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Recovery Act funds energy efficiency campaign

Providence will receive a federal stimulus grant of more than $1.75 million to improve energy efficiency in residential and municipal buildings, the office of Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., announced Oct. 15.

According to the city's grant application, the city will use the money to reduce fossil fuel emissions and total energy use and to improve energy efficiency in transportation, building and other sectors.

The grant will establish a revolving loan fund for a residential building energy retrofit program, according to the application. Energy efficiency projects in the city will be granted loans from the fund, and as repayments are made, loans will become available for other sites. The fund will thus ideally replenish itself as money for loans "revolves" around contractors in the community.

According to Reed's office, Providence will be held accountable by such measures as reporting on the number of jobs created or retained, energy saved, renewable energy capacity installed and greenhouse gas emissions reduced.

"Upgrading homes and buildings in Providence will help cut taxpayers' energy bills and make our communities more energy efficient," said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, in the Oct. 15 press release. "This is a flexible source of funding that will put people to work, bolster the local economy and help protect our environment."

The grant to Providence is administered by the U.S. Department of Energy under its Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The program provides funds to municipal, state and other governmental agencies "to develop and implement projects to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions in their communities," according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Web site. One of the main goals of the program is the "creation of long-term funding mechanisms to extend the impact of (stimulus) funds, such as revolving loan funds."

The state of Rhode Island has also procured about $20 million in stimulus aid for energy retrofitting programs administered by the state, according to a press release from the office of Gov. Donald Carcieri '65.

"With this winter expected to be colder than normal, this extra funding through the Recovery Act is welcome news for many families," Carcieri said in the statement. "This program, however, is about more than helping families. It is also about getting people back to work, especially licensed contractors who have struggled since the decline of the housing market."


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