and marketing. "It has a special place in my heart. It kills me to see that downtown area not doing well, even with all the efforts."
Paris said he made that statement to his partner, Chief Financial Officer Doug Stewart, and the two decided to try to contribute to the downtown revitalization. The company has been approved for a lease rebate totaling $34,000 through the city's downtown revitalization program, and has applied for a revolving loan through the program.
Norwich Community Development Corp. Program Manager Jackie Roy said the loan has been approved by a review committee and has been forwarded to the Community Economic Development Fund, which underwrites the downtown revitalization loan program.
Northeast Illuminating has the New England distribution rights for the Florida-based LUXADD Express T5 Retrofit Kit series, an adaptor and a new smaller T5-volt fluorescent bulb that can fit into the older T12 fixtures and somewhat newer T8 fixtures in place in many older office buildings, stores and factories. T12 bulbs are being phased out nationally.
"We have the distribution rights for the LUXADD product throughout New England," Paris said. "The product line deals with an inexpensive, fast, efficient way to retrofit your existing commercial lighting. Customers can be anyone from a CVS to a parking garage to an industrial manufacturing plant that can have thousands of old T12 volts in it."
Northeast Illuminating's first customer is the town of Salem, which will retrofit its facilities building, Paris said. Company officials are in discussions with Brown University to retrofit campus buildings, he said.
Paris said each adaptor costs about $25 and can be done in minutes, with an energy savings payback estimated at one year. The low cost and easy retrofit make the product attractive to companies otherwise facing extensive renovations and a temporary shutdown to replace all lighting fixtures.
Northeast Illuminating is meeting with utility companies that offer rebates to commercial companies for installing energy efficient lighting. Conn-Edison in Manhattan has agreed to offer a $15 rebate per retrofit kit.
On Monday, Norwich Public Utilities' energy efficiency program officials Jeff Brining and Fawn Walker met with Northeast Illuminating. After the meeting, Brining said he was very encouraged with the company's plans, but needed more information on the retrofit adaptor product, the anticipated energy savings and the estimated return on investment time period before agreeing to a rebate plan.
Brining encouraged Norwich companies to contact Walker, the NPU energy efficiency coordinator, for a free company energy audit before embarking on an energy upgrade project. NPU does not recommend specific companies, but Brining said if the product and energy upgrade work meets the 50 percent energy use reduction threshold and has acceptable payback times, it would qualify for NPU rebates.
"I would say it's very likely they could qualify for the rebate," Brining said.