Green Initiatives and Building Preservation

The Bushnell is a not-for-profit organization committed to the continual reduction in its utility consumption costs and impact on the environment. Since adopting this focus in 2003, we have avoided over $6m in utility costs with changes to equipment, improvements to control strategies and continual refinement of preventative maintenance protocols.

To facilitate these projects and achieve these savings, funding is secured primarily through State and local resources, and energy efficiency rebates.

In both the 1928 historic Mortensen building and the 2001 Belding Theater addition, The Bushnell focused on improving the structural envelope, lighting technology, and heating and cooling systems to reduce the energy loads and contain the utility costs.

  • Replaced 1,620 Belding proscenium lights with a custom-designed LED lasting 20 times longer and using 62% less electricity.
  • Converted Mortensen hot water heater to rapid exchange gas heater. Original 1928 gas fired heater was 42% efficient vs. new one at 92%.
  • All 600 light bulbs in the theaters dressing rooms were replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs lasting 13 times longer and burning four (4) times less energy.

The Bushnell Renovations

The Bushnell had a series of upgrades over the summer to repair structural wear and tear, increase energy efficiency, and enhance patron comfort and accessibility. Renovations began in the basement with updates to the steam boiler and worked their way up to modifications to the roof. It took several years of research and planning before the projects could begin, and thanks to the funding of DECD’s Connecticut Property/Assesses Clean Energy (C-PACE) they are now complete. The Bushnell’s Director of Operations, Lynn Robinson explains the process behind the upgrades, “An award of $4 million was made by the State to The Bushnell for building construction and renovation in July of 2013. In working with The Bushnell Building Committee, projects were prioritized based on critical institutional needs. Our capital inventory and monitoring procedures, as well as refined preventative maintenance protocols, provided a strong basis for the work that needed to be undertaken. Life safety issues take priority, as well as addressing those systems at the end of their useful life (in both the 85 year old building and the newer 15 year old addition). Many of these projects present opportunity for significant utility consumption and efficiency cost savings, as well as critical technology upgrades.”

First Stop, The Boiler Room

The previous 1974 steam boiler was performing at less than 60% efficiency and nearing the end of its productivity cycle, so it was replaced by a technologically advanced three sectional steam boiler that is 22% more energy efficient and provides heat to both the Mortensen Hall and Belding Theater. The domestic hot water system pipes were replaced to allow emergency switching and to incorporate both theaters into one system. The three sectional boiler can now grab steam condensate from further parts of the building and bring it back to the boilers to create more steam. A new high pressure meter has been added along with a new chimney liner, which will be used to contain the heat and meet the high efficiency demands of the new boiler.

Learn more about how C-PACE helped Bushnell save over $1.2M at

Let’s Take a Walk to the Trinity Walkway

After years of exposure to the elements, natural deterioration of the Trinity street walkway set in, and at night the area was illuminated by a single lamp post. To increase the safety of the walkway and increase visibility for patrons, five new LED light fixtures were set up, along with new conduit to prepare for future lighting improvements. Proper grading was also applied to the deteriorated pathway. The Bushnell’s mason hand cut the original granite walls along the edges of the path to provide a polished feel. New landscaping has been installed with drainage improvements that are ADA compliant and an irrigation system to maintain the new plantings.

Going Up with the Mortensen Elevator

The original Mortensen elevator equipment was installed in 1930, and in 1987-88 the controls, motor generator sets were replaced using fixtures of the same technology. Although the parts are functional, some properties have now been improved to modern standards, while still maintaining the original 1930 Otis car, frames, platforms, machines and shaft equipment. Improvements include: more precise elevator speed measuring, floor leveling and weight limit detection; safer door detection for passengers, door opening and closing speeds, electric/mechanic door locks; built in software and hardware safety checks; a digital control panel; stronger holding power at each floors; and protection for our elevator inspectors with a new car top guardrail system and the ability to make modified trips when necessary. Some exterior changes you may notice are the new lighting, bronze paint restoration to the ceiling and exterior entrance at the orchestra lobby level, and higher floor level finishing and door alterations.

We Heard You Loud and Clear: Our New Sound System

Our Technical Director, Mike Sivo and Mortensen Hall House Sound Engineer, Brian Kulvette, researched and custom designed our new Mortensen sound system, purchased from HB Communications located in North Haven, CT. Sixteen 25-year-old speakers located on the house ceiling, the side towers near the proscenium and in front of the proscenium have been replaced, eliminating dead zones and sound voids. Ernie Mendenhall, Manager of RM Bradley, oversaw the tremendous electrical needs of the project. A representative from D&B manufacturer, who also manufactured the Belding sound system and the HB Communications system designer helped test the new sound system. We know you will enjoy our improved sound.

The Roof is Back on Top

Due to the various New England weather conditions, our Belding roof has experienced some brutal beatings, causing leaks and corrosion. We replaced the roof with a 45 mil FiberTite Roof System, a 20 year thermoplastic system with heat welded seams and an Energy Star rated white membrane reflective surface. The long lasting Energy Star rated reflective surface will help create a more energy efficient building. The roof improvements will better withstand the varied New England weather conditions and will prevent possible damage inside the building by providing better protection from leaks with its customized metal edge. We have also replaced six obsolete fire vent roof doors, incorporating them into the fire safety system, which now provides automated reset.

Cornerstone Society

Scheduled to be unveiled September 27, 2014, and located in the 3rd floor lobby, is our latest installation, The Cornerstone Recognition Wall, dedicated to the individual and family foundations from the Cornerstone Society that have supported and continue to support The Bushnell. The installation, designed by David Cajolet from Cajolet Design, is a translucent piece composed of sandblasted glass images held together by onyx light boxes that illuminates the eternal appreciation of the Cornerstone Society’s philanthropic support of The Bushnell. The Bushnell’s Senior Major and Planned Gifts Officer, Ellen Nattila speaks about The Bushnell’s gratitude of the Cornerstone Society “We are so pleased to have a permanent recognition space in our building to honor the members of The Bushnell Cornerstone Society. These individuals have provided extraordinary leadership, wise counsel and a true philanthropic foundation for all that we are able to do. It is with deepest gratitude and a sense of joy that we unveil this installation in their honor this year!”