Commerce awards over $1.8 million to improve energy efficiency in public buildings


Press release announcing Commerce grants for energy efficiency retrofits in public buildings

School districts, Department of Corrections and City of Renton will use funds to modernize facilities, capture energy use and cost savings

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce has awarded $1,850,243 in grants for several school districts, the Department of Corrections and the City of Renton to make energy efficiency improvements to various public buildings across the state.

Federal Way School District in King County – $350,000 for heating and cooling controls and lighting retrofits at 18 schools. These updates will improve reliability and reduce energy use in one of the most diverse school districts in the state.  With better indoor air quality, thermal lighting and comfort, the district hopes to remove physical barriers that may inhibit learning.

Goldendale School District in Klickitat County$350,000 for heat recovery and LED lighting updates to a high school and an elementary school.  The improvements will modernize heating and cooling systems and automate facility controls, some of which do not meet health ventilation standards in a district with constrained resources.

Town of Mabton in Yakima County – $247,861 for lighting and controls in elementary, middle and high schools plus the district office.  Lighting retrofits and the installation of digital controls will help to ensure the safety of students and staff with well-lit classrooms, offices and common spaces in a district with a low tax base.

Mary Walker School District in Stevens County$350,000 for a complete controls upgrade on a multi-school campus. This update will yield significant utility savings for the district, save on operational costs and ensure each classroom is getting adequate ventilation to improve student learning and safety.

City of Renton in King County$267,626 for heating and cooling controls and lighting upgrades in the City Hall, aquatic center, maintenance shop, and a park. By increasing the City Hall’s energy efficiency and improving lighting and reliability in other facilities, this project will help address Renton’s goals to save energy and reduce its carbon footprint.

Washington State Department of Corrections – $284,756 to upgrade plumbing and fixtures in the state penitentiary in Walla Walla.  This project will decrease domestic water use where the existing outdated domestic water system is a drain on natural resources. The upgrades include water control technologies specifically designed for correctional facilities. This project will significantly reduce both energy and water consumption decreasing economic and environmental impact on the fish, farms, recreation and tribal reservation in the Basin.

”Buildings are the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing energy efficiency to reduce energy use and costs offers a tremendous return on investment while also supporting jobs in the clean energy economy,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “It’s important that government lead by example – these projects demonstrate the significant near and long-term benefits of investing in building energy efficiency.”

These grants are offered through the state’s Energy Retrofits for Public Buildings program, with the goal of funding projects that will benefit communities through the reduction of energy use and costs. This particular solicitation was designed to align with and advance the goals of the 2021 Washington State Energy Strategy to meet greenhouse gas emission limits while benefitting rural, urban, and vulnerable communities throughout the state.  Half of the funds have been awarded to small towns or cities with populations below 5,000.  All of the grant awards will provide economic, environmental and quality of life benefits to under-resourced communities in our state, including several highly impacted communities based on Washington’s Environmental Health Disparities Map.

Learn more about Commerce’s energy programs and policy work at


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