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Federal Tax Dollars to Pay for Local Energy Savings

County using stimulus funds on four major projects.

Your federal tax dollars are now being used to save your county tax dollars.

Gwinnett County announced yesterday that $7.3 million in stimulus funds received in 2009 from the Department of Energy are being used for four major projects designed to reduce the county’s energy costs.

Among these projects is a new gas-to-energy system at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center. According to a county press release, the system uses methane gas, a byproduct of sewage treatment, to generate some of the plant’s electrical needs. In the fall, a new receiving facility will begin accepting fats, oil and grease from food service-related industries to generate more methane for the system. County officials estimate the new system will cut costs by $600,000 each year.

Other energy saving measures implemented by the county include energy audits  officials say are now saving an estimated million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electric power every year. The audits also reportedly helped officials avoid costs of $650,000 a year by finding places where new lighting, boilers, motor drives and insulation could save another 13 million kWh.

Another portion of the stimulus money was used to finish upgrading traffic signals to LEDs. According to the county, replacing the incandescent bulbs will reduce maintenance expenses and save 200,000 kWh annually.

“We’ve been diligent about looking for ways to cut operating costs at all Gwinnett County facilities but the stimulus money really made these projects possible,” said Building Services Engineering Coordinator Dennis Baxter in a released statement.

Gwinnett County was one of 28 entities in Georgia to receive a portion of $67.2 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) awards.

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