Two Utah school districts have received federal stimulus money to make energy-efficient improvements to their buildings, and several more recipients will likely be announced in the weeks and months to come.
The grants and loans were awarded through the Utah State Energy Program — a section of the Utah Geological Survey — which allocated $5 million for green school improvements.
“I feel very fortunate that our grant was accepted and we were able to move forward so quickly,” said Christopher Eppler, energy specialist for Canyons.
The district wrapped up work last weekend on switching out lights and light fixtures in the classrooms and hallways of Alta High. Canyons, the first of the awarded districts to complete a project, has two other projects in the works with plans to replace the lights at Jordan High and make improvements to Eastmont Middle School next summer. In addition to being more efficient while running, the classroom lights have motion sensors and turn off automatically when people leave the room.
Districts statewide submitted applications to the Utah State Energy Program in March. Applications for the Formula Grants were reviewed by a committee consisting of members of the Utah Geological Survey, the State Office of Education and former staff of the State Energy Program, among others. Districts could choose to accept grant money or take grant money coupled with a zero-interest loan. Both Canyons and Park City opted to take the grant/loan combination.
“We had an outstanding response,” said William Chatwin, energy-efficiency coordinator for the State Energy Program. Seventeen of the state’s 41 districts submitted applications, proposing a total of 71 projects. The State Energy Program has awarded about 10 districts funding to implement more than 35 energy-efficient projects, though most of them aren’t finalized.