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Published: Monday, August 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

County, Everett, Terrace share in state energy grants

EVERETT -- Snohomish County and two cities are getting help from the state to pay for projects aimed at saving energy and dollars.
The state Department of Commerce announced this week that more than $11 million in grant money was awarded to create ways to cut energy costs at 20 local government facilities and 10 colleges.
Snohomish County received $462,000 while the city of Everett was given $262,206. The city of Mountlake Terrace was awarded $79,500.
The funds awarded to the county will go toward funding $1.8 million in improvements at the Snohomish County Jail, facilities director Mark Thunberg said.
Some of those improvements include replacing boilers and chillers for the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and installing plumbing controls in the older Wall Street building to bring it up to par with the newer one on Oakes Avenue.
"There's huge water savings there," Thunberg said. "The total savings for the entire project, with labor and utilities is $105,000 per year."
Everett also applied to use its grant money for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system replacement and upgrades as well as roofing and insulation projects, said Nisha Wade, spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce. Improvements were designated for several buildings including the Everett Library, Culmback Building, Everett Fire Station No. 1, Carl Gipson Senior Center and the Wall Street Building.
The grant money awarded to Mountlake Terrace will be spent retrofitting light fixtures throughout the city, public works director Curt Brees said. The plan is to replace 248 city-owned streetlights with energy-efficient LED, short for light emitting diode, fixtures. The Snohomish County Public Utility District has also pledged $39,500 to support the project, Brees said. That brings the city's contribution to approximately $120,000.
The lighting retrofit will save the city and estimated $25,000 each year in energy and maintenance costs, Brees said. A return on investment for the city funded portion is expected within 5 years.
"It's a project that pays for itself in a relatively short amount of time and starts paying you back," Brees said.
A bill passed this year by the Legislature appropriated $38 million to the state Department of Commerce for the energy cost savings grants.
In all, $20 million will go to higher education facilities and $18 million to local governments for energy and operational cost savings improvements.

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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