State Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield) and state Rep. Joseph Serra (D-Middletown) toured stone fabricator Ferazzoli Imports in Middletown today.
They were there to learn about how an innovative daylight-harvesting light system will help the local manufacturer reduce its carbon footprint, save money on energy costs, grow its business and retain 43 jobs.
The purchase and installation of daylight-harvesting, energy-efficient lights is being made possible by a grant from the state’s Small Business Express Program, which Sen. Doyle and Rep. Serra helped create. The company will invest $305,000 into the project and receiving a matching grant of $100,000 from the state.
Friday’s tour came just days after the General Assembly passed a landmark Jobs Bill that expands the Small Business Express Program and seeks to bolster the economy by growing jobs and promoting “Connecticut Made” products.
“Green technology is the way of the future, and today Ferazzoli Imports shows that embracing energy efficiency can be a smart investment,” Sen. Doyle said. “This is why we created the Small Business Express Program in the first place, to give local manufacturers the support they need to grow their business and create jobs.”
“It is great to see another Middletown company growing in our community and taking advantage of the new business assistance programs we put in place,” said Rep. Serra. “The funding used for their new energy efficient lighting will reduce business costs and thus help retain jobs and encourage growth.”
Jerry Martorelli, owner of Ferazzoli Imports, talked about the benefits of Connecticut-based manufacturers coming together to support each other in their business endeavors.
"Our main competitors are the big-box home improvement stores that do almost all of their stone fabrication out of state,” said Mr. Martorelli. “This Small Business Express grant will help us install a new energy-efficient light system that will reduce out energy costs and our carbon footprint and let us display our product in a more natural light. And by purchasing the system from another Connecticut manufacturer, we are supporting our local economy and growing jobs right here in the communities where we live.”
Ferazzoli Imports is purchasing its daylight-harvesting light system from Norwalk-based company SunPort, which manufactures the product in Connecticut and sells to factories, offices, schools and retails stores across the country. Mr. Martorelli said the special daylight-harvesting system will help him save as much as 30 percent on his electric bill. Ferazzoli Imports also plans to install a solar system in the fall that will bring his total electric bill savings to 50 percent.
Don Andersen, one of the founders of SunPort, said energy efficiency projects can save businesses a lot of money.
"Daylight harvesting is more cost effective than many other renewable technologies,” Mr. Andersen said. “The combination of energy generation technologies and energy efficiency may ultimately lead to a facility with a net zero power consumption.”
Since its beginning in January, the Small Business Express Program has distributed $10.9 million to 74 companies, as loans or matching grants. The effort has retained 566 jobs and supported the creation of 393 new positions, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which administers it.