Cape Elizabeth receives $85K grant for energy-efficient lighting

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Lighting upgrades at the high school, middle school, Pond Cove Elementary School and the Community Center will begin this summer thanks to an energy conservation block grant from the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

Cape Elizabeth is one of Maine’s 87 communities that received grants for projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and energy costs.

The PUC announced the first round of energy conservation block grants on Friday, Feb. 12. There were 94 applications submitted for the $3.9 million in grants, and each municipality could have received up to $85,000.

Cape Elizabeth received the maximum amount and will provide a local match of $51,000 from unallocated funds from a 2008 bond, for a total project cost of $136,000.

The Maine Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant was awarded by the PUC as part of a $9.5 million program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Other than funding for the schools, this is the first money from stimulus funds we’ve received,” Town Manager Michael McGovern said. “We will see a return from the investment as soon as the new lighting fixtures are installed.”

Upgrades will begin in June, during school vacation, to minimize classroom interruptions. They will start at the high school, followed by the middle and Pond Cove schools in July. All school projects are expected to be complete by September.

The work at the Community Center will also be finished in September, McGovern said.

According to the grant, the project is expected to reduce 201 metric tons of greenhouse gases, 201,000 kilowatt hours of energy, and save $56,000 per year. Energy savings for 15 years is estimated to be $846,000.

The savings will help lower the town’s operating costs, maintain the same level of services and over the next 15 years, can save one teaching position, McGovern said.

“By replacing older light fixtures, we will help to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint,” McGovern said. “It is a positive project.”

 Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 at