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The cost/savings of being energy efficient

DePue questions the benefits of grant program

DEPUE — DePue Village Board on Monday discussed possible incentives for energy efficient projects covered through a grant program. However after discussion, it was questionable how much energy efficiency would benefit the village.

Village engineer Don Bixby discussed options through the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) Grant program, which comes through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. While the grant offers incentives if the village was to apply to have various projects completed, Bixby questioned whether it would be worth it for the village to go through with the grant process.

'In my opinion, the only one worth looking at is the wastewater treatment blowers, and I'm not really sure if it's worth the money." he said.

Other energy efficient possibilities discussed mostly pertained to the water treatment plant and the lightbulbs throughout the village.

"If you had a building somewhere with lots of lights and they were on all day, everyday, it would be one thing," Bixby said.

But with the village having a low number of lightbulbs, he feared it wouldn't be worth the time and money to switch over to become more energy efficient.

"The blowers are basically ... $150,000. They will cover $50,000, and the bulbs would save about $6,000 a year," Bixby said. "I can go back and forth in my own mind on whether it's worth your money or not, but we like to talk about 90/10 grants, where they would pay 90, and we pay 10. This is more a 30/60 situation."

While it was evident the board didn't see the worth in applying for the grant, no action was taken to do so.

Mayor Eric Bryant expressed interested in looking for a more beneficial grant.

The conversation switched over to the village looking at numerous maintenance upgrade projects needed in various areas throughout the village. Bixby asked if board members could come up with a list of needed projects, and then they could sort them by priority and cost.

He talked about how he would love to see the village go from consistently doing reactive projects, which are projects that get done during an emergency or when it's needed right away. He would like to see the village try to get ahead of the curve and begin doing proactive projects, which would most likely prevent emergencies. Bixby said the village could build a 10-year plan that would detail how the village could get ahead of the curve with maintenance projects.

In other news, the board:

• Agreed to purchase a generator for the fire department at the total cost of $13,170. The monies used to purchase the generator are leftover from the capital bill grant used to complete the siren project.

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