Stimulus money helps Lubbock go green - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/6/09

Stimulus money helps Lubbock go green

By Ben Lawson  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Federal stimulus money is helping the city replace aging utilities with new, greener resources. No city tax dollars will be used on these projects, but potential savings for the city are thousands a year.

One of the projects will be to replace the heating and cooling system for Lubbock Memorial Civic Center and Mahon Library. The current system is original, and city leaders say it needed to be replaced. Thanks to a federal grant from stimulus money, they'll be able to replace the system without using city money, but that's not all stimulus funds are helping with.

"We were looking at spending some of the bond money that was elected in 2004 and be able to use that to upgrade the HVAC system, at least at Mahon," Assistant City Manager Mark Yearwood said. He says replacing the heating and cooling system for Mahon Library and the Civic Center had to happen, but plans changed when they were awarded an energy efficiency, and conservation block grant.

"Yes, we still have to do a lot of internal stuff at Mahon particularly, but this is really $2.1-million that we were going to have to spend at some point, and now it will be provided by a grant," Yearwood said. He says there are no matching funds required, the city just has to produce results.

They're committed to complete design and engineering by the end of the year. Then, they'll have two years to complete the project, but Yearwood expects they'll finish well before that deadline. "It not only saves the citizens $2.1-million that we were going to have to spend, but it also will start saving energy costs going into the future, and it will allow us to go green," Yearwood said.

Yearwood estimates the new system could save the city $15,000 a year in energy costs, plus more in natural gas costs, and according to EPA estimates, a new system could cut 136 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide a year. "When you start talking about the carbon footprint and going green and so on and so forth, then yes, I think this is a significant savings for us," Yearwood said.

The government will award $2.7-billion in these grants, funded for the first time by stimulus money.

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