Grant helps Piatt County become more energy efficient

A good way to reduce electricity costs is to just use less light bulbs. It sounds simple, but Piatt County officials found a way to do so without sacrificing the amount of light being generated – and to use state grant funds to get it done.

“All of our fixtures in the Piatt County Office Building are four-light fixtures. This grant gives us a chrome reflector, so we removed two bulbs and put the reflector behind it,” said Scott Stephenson, the county’s maintenance supervisor.

A $9,262 grant received from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was received earlier this year to fund the retrofitting of the 197 fixtures in the building. Stephenson hopes to have the project complete by February of next year.

A second grant for $4,747 will help convert 43 fixtures at the Piatt County Safety Building (jail) from high wattage to more energy efficient lights, saving an estimated $1,700 in energy costs per year.

Stephenson hopes grants can be obtained for other energy-saving projects, such as a more efficient heating system for the office building, and more efficient bulbs for the sign outside the PCOB.

“There are 20 high-energy bulbs in that sign, and they are very expensive to run,” said Stephenson, who hopes they can eventually use lower-cost fluorescent or LED bulbs. He also said the grants pay for material costs and a portion of the county labor being used for the efforts.

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