Governor Inslee announces $18 million for projects to reduce energy costs, create jobs
Funds go to higher education institutions and local governments across Washington
OLYMPIA, WA – Governor Jay Inslee today announced nearly $18 million in grants to create jobs and to lower energy costs for 12 higher education institutions and 37 local governments.
An estimated 543 jobs will be created by this construction spending. The total cost for all the projects is more than $66 million, including more than $48 million in non-state funding.
The immediate goal of the state’s Energy Efficiency Grant program is to stimulate Washington’s economy by creating jobs.
“This is precisely the sort of program we need as we work to rebuild our economy,” Inslee said. “These grants will reduce energy costs, provide training opportunities to students and create jobs in the clean energy sector.”
The long-term goal of the program is to reduce energy costs at the state’s public higher education institutions and local government facilities.
“The upgrades provided by these grants, such as new lighting, boilers, and water-saving plumbing, put people to work right away, and the energy efficiencies will save money for Washington taxpayers well into the future,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “The program stretches grant dollars by leveraging funding from non-state sources.”
The 2012 Legislature appropriated $20 million to higher education and $18 million to local governments, including a specific set aside of at least 10 percent for small cities or towns (populations of 5,000 or less). There have been two rounds of awards. The first recipients were announced in August 2012.
Round one award recipient Community Colleges of Spokane was able to install a building-wide control system in two of their buildings. The new control system is expected to save approximately $12,000 annually. Now instead of having the HVAC system either totally off or on, the maintenance staff maximizes the buildings’ energy efficiency. “The new controls make the buildings more comfortable for everyone. The energy savings are reinvested right back into other energy efficiency projects. We are marching through the campus buildings one at a time and making them more energy efficient. This grant gave us a good start,” said Director of Facilities Dennis Dunham.
Also a round one recipient, the City of Everett used funding to replace old HVAC systems and controls and removed an un-insulated roof containing asbestos. The new energy saving equipment and insulated roof is expected to save Everett approximately $29,000 annually. “These grant funds helped us fix critical pieces of equipment and building structures that have outlived their useful life. The energy savings generated results in reduced operating costs that improve the city’s bottom line,” said Director of Facilities Carlton Gipson.
The grants were awarded through a competitive process and must be used solely for energy and operational cost saving improvements. Projects for the second round of funding were selected from 60 grant applications requesting a total of more than $23 million.