L'burg, county receive more stimulus funds

Friday, July 16, 2010

NASHVILLE - Almost $150,000 in federal economic stimulus money has been awarded to Lewisburg and Marshall County in what local leaders are calling energy efficiency grants.

The city and county will be spending the money on energy efficient lighting and retrofitted heating, ventilation and cooling units at three county buildings and three city buildings, according to a state announcement.

A replacement compressor unit for the Marshall County Courthouse Annex's air conditioning system will not be covered by the grants. That unit was under warranty, according to County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett.

"The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has allowed the state to help Tennessee communities take a step in the right direction for energy conservation," Gov. Phil Bredesen said.

Energy consumption at Lewisburg City Hall, police headquarters and the recreation center were analyzed for the grant application and the city will be receiving $100,000 in ARRA funds.

"They looked at the bills for the last few years and look at thermostats, insulation, HVAC systems and things like that," City Manager Eddie Fuller said.

The Rec Center's size is a big contributor to the building's consumption of energy, the city manager said. Police headquarters is manned all the time, so it won't benefit from a programmable thermostat, but City Hall will.

Bids will be called for the work after the state sends a contract including rules for bidding and how the money is to be spent, Fuller said.

Lewisburg's grant was for $100,000, the state announced. Marshall County will be receiving $46,470.

The three county buildings that were audited for energy efficiency are the Courthouse Annex, the Hardison Office Annex and the Marshall County Memorial Library.

"The intent is to replace older, less efficient items like HVAC and lighting," the county mayor said.

"The value," Liggett said, "is that we can use less energy... It should save more tax dollars and it's a way to get some of our federal dollars back. The older units will probably have to be replaced anyway."

Matt Kisber, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said, "Funding grants like the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants that encourage energy efficiency long term, will not only create new jobs, but reduce our overall energy consumption."

The grants will also allow installers and retrofitters to gain valuable training experience which "will serve private sector companies as they expand their energy efficiency programs," according to an announcement from Kisber's department.

The Lewisburg and Marshall County awards were announced as among 42 cities and counties that were awarded $3.8 million in the EECBG funding.

As for the County Courthouse Annex HVAC system, Liggett said the replacement unit was installed on Saturday, July 10.

"It's up and running," Liggett said. "That was a relatively new unit. Fortunately the compressor that went out was under warranty."