With annual funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) State Energy Program, New Hampshire created the School Energy Efficiency Development (SEED) Grant, a competitive grant award of $100,000 aimed at achieving energy efficiency in schools. A little "seed" money can go a long way in helping small towns reduce their energy consumption and save on energy bills.
DOE’s State Energy Program (SEP) provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. SEP emphasizes the state’s role as the decision maker and administrator for program activities within the state that are tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.
New Hampshire leveraged SEP funding to help the Jennie D. Blake Elementary School in the City of Hill, recipient of the state's first SEED Grant, install energy efficiency improvements that would save an estimated $10,000 in energy costs, 34,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, and 2,200 gallons of oil in the first year after the installations.
Funds from the SEED grant were used for three major energy efficiency upgrades at the elementary school: insulation and air sealing to reduce heat loss and prevent ice dams during the winter months; LED lighting (with occupancy sensors) retrofits of more than 170 bulb fluorescent panels; and updates to the HVAC system to include occupancy sensors and control by smartphone, allowing the systems to be turned down, even after night-time usage. Estimated annual savings in the first year are over $10,000, including electric savings of 34,000 kWh of electricity and 2,200 gallons of oil.
Energy Efficiency Investments, the manager of the school's efficiency projects, developed an energy usage webpage for the school to track, record, and monitor usage and savings throughout the building. With access to data and controls, the school is now fine-tuning the building to maximize energy efficiency and minimize costs.
The accomplishments of the first SEED Grant project were marked with a ribbon cutting ceremony with New Hampshire Governor Sununu, as well as students and parents from Jennie D. Blake Elementary School. School Principal, Dr. Brian Connelly, stated, “[the SEED Grant] has also led to some great lessons on reducing, reusing and recycling, and thinking about different ways to be more 'green' in the future. We may be a small rural school but we’re making a difference in the lives of our students, their families and in our charming community.”