Florence District 5 receives first SC stimulus grant to improve energy efficiency, save taxpayer money
July 13, 2009
Florence School District 5 in Johnsonville is the first recipient of South Carolina’s share of federal stimulus funds for energy efficiency improvements.
The $72,000 award for seven new HVAC systems in the district’s three schools is the first of an expected 150 awards totaling $40 million that will be issued by the Budget and Control Board’s South Carolina Energy Office in the next few months.
School districts, technical colleges, universities and state agencies are all eligible for the funds which can be used to replace outdated, energy-wasting lighting, window and HVAC systems. Taxpayers will reap the benefits of over $160 million in energy cost savings resulting from energy efficiency improvements funded by stimulus aid.
Grants are made only where studies show that the spending for upgrades will lead to even bigger savings by reducing utility bills. In Johnsonville, replacing the district’s current heating and cooling systems will save over $323,000 over the lifetime of the new units.
"These grants will go a long way to improving the efficiency of utilities for Johnsonville's schools, which will save taxpayers' hard-earned money,” Senator Hugh K. Leatherman said. “And I look forward to the upgrades being made to our schools throughout the Pee Dee and all across the state, which will strengthen the educational foundation which is to important in training our students for the future.”
The state’s 85 school districts will share $20.3 million in grants and loans for energy efficiency. The state’s two- and four-year colleges will receive a total of $12.2 million, and state agencies will receive $7.4 million. Each entity is guaranteed an allocation based on the size of the organization’s energy bill.
“We are committed to ensuring this money goes to work as soon as possible making South Carolina schools and other facilities more efficient,” said John Clark, director of the South Carolina Energy Office. “These awards will save tax dollars by cutting utility bills and will help our local economy as recipients buy equipment and services in the community.”