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FAIRFIELD, Conn —  December 20, 2021 —  The Circle Diner on Post Road in Fairfield recently completed energy efficiency updates that have brightened up the dining experience for customers and provided cost savings for owners of the family restaurant.  After being approached by Energy Solutions with opportunities to support improvements through the Small Business Energy Advantage program, Circle Diner co-owners Maria Lalvay and Gus Tsilfides were willing to hear more. 

The Small Business Energy Advantage program provides businesses free energy assessments and recommendations for efficiency upgrades to save energy and money and improve operations. With additional COVID financial relief incentives, almost $18,000 total was provided by United Illuminating (UI) and Southern Connecticut Gas (SCG), subsidiaries of AVANGRID, Inc., to help the Diner make nearly $24,000 in improvements to interior and exterior lighting, refrigeration and dishwashing systems and aerators in the kitchen and bathroom areas.

 “I didn’t have the time or motivation to make these improvements myself, but once the program was presented to me everything made sense,” said Gus Tsilfides, co-owner Circle Diner. “The lighting inside is brighter but softer and I don't have to change bulbs frequently like in the past. The refrigerators and dishwasher are definitely more efficient.”

 The family restaurant has been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for more than 10 years and has worked hard to recover from impacts of the pandemic. When presented with energy-efficient upgrades that could be done without disturbing customers, and financial incentives to reduce out-of-pocket costs, Tsilfides was enthusiastic to move forward.

 “I approached them with information about the increased small business incentives due to the pandemic and laid out the ways that they could benefit,” said Robert Auer, President of Energy Solutions. “Lighting was their biggest energy savings opportunity.  We worked with what existed in the restaurant and suggested modifications to save on their operations costs.”

 Interior lighting was replaced with ENERGY STAR®LED fixtures and exterior lighting fixtures were updated with LED light bulbs, giving the restaurant a more vibrant feel at night, according to Auer.  New aerators in the kitchen and bathroom and the new spray valves for the dishwashing system use less water, in turn saving the restaurant on water and electricity use.

 “This project exemplifies the tremendous positive impact energy efficiency improvements can have on small businesses,” said Colleen Morrison, Small Business Program Manager, United Illuminating. “It is important for business owners to know that UI and SCG can provide assistance and financial support through Energize Connecticut programs like Small Business Energy Advantage.”

 Customers looking to benefit can either call the 1-877-WISE USE line (877-947-3873) or sign up through

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Circle Diner in Fairfield received UI incentives for energy-efficiency upgrades