Grants for Solar Help Health Department Save on Energy Costs
Ford and Iroquois counties – The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department has gone “Green” and according to Doug Corbett, Public Health Administrator, the agency will save thousands of dollars each year by doing so. “We first found out about an opportunity to receive some grants to assist us in purchasing solar panel systems for both of our offices,” said Corbett. “When I looked at the payback on our investment, I wondered why everyone wasn’t doing this,” he said. “The Board of Health agreed that this was an important step for the agency to take in order to reduce energy costs and be good stewards of our resources. We advertised for bids for the equipment and installation according to our agency policy. Bids were received from Angel Wind Energy, Onarga, IL and CMS Renewables, Inc., Edwardsville, IL. CMS Renewables was awarded the contract.
Corbett said that the grants the health department received are from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Energy Office. Each office location received $30,000 towards the purchase of equipment and installation of each system. In just 7-8 years the savings we realize on our electric costs will completely pay off the cost of each system. After that those panels will continue to produce energy and it will not cost us one dime.”
Corbett said that the systems recently installed are not large enough to totally take over the electricity usage of the agency. “Day and Night Solar out of Collinsville, IL helped us determine what size we could use in order to maximize our grant funds. We will be able to apply for grants each year and add to our system if we want to do that. Eventually, we hope to increase the size of these systems so we will generate enough energy to virtually wipe out any need to purchase electricity for our offices,” he said.
The heightened awareness brought on by the savings realized by the solar panel installations, caused the Management Team of the health department to look seriously at other ways the agency could save by incorporating “green” practices into the everyday operation of the agency. Some of these practices include: setting printer defaults to double-sided, placing limits on thermostat temperatures, buying paper products such as paper towels and toilet paper made of recycled materials, using coffee mugs and actual silverware and glass plates as opposed to plastic silverware, paper plates and Styrofoam cups. “If everyone’s awareness is just heightened a little bit and they take little steps like making sure waste paper is put in the paper recycle bin, then all of us together will make a huge difference in saving our natural resources and realize cost savings at the same time,” said Corbett.
The local administrator said he would be happy to talk to any business or agency that wants more information about these “green” initiatives. “We are very happy with this movement,” he said. “It is fairly easy to do and the cost savings are impressive.”
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