N.C. Energy Office wins grant for energy efficiency projects at rural schools

The North Carolina Energy Office has received a $532,134 U.S. Department of Energy grant to expand its Utility Savings Initiative to provide energy efficiency assistance to often overlooked or understaffed rural public school systems, community colleges and local governments. The grant will enable the Energy Office to work with eight public school districts, eight community colleges and six local governments to plan, implement and finance energy efficiency improvements to buildings and other public infrastructure.

"Many of our public buildings and other infrastructure can provide many more years of good use at a reasonable cost to taxpayers if we can get control of the costs to operate them," said Jon Williams, N.C. assistant secretary of commerce for energy. "With this grant, 22 agencies will be able extend their life and usefulness while curbing wasteful energy consumption, controlling government costs and freeing up capital improvement dollars for other needs."

North Carolina is one of 22 states receiving a portion of the $14 million in the U.S. Energy Department's State Energy Program 2012 Competitive Awards grants.

The Utility Savings Initiative has developed a strong track-record in conserving energy and saving taxpayer dollars by controlling the state's utility bills. Since the program's inception in fiscal year 2002–03, an investment of approximately $11.5 million has produced more than $417 million in avoided utility costs. Energy consumption in state facilities is down 18 percent while energy costs have increased 44 percent.

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