Curtis Packaging completing $2.5 million project to improve energy efficiency

By Kevin Zimmerman

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Curtis Packaging, a provider of luxury packaging for such brands as Diageo, Elizabeth Arden and DKNY,  is nearing completion on a $2.5 million project to improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable energy systems at its production headquarters in Sandy Hook.

The project is being financed through Connecticut Green Bank’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which provides commercial and industrial property owners access to affordable, long-term financing for green energy. Building owners finance qualifying improvements through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill; projects are developed so that energy savings exceed the cost of financing.

Curtis has financed a natural gas conversion project, new energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems, and a solar array capable of producing an average of nearly 950,000 kWh of electricity annually. The venture is being financed over a period of 16 years and is expected to produce energy cost savings of $4.5 million over the life of the project.

“Green companies want to work with other green companies,” said Don Droppo Jr., president and CEO of Curtis Packaging, “so this has opened up an entire new avenue of growth for us.”

Noting that Curtis is the first luxury packaging company to be 100 percent carbon neutral and the first to rely on 100 percent renewable energy, Droppo added: “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.”

The venture is being completed by JK Energy Solutions of Thomaston.

The Connecticut Green Bank is currently offering owner-occupied manufacturers additional support to address their energy costs through its Energy on the Line program, launched this spring. Qualifying manufacturers who apply for C-PACE financing are eligible for a grant of up to $50,000. The program is funded through the Connecticut DECD’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund; the deadline for applications was recently extended to Nov. 4.

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