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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
October 30, 2009

More Than $150 Million Ready for Energy Retrofits in Texas Public Buildings

(AUSTIN) — A significant portion of federal stimulus funds for public sector energy conservation is ready for distribution. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today announced the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) will disburse $157.7 million for building efficiency and retrofit projects at government-owned facilities. SECO will distribute the money through a revolving loan program, similar to its successful LoanSTAR program. Cities, counties, schools, hospital districts and other local and state governmental entities can apply for these building retrofit stimulus funds.

“A key aspect of the revolving loan program is that the money remains and is reinvested in Texas,” Combs said. “A city, county or other governmental entity pays off the loan with money it saves from lower utility costs. We can then use that repaid money to help another governmental entity cut its energy use and help save taxpayer dollars. The same pot of money will continue to revolve and benefit future projects around the state.”

Loans through the stimulus revolving loan program can be up to $10 million, at 2 percent interest, generally paid back in 10 years. Energy audits are performed to ensure the proposed retrofits at facilities will achieve the energy cost savings to pay back the loans.

Borrowers can use the money for energy-saving projects such as high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; high efficiency lighting; improving insulation in buildings; adding reflective film on windows; and automating energy management systems and equipment such as lighting controls. Borrowers could also use the loans to install renewable energy at their public facilities or for water conservation projects that demonstrate energy savings, such as the installation of high efficiency pumps.

Projects that save the most energy per dollar spent will receive priority. A Notice of Loan Fund Availability and requests to submit applications for the loans through federal stimulus funds opened today. Eligible governmental entities have until Dec. 30 to submit their applications. More details are available at www.secostimulus.org.

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