December 12, 2012 | LXXII, No. 37

District gets big energy grant, again

The Grand Coulee Dam School District was awarded a $484,738 energy grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction Friday.

The school district was one of 21 throughout the state that shared in $14.9 million in energy grants.

Almira School also benefited from the OSPI grant, receiving $894,000.

Grand Coulee Dam District had earlier been awarded an energy grant that would have serviced needs in schools that the district plans to close. That grant was eventually turned down.

Friday’s grant was one of three rounds of grants issued by OSPI, totalling $40 million.

Grand Coulee Dam’s grant will cover energy efficient lighting, HVAC, controls, and insulation, windows in the gymnasium and industrial arts building at Lake Roosevelt High School, both of which will remain in the new K-12 building project.

In the gym, the grant will allow upgrades to controls, lighting, and the “building envelope.” In the industrial arts building, the grant goes toward upgrading the heating, ventilation and air conditioning, the lighting and building envelope.

The project was designed by McKinstry and the application was outlined by that firm.

In McKinstry’s summary, the total project is designed to save 322,825 kilowatt hours per year, which translates into some $18,900 of savings annually. An additional savings of $5,445 was projected in reduced repair costs.

The total project as outlined in the grant request is guaranteed by McKinstry not to exceed $663,738, plus sales tax, and doesn’t include energy incentives. The district will have pay for any amount over the grant total.

The projects produce long-term energy and operational savings, improve the indoor environmental qualities of schools and help stimulate construction-industry jobs, the superintendent’s office stated.

The energy grant projects use utility incentives, energy savings, local money and the state grant to make improvements that may otherwise not be affordable.

“The cost of energy continues to rise, which puts a greater burden on our schools’ operating budgets,” said Randy Dorn, state superintendent. “We are seeing projects that replace old, worn-out heating systems, add insulation and new windows and get rid of outdated lighting.

“There are really three significant benefits to these projects, reducing energy costs, eliminating energy-use waste and greatly improving the learning environment at the same time,” he added.

In all, 28 school districts applied for grants totaling $37.5 million.

To qualify for the funds, school districts must conduct an investment-grade audit of their school facilities to identify projects that would yield energy savings and be most beneficial overall.

McKinstry, an energy company, provided the study for the first grant, and again for the grant application that became successful. McKinstry projects totaled 13 of the 21 successful districts.

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