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June 21, 2019

The right brew for energy savings in East Rock

PHOTO | Contributed Visitors can enjoy East Rock Brewing Company's selections in the beer hall, with two tasting stations and a glass partition wall that allows visitors to watch the brewing and bottling process. The owners got advice from engineers on ways to make their East Rock business energy-efficient.

When two brothers decided to convert part of an old factory building on Nicoll Street in East Rock into a brewery, they didn’t want high energy bills to cut into their future profits.

Tim and Shaun Wilson opened the East Rock Brewing Co. last fall. According to the brothers, their business at 285 Nicoll St. is “taking off,” with demand for their German-inspired beer already higher than they anticipated.

They knew their brewery would require a lot of energy to operate, so when they set out to convert space in the former Rockbestos Products Corp. manufacturing facility into a brewery, they wanted to make sure it was energy-efficient.

United Illuminating Co. engineers worked with the brothers to help them secure incentives for energy-efficient systems.

Glen Eigo, an energy engineer with UI, said both UI and Southern Connecticut Gas, two subsidiaries of the Orange-based Avangrid, have incentives available to help make energy-efficiency infrastructure financially feasible for businesses.

“It is very rewarding to assist start-up, family-run companies in opening their doors for business in Connecticut,” said Eigo. “We are here as a resource, to answer questions and guide our customers in the right direction toward saving on their operational costs.”

The Wilson brothers reached out because the companies’ engineers had already provided assistance for other projects in the building, including a fitness space and office area. They heard about the program through their landlord, Narang New Haven Co. LLC.

The brothers ultimately secured $13,338 to invest in higher quality efficiency fixtures for the brewery. They were able to install high-performance interior lighting and a new steam boiler. They expect the changes will mean savings in their monthly energy bills.

“They were going into an empty space, and we worked them and gave them information on lighting choices and more,” Eigo said.

Tim Wilson called the financial assistance and support from the utilities “paramount” to achieving his business’ energy goals.

“Without the energy rebate, we might have had to install subpar lighting packages that weren’t as well suited to our needs,” he said. “It was important to install energy-efficient lighting, not only to realize savings that can be used toward future growth, but also to conserve energy resources.”

According to Wilson, even though the specialty lighting is energy-efficient, the brewery is well-lit. The brewery features a glass partition so visitors in the beer hall have a clear view of the brewing and bottling process.

Eigo said the brewery could qualify for additional incentives to accommodate more tanks and refrigeration as their business grows.

The service Eigo provided to the brothers is free to all customers, both commercial and residential.

“We are there to help our customers understand their energy needs,” Eigo said.

There are many utility customers who aren’t taking advantage of the free service, and potentially missing out on saving money. Many people, particularly out-of-state developers, likely aren’t even aware the service is available, Eigo added.

“I would highly recommend it to others,” Wilson said. “It was a painless process with minimal paperwork, and it’s a way to save a few bucks.”

For more information on energy-saving programs for businesses, visit or call 877-WISE-USE.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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