The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford has a bright future! The historic landmark has struggled financially in the past, but it's now seeing big savings, thanks to an energy efficiency program for businesses offered by CL&P.
CL&P approached the Mark Twain House about its program early last year, said Jeffrey Nichols, the executive director of the Mark Twain House and Museum. Once the non-profit plunged into a fiscal crisis last summer, the project picked up steam, he said. "I convinced the Board it was a wonderful idea," said Nichols. "It was an easy sell."
Under the program, CL&P works with an outside vendor to assess the problem, develop a plan, estimate the cost, and implement the changes. In this case, the Mark Twain House was in need of an electricity overhaul, said Ronald Araujo, of CL&P.
By early this year, they changed 457 bulbs in the Museum Center, mostly to LED's, which are museum-friendly because they don't emit ultraviolet rays that can damage exhibits. There are now 19 motion-controls in museum bathrooms, halls, and offices. At the Mark Twain House, so far nine lights have been changed out, with others expected to be changed in the future.
For example, in the museum gallery, "each one of these lights that were in this room were about 50 watts of incandescent lighting and it's now being provided by three watts LED lighting at the equivalent output," said Araujo.
The conversion cost about $50,000, said Nichols. They're expecting about a $20,000 rebate from the state's energy incentive program and have already saved about $40,000 in energy costs in the Museum Center alone, said Nichols. "I was shocked actually," he said. "We were so surprised of the savings, we actually contacted the utility company to verify it, and they did, and it was a real cost savings. Our bill has been cut by 50 percent."
The energy efficiency program is open to businesses that are CL&P customers, said Araujo. They also have a similar program for residents. "In the case of a non-profit, it could make the difference between whether they're still in business or not," he said.
The Mark Twain House and Museum is believed to be the first museum in the country to use such extensive LED lighting for its exhibits, said Araujo.
They're so excited by the energy savings, they're now considering tapping into solar energy within a year, said Nichols.