Richland schools get energy grant

By Tri-City Herald staff April 11, 2012 

The Richland School District has received a $500,000 state grant to pay for energy efficiency improvements in the district's schools.

Some buildings will have more work done than others, but Mark Panther, the district's executive director of support services, said the district would look at how to make energy savings in each building with the grant.

Overall, the district expects to save about $600,000 during the next 10 years with improvements from the grant, said a release from the district.

More than 40 school districts across the state received the state grants, which totaled $20.9 million, according to information released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It's the third year in a row state lawmakers have set aside money to provide the grants.

Districts had to conduct preliminary and investment-grade energy audits of their facilities and provide projects that would have energy savings.

Panther said his district will replace 16 fans with variable speed models in large spaces such as lunchrooms, auditoriums and gyms. The newer fans will improve air circulation and temperature regulation.

Some gyms will be retrofitted with new lighting and motion sensors to make sure lights aren't left on when they are empty.

The district also is reviewing operations of all heating and cooling systems in its schools to ensure every component is operating properly but also making the system as efficient as possible.

"We've actually been studying this for a couple of years," Panther said.

The College Place School District in Walla Walla County received a grant of about $308,000 to improve lighting, water and air systems.

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