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Washington Schools, Colleges Receive State Energy Grants

With the help of a state jobs bill and a large renewable energy company, 21 school districts and eight community and technical colleges in Washington State are funding energy conservation projects that will help create local jobs and reduce utility costs. Ameresco Quantum (AQ) has helped these schools and districts win grants totaling more than $21 million to undertake projects to advance their "greening" efforts.

Washington's Jobs Act of 2010 for Public K-12 and Higher Education, passed in January, aims to create up to 38,000 jobs in all parts of the state by fixing public schools and universities, making them more energy efficient.

AQ has been instrumental in helping its clients secure these grants by facilitating schools' pursuit of innovative measures in approaching energy conservation. According to the Washington State Department of Commerce Web site, the Jobs Act describes innovative measures as "equipment, techniques or practices that are 'imported' from other building types or industries where they are more common and have a demonstrated track record of savings and longevity. Innovation sometimes captures more energy savings, but at a lower cost per unit or provides other tangible or intangible benefits when compared to conventional energy efficiency measures. A project may be judged to be innovative because of the way a combination of efficiency measures is packaged into a system of changes, none of which by itself is particularly innovative, but which together create an uncommon system."

The company estimated the school projects it has facilitated will ultimately create nearly 700 jobs, leading to more than $4 million in sales tax revenue. In addition, AQ has guaranteed combined annual energy savings from the projects of 20 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) and cost savings of roughly $1.7 million. This, in turn, will result in an annual reduction of approximately 20 million pounds of CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere.

AQ clients that have received Jobs Act grants include these K-12 school districts:

Washington Colleges that have received Jobs Act grants include:

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.