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Lt. Governor Becky Skillman announced $2.85 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) have been awarded to 50 small businesses, health care facilities, nonprofit agencies and institutions for higher education, including Bethel College, for energy efficiency upgrades to their facilities.

“Sometimes the cost of energy efficiency can seem too much for smaller companies, health care facilities, colleges and universities or nonprofit agencies already struggling in these economic times,” says Skillman. “These grants can be a bridge from short-term financial issues to important long-term energy savings.”

Bethel’s grant proposal outlined seven separate projects to be completed by Dec. 31, 2010. The request for projects totaled $194,466 with a 50 percent reduction grant request of $97,233. The full $97,233 was awarded. The completion of these projects will generate 742 man-hours of labor. The completion of these projects will provide cost savings of at least $13,130 per year. (These figures are based upon current utility pricing in northern Indiana which are currently $.06 per kWh and $.98 per therm.)

The first four projects are for lighting upgrades for four existing buildings: Wiekamp Athletic Facility, Goodman Gymnasium, Bowen Library and the Physical Plant. The fifth project includes installation of energy monitoring equipment and will greatly increase the ability to modify procedures and policies for greater energy management. The last two projects are for the replacement of old boiler equipment for newer energy-efficient models in Shupe Residential Hall.

The EECBG program is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) and administered in Indiana by the Indiana Office of Energy Development (OED). Small businesses with l00 employees or less, colleges and universities, nonprofit agencies and health care facilities were all eligible to apply for these grants.

The purpose of the Indiana EECBG Program is to assist eligible entities in creating and implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions in a manner that is environmentally sustainable, reduce the total energy use of the eligible entities, increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and reduce energy costs through efficiency improvements, and create new jobs and increased productivity to spur economic growth and community development.