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College receives $850,000 state jobs grant to improve energy efficiency

Edmonds College was one of 29 schools across the state to receive a portion of nearly $17 million in State Jobs Act funding to create jobs and reduce energy costs at schools. The college received $850,000 to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings. Schools had to apply to a competitive grant process to be awarded funds.

“In these tough times of serving record numbers of students with fewer dollars, Edmonds College has doggedly pursued ways to reduce costs with the least impact to students,” said the college’s vice president of finance and operations Kevin McKay. “Energy efficiency has been part of our strategy from the start.”

The college will use the funds to replace heating ventilation and air conditioning systems and controls in several buildings, upgrade to energy efficient boilers, retrofit parking lot lights, and install advanced energy metering systems across campus.

The first projects, which will start this fall, include retrofitting one of the college’s main boilers to save on gas costs and installing energy efficient lighting in the college parking lots. Altogether, the planned energy efficiency upgrades will affect 700,000 square feet of buildings on campus and save the college about $150,000 per year.

“Our estimates of what we can save are conservative. We’ve found that small changes, such as turning down the heat by a couple of degrees in winter, can save significant dollars. We’ve also saved money by tightening up our schedule: turning off the lights and shutting down facilities when they are not in use,” said associate director of facilities and maintenance operations Kao Saeteurn.

Last year, the college began an energy audit to identify energy conservation measures across campus and installed a new energy grid navigator. The navigator allows the college to monitor energy use and automate facilities in each building. This gives the college more accurate data about where it can save the most money by conserving energy.

“Previously, the college had just three meters for 22 buildings. Now, we’ll be able to look at individual buildings so we can see where the problems are and make changes,” Saeteurn said.

The college is participating in the Snohomish County Public Utility District’s Energy Challenge, pledging to reduce its energy use by 10 percent. With the grant, the college will hire a full-time Resource Conservation Manager to evaluate energy usage on the campus and find further ways to conserve and cut costs.

“It’s a great investment. That person will likely pay their salary back threefold,” Saeteurn said. “Ultimately, the less we spend on utility bills, the more resources we’ll have to put into instruction and serve students.”

In Snohomish County, the Everett School District also received $169,986 in State Jobs Act funding for three projects to improve energy efficiency at 16 schools.

“These projects are a double win for Washington state,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said. “They create immediate construction jobs, which is a boon to this industry that has been hit especially hard during the recession. And they create long-term cost savings by making our public facilities more energy efficient, which ensures we get the most value for our taxpayer dollars.”

An estimated 660 jobs will be created by the State Jobs Act awards, according to the governor’s office.


Edmonds College — Established in 1967, accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and governed by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, Edmonds College, a two-year public college in Lynnwood, Washington, is a leader in providing quality opportunities for learning and service, responding to the dynamic needs of our diverse community. The college serves 20,000 students annually.

We’re committed to thinking, teaching, and living green. The college’s energy efficiency upgrades are part of its sustainability initiative. The college added sustainability to its philosophy in 2006 and has been developing curriculum to teach sustainability principles as well as improving the sustainability of its own operations. Find out more at /sustain.

Sound Energy Efficiency Development (SEED) grant — This grant will pay tuition, books, and fees for students to earn short certificates in Energy Management at Edmonds College including an Energy Efficiency Technician certificate. In addition, students in the program will receive assistance with their job search and have opportunities to participate in events where they can meet energy employers.