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The Energize Connecticut Center, an energy efficiency resource and hands-on learning laboratory located in North Haven, concluded 2016 by celebrating a milestone – its first full year of service.

“Over the past year and a half, we have educated thousands of Connecticut’s residents, businesses and communities on the importance of energy efficiency and use through our interactive exhibits, special events, educational tours and seminars,” said Taren O’Connor, EEB Chair. “For 2017, we look forward to continuing the momentum by providing fun and intriguing energy-focused programs for our guests.”

The Center kicked off 2016 with a new permanent solar home exhibit built by students from New Britain’s E.C. Goodwin Technical High School and Milford’s Platt Technical High School. The exhibit showcases all the workings of a solar-powered home and allows Center visitors to see parts of the system they would not usually see, such as how the technology hooks up to the meter.

“Building the Center’s solar exhibit provided our students with a valuable, hands-on learning experience and exposed them to innovative clean energy technology and practices,” said Chris Theriault – teacher from Platt. “These are important skills for our students to acquire, as this is a growing job market in Connecticut and beyond.”

During the Center’s signature Earth Day Celebration in April and Family Science Day in October, families enjoyed learning about energy efficiency while they participated in interactive experiments, built recycled musical instruments, interacted with endangered animals and made energy-themed arts and crafts.

The Center also added new events this year including Family STEM Night and Energize Me: Being Sustainable Every Day. During the Family STEM Night guests enhanced their science, technology, engineering and math skills by building rockets, coding with Ozobots and playing fun math games. To educate Connecticut residents on reducing their carbon footprint and incorporating sustainable practices in their daily lives, the Center hosted the Energize Me: Being Sustainable Every Day event. Guests sampled locally-sourced dishes from Claire’s Corner Copia, learned the basics of gardening with Winterberry Gardens and received information about composting from Blue Earth Compost.

The Center hosted 254 tours in 2016 for different groups across the state, including school students and homeschoolers of all ages, senior citizens, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, YMCAs and Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) centers.

Additionally, the Center served as a meeting space for local, in-state and out-of-state organizations and businesses, and as a venue for private events. This brought in a new audience and allowed staff to provide business professionals with energy-saving information.

In 2017, the Energize Connecticut Center will continue to host its signature events and will add monthly themed family-friendly events. The next event is a Family STEM Night with CT STEM Academy on Friday, February 10.

To inquire about scheduling a tour, reserving meeting space or for more information about upcoming events, please contact Alysse Rodrigues, 203-799-0460, arodrigues@crec.org.