Commerce awards over $8.7 million to increase energy efficiency and solar in public buildings

Competitive process identifies 39 proposed projects at school district, higher education, local and state government facilities that will reduce operational costs and CO2 emissions. OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced $8.7 million in grants to local governments, schools and state agencies for 39 proposed projects all over the state that will increase energy efficiency and solar energy use and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. “Because of the incredible growth in our population and economy, buildings are among the most rapidly growing source of emissions in our state,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “Leading by example with investments to increase energy efficiency and install more renewable energy systems in public buildings are among the most important actions we can take toward our aggressive carbon reduction goals in the next 15 years.” Energy Efficiency. The state awarded $7.1 million to 28 proposed projects that are expected to save over $1.4 million in energy costs and over five million gallons of water per year. In addition, an estimated 6,800 metric tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided – equivalent to removing 1,500 vehicles from the road. Among the proposed projects are replacing plug-in space heaters at a treatment plant office building and propane heating equipment at another facility with controllable heat pump technology. Another project will install a new dedicated heat recovery system that will integrate with the existing energy management system to reduce heating and cooling runtime hours by more than 60%.

  • Bethel School District, $285,000
  • Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Auth., $197,000
  • Chewelah School District #36, $224,103
  • City of Auburn, $500,000
  • City of Bellingham, $496,000
  • City of Clarkston, $52,695
  • City of Cle Elum, $136,389
  • City of Granger, $38,847
  • City of Mossyrock, $26,658
  • City of Stevenson, $314,633
  • Colville School District, $233,772
  • Lake Washington School District, $150,000
  • Federal Way Public Schools, $98,061
  • Franklin Pierce School District, $178,984
  • Green River College, $250,000
  • Kettle Falls School District, $373,214
  • King County, $500,000
  • Mercer Island School District, $373,427
  • Mount Vernon School District, $225,000
  • North Central Regional Library, $299,952
  • North Kitsap School District, $314,905
  • Northshore School District, $350,000
  • Pierce County Facilities Management, $185,000
  • Tumwater School District, $183,552
  • University Place School District, $116,000
  • Washington Department of Corrections, $320,112
  • Washington State Ferries, $500,000
  • White River School District, $188,705

Commerce Director Lisa Brown noted that 14 of the projects awarded funding are in rural eastern Washington towns and school districts. “Improving energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to realize immediate and long-term savings, both in terms of operating costs and carbon emissions,” she said. “These investments will help strengthen communities by freeing up limited local public resources for other competing needs.”Solar Energy. Approximately $1.7 million will be invested in 11 proposed solar projects that, once operational, will generate enough power to save over $80,000 in energy costs and over 450 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. Eight of the projects have been awarded a total of nearly $1.6 million in contingent co-funding from the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition grant program.

    • City of Colville, $254,000
    • City of Granger, $145,000
    • City of Pullman, $183,000
    • City of Sequim, $75,000
    • Franklin Pierce School District, $65,643
    • King County (two projects), $185,972 and $164,028
    • Town of Fairfield, $268,000
    • Town of Friday Harbor, $235,000
    • Town of Reardan, $29,027
    • Tumwater School District, $70,705

Rep. Beth Doglio sponsored energy efficiency legislation in Olympia this year. “The energy efficiency and solar grants program shows that Washington state can ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to green infrastructure by making upgrades that also save taxpayers money. Together with new policy initiatives related to green buildings and appliance efficiency standards, we’ll continue leading the way to reduce carbon pollution and energy use,” Doglio said. The carbon savings from these projects are the equivalent of approximately 8,500 acres of forest, energy use required for 1,200 homes or 1,500 passenger vehicles. Refer to the Greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator for estimates of the actual carbon saved. This site will compare carbon saved to different measures, such as vehicle miles driven and acres of trees planted. All of these competitive grant awards are conditional upon execution of final project agreements and performance-based contracts with Commerce. The energy efficiency and solar grant program is funded through the state capital budget to deliver energy and operational cost savings at state public higher education institutions, local government facilities, state agencies and K-12 public school districts. For additional information on the program, or to view current grant opportunities, visit


About Commerce Commerce works with local governments, businesses, community-based organizations and tribes to strengthen communities. The department’s diverse portfolio of more than 100 programs and effective public and private partnerships promote sustainable community and economic development to help all Washingtonians thrive. For more information, visit For information on locating or expanding a business in Washington, visit Subscribe to Commerce press releases by email. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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