Illinois Utility Rebates for Schools – TMT

This is a clip from our October webinar in which Senior Energy Advisor Becky Thompson chatted with Vanessa Perkins from Resource Innovations about utility rebates for schools.

Video Transcript

VP: I know that a lot of you are dealing with COVID right now as well, and it’s critical for you to have outside air coming in and ventilating through your building. And I know that’s going to cost more money because you’re going to have to heat and cool that air. Every new chunk of air has to be conditioned.

So some ways to have a quicker payback and better ROI is to look at the ways you’re heating and cooling that air and start in that area. Like a boiler tune-up, for example, and making sure your boiler is running at the optimal pace and has the optimal fuel-to-air ratio. Those types of things that might be considered “maintenance” might be covered by the utility programs.

So it’s always worth seeing, even if you’re not doing projects right now, just find out what’s laying around that could possibly be paid for by the utility or subsidized by the utility to help you start saving on costs that you’re experiencing. Especially with the outside air intake.

BT: And that’s such a great point because a lot of my districts are telling me that energy efficiency is low on the list right now. It’s all about student and staff wellness and health and safety. So they’re putting in the MERV filters and all of these kinds of things that are really decreasing their efficiency, and they’re doing it because they have to have a plan to reopen.

But eventually, that’s going to be a substantial cost that the district is going to have to take on. So, if I’m understanding what you’re saying correctly, maybe there’s not an incentive directly for increasing your indoor air quality. But some of the other pieces that affect that that are part of that process you can get money back for, so you can offset that cost so it’s not such a kick in the chin for you.

I know lighting, specifically, if you haven’t already done that it’s typically less than a year payback. And upgrading to LEDs reduces your lighting expenses by 80 percent and increases the efficiency by 80 percent. So within a year, your lights are paid for, and now you can take that money and maybe look at the some of the bigger projects that are maybe lower on the list that suddenly you have the money to fund them.

It’s all about shifting things around and just getting creative with that. It’s really important to know an efficiency program doesn’t just mean a new rooftop unit or a boiler replacement. There are so many ways that these programs operate and tons of money just sitting there ripe for the picking.

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