New BWL grant help nonprofits improve energy efficiency

The Lansing Board of Water and Light has launched a new grant through the Hometown Energy Savers program that gives nonprofit organizations the opportunity to apply for funds to make energy efficiency improvements at their facilities.
Grants of up to $5,000 are available for energy efficiency improvements at facilities owned or leased by qualifying nonprofit organizations located in the BWL's electric service territory. Priority may be given to organizations that provide service for low-income clients.
Examples of energy efficiency improvements that may qualify for a grant include lighting, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.
Program Analyst Aileen Gow with the Hometown Energy Savings program says that energy assessments performed through BWL's commercial program revealed that many nonprofits lacked the capital to make recommended improvements.
"Lansing's nonprofit organizations provide critical needs to the community, operating on tight budgets, oftentimes with tight staffing," Gow says. "This program will provide technical support to help organizations determine what projects can have real energy-saving benefits, as well as provide the funds to make improvements a reality."
While rebates and incentives have been available since the beginning of BWL energy optimization programs in 2009, the new program is the first time a grant has been made available exclusively to nonprofits. And like all Hometown Energy Savers program, the grant is funded through the energy optimization surcharge assessed to recover Energy Optimization Plan program costs.
"As a municipally-owned utility, BWL's mission is to serve the needs of the community," Gow says. "This program is a way for us to serve our local nonprofits that are dedicated to providing for the needs of others. Helping them reduce operating costs and save on utility bills will enable them to use more of their budget to provide needed services."
Gow anticipates about 10 to 15 nonprofits will be assisted through the new grant. Applications are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The program will run through March 31, 2017 or until available funds are spent.
A similar program for nonprofit organizations that provide low-income, single family housing will be announced sometime in early to mid-May. For information on grants available through the Hometown Energy Savers program, click here.
Source: Aileen Gow, Program Analyst BWL Hometown Energy Savers
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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