Abilis celebrated some good news in Cos Cob this week. Executive director Amy Montimurro said not everyone is aware, but Abilis operates 61 residences throughout Fairfield County and over a dozen right here in Greenwich.
“We’re integrated into the community,” she said, adding that at 12 Orchard Street four men and two women live as one big family.
“This was one of the first houses we’ve had, going back over 30 years ago,” Montimurro said.
In fact, all but one of the residents have been in the house since the start. Nearby, Abilis operates another property at 101 Orchard.
The house at 12 Orchard, which dates back to 1889, was in sore need of having its heating and hot water equipment updated.
“The boilers were totally shot,” said Frank Cortese of New England Total Energy, also known as New England Oil, who donated the equipment and labor for the installation.
“It was about the residents not losing heat and hot water this winter,” he said.
That was no small feat, considering the basement ceiling was very low and there was not enough room for an adult to stand up.
New England Total Energy is a family business founded in Greenwich by Frank and Dina’s father in 1939, and run by their mother today.
“We like to give back to the community whenever possible,” Frank said.
The $30,000 project, which included labor, replaced gas fired boilers with a new Peerless WBV-04 Gas Boiler and a Vaughan Indirect Water Heater.
Carlin Combustion Technology donated a gas burner for the effort as well.
“We want to try to help this organization as much as we can,” Frank said. “As a family, we attend their fundraising events, like the golf tournament and the annual Abilis Walk.”
Frank said his company’s connection started with a series of energy audits for all the Abilis properties which resulted in the recommendation for new equipment. New England total Energy also supplies the Abilis houses with their heating oil.
“They originally came to us in 2017 for just their oil, but then asked us to do all their HVAC and give them special pricing,” he explained. “They take care of people who need help and are such a great organization.”
As for Montimurro, Frank said, “She is tremendous. She goes above and beyond in everything she does. She deserves so much credit.”
“The job at 12 Orchard took about a week,” said service manager Reggie Minor as a group of about a half dozen accessed their way to the basement via a Bilco door. He explained that the original equipment had to be ripped out before the installation could begin.
“Each section of the house has baseboard heat,” he said.
Montimurro gestured to the low ceiling. “It’s a big deal to know they had to work down here,” she said. “This is huge.”
Meanwhile, she said the residents had an adventure while the work was being completed, staying at the Marriott in Stamford for several nights.
“They had a great time,” she said.