State Grants Will Bring Jobs and Investment to Snohomish County
Three Snohomish County projects were awarded Washington State Department of Commerce "Jobs Now" grants yesterday<http://www.commerce.wa.gov/DesktopModules/CTEDNews/CTEDNewsView.aspx?tabID=0&ItemID=351&mid=840> to help fund critical repairs and energy-efficiency upgrades in public buildings across the county. The projects will create jobs for local workers while also producing substantial cost savings for the county.
"The projects funded by the Jobs Now package will put people back to work while making our public buildings safer and healthier for people to work and for kids to learn," said Rep. Hans Dunshee, a champion of the program.
Snohomish County will receive $460,000 in grant funds to replace boilers and chillers at Snohomish County jails and to install new plumbing controls. The project is expected to save the county more than $90,000 per year while creating 27 new jobs for local workers.
Mountlake Terrace will receive $79,500 to upgrade 248 city-owned streetlights to more effective and efficient lighting, saving over $16,000 per year in electricity costs.
The city of Everett will receive $260,000 to update aging mechanical systems at a number of municipal buildings, as well as make critical roof repairs at the Culmback Building, fixing leaks and removing asbestos. The project is expected to save the city almost $30,000 per year and create 15 jobs.
McKinstry, a local energy-efficiency company that employs 1,019 FTE Washingtonians, is the local contractor that was selected for the Snohomish County and Everett projects. "McKinstry is proud to be a part of this program that helps to create jobs, improves the experience of the people who use these buildings and protects our environment," said Dean Allen, McKinstry's chief executive officer.
Cascade Power Group will conduct the Mountlake Terrace project. "This grant helps to reduce the project costs for the City of Mountlake Terrace and helps them to lower their operating costs by using new LED streetlights," said Chuck Collins, the company's chief executive officer.
These projects are being lauded for the many benefits they bring the community.
"Not only will they create much-needed jobs while accomplishing critical work upgrading our public buildings, but they will substantially reduce pollution by making the buildings more energy-efficient," said Jessica Finn Coven, Washington Director of Climate Solutions. "These projects will reduce as much global-warming pollution as would be achieved by permanently removing 77 vehicles from the road, and they will do it while saving local governments money. That's what I call a win-win for our economy and our environment."
Approved by the Washington State Legislature in April, the 2012 Jobs Now Act allocates $78 million to competitive grant programs that fund energy and operational cost-saving improvements in public buildings across the state, in addition to other infrastructure projects. A wide range of energy- and water-efficiency projects are funded by Jobs Now Act grant funds, including lighting upgrades, updating building controls systems, new HVAC systems, boiler replacement, building envelope upgrades, and water-efficiency measures.
"The Jobs Now funding couldn't have come at a better time," said Stan Price, Executive Director of the Northwest Energy Efficiency Council. "Not only does it provide for long-delayed improvements in public building infrastructure, it will improve those building's energy performance and lower long term operating costs. Energy efficiency projects like these are in essence construction projects. The work from Jobs Now projects will put construction workers back on the job site."
Dunshee was the mastermind of the Jobs Now program, working with both Republican and Democratic leaders to pass the bill that created it. He believes the energy-efficiency grant programs, in particular, are a wise investment of the state's capital dollars.
"These projects save cities, counties, and schools money on utility bills in their buildings, which frees up that money for spending on core programs in the long run," Dunshee said. "The grants also encourage at least 75 percent of the project costs to come from local funding sources, leveraging the state's investment into even more spending on construction projects."
Climate Solutions<http://climatesolutions.org/> is a Northwest-based clean energy economy nonprofit that works to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment, and bridging divides. Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly-shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand.
Northwest Energy Efficiency Council<http://www.neec.net/> (NEEC) is a business association of the energy efficiency industry. NEEC's mission is to promote policies and programs that enhance market opportunities for energy efficiency.