Port Huron District Wins Grant For Better Lighting In Schools

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LANSING — The Port Huron Area School District was awarded a $99,365 grant for installation of energy-efficient lighting in seven elementary schools, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Monday.

“Replacing obsolete lighting equipment will make the school environment healthier for students and also bring energy and cost saving benefits to the school district,” said MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney. “The State of Michigan is pleased to partner with the Port Huron Area School District to replace older, unsafe ballasts and inefficient lighting fixtures with environmentally friendly equipment.”

The seven elementary schools were built between 1924 and 1965 and serve 2,787 students.

The project will replace or retrofit obsolete lighting and ballasts containing PCBs with newer lighting technologies, helping the schools become more energy-efficient and cutting costs.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PCB ballasts can be a significant source of PCB emissions in schools. Exposure to PCBs can have toxic effects in children, especially younger children in elementary schools.

The grant will help Port Huron lower energy costs, eliminate the potential exposure to PCB contamination in their elementary schools and educate the public about the benefits of energy-efficient lighting and proper disposal of PCB-contaminated ballasts.

“These grant funds are a breath of fresh air in a time of tight finances and move us another step in the right direction of providing a great learning environment for our students,” said Port Huron Area School District superintendent H. Ronald Wollen. “This project will continue to pay dividends into the future as we estimate the lighting upgrades will reduce our energy bills by $15,000 per year.”

All grant funds will be used to purchase new energy-efficient lighting fixtures. Port Huron school electricians will supply the labor to remove the old lighting fixtures and install the new ones. Port Huron Area School District will provide funding to dispose of the PCB ballasts in compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act. The project is to be completed prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year.

Grants are administered by the Michigan Energy Office through the State Energy Program of the U.S. Department of Energy. The State Energy Program provides financial and technical assistance to states through formula and competitive grants. States use their grants to develop state strategies and goals to address their energy priorities.

The Michigan Energy Office promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy resource development to Michigan’s residents, businesses, and public institutions. The Michigan Energy Office is part of the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), which receives administrative services from the MEDC.

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