MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Free energy efficiency upgrades are being made at 13 municipal buildings, thanks to state and federal funding.

“Energy costs are necessary expenses in the budget that offer great potential for savings. These upgrades will help us further our commitment to conserve energy and enable the township to quickly realize over $100,000 in annual savings in utility bills once HVAC system and lighting upgrades are completed,” said Mayor Anthony P. Fiore.

Since Middletown recently completed a comprehensive energy audit of its municipal buildings, the State’s Direct Install program is funding up to 60% of energy upgrade costs for HVAC and lighting improvements. The remainder of the $450,000 project cost is being funded by a federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, explained Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.

Crews are currently making upgrades at the Health Building, the former Community Center across from Town Hall (also known as the boxing ring), the Royer house (located next to the Health Building), Poricy Park Nature Center, Croydon Hall Gym, the Parks and Recreation Administrative Building, Bodman Park maintenance building and the Tonya Keller Community Center.

The upgrades include replacing T12 fluorescents with T8 fluorescents; replacing incandescent with compact fluorescents; replacing magnetic and mechanical ballasts with electronic ballasts; installing occupancy and daylight sensors; replacing air conditioning and heating units with more efficient models, and replacing thermostats.

In addition, the HVAC system at the Poricy Park Nature Center has been upgraded with an efficient gas-fired furnace and air conditioning system. The Health Building has been retrofitted with a new and more efficient gas-fired furnace and A/C system. The existing gas-fired boiler at the former Community Center was replaced with a more efficient unit.

Once this round of upgrades is complete crews will be making HVAC upgrades at the Johnson Gill Annex, Town Hall, the Public Works building and Senior Center. Lighting upgrades will also be made at the Johnson Gill Annex, Town Hall, DPW, Senior Center, and Cultural Arts Center.

Meanwhile, the township is already saving on energy bills by purchasing natural gas and electricity as part of a collective of 119 government entities known as the New Jersey Sustainable Energy Joint Meeting (NJSEM). Successful online reverse auctions allow the collective to make bulk power purchases from power producers that cost less than the local utility company rates.

Energy efficiency upgrades are the latest in a series of eco-friendly projects and programs undertaken since the Middletown Green Initiative was launched in 2007 include a study to determine if wind power could be used at township buildings; Buy Middletown, an awareness campaign that encourages residents to shop local; and the biofuel pilot program which utilizes used vegetable oil to fuel township vehicles.