By Paul Leach
CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The Bradley County Courthouse annex will receive an energy efficiency and conservation block grant of $87,530 for climate control and insulation upgrades.
Bradley County is one of more than 20 Southeast Tennessee communities receiving the energy grants, which are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Most of the region's communities are using the grants to replace old and inefficient air conditioning, lighting and insulation in government buildings, but the grants also cover projects related to street lamps and traffic signals.
"The annex's HVAC system has only been upgraded once, and it needs it again. The current system is quite old," said Dan Howell, assistant to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
He said the county will set a date for the project after it receives the grant money.
The Southeast Tennessee Development District helped coordinate the grant applications, Assistant Director Chuck Hammonds said.
"We notified the local governments that they could receive up to $100,000 that had to be used for retrofits to public buildings that would save energy," Mr. Hammonds said. "One hundred Tennessee communities received energy grants out of 140 that competed for them."
He added, "TVA performed energy audits, which helped us show that the retrofits would save money."
Gov. Phil Bredesen and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber announced the award of more than $9.2 million in Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants in an April 21 news release.
Together, the grants are expected to support more than 100 jobs and save more than 65 million kilowatt-hours and $5.5 million in energy costs, the release stated.
About $3.8 million more in grants will be awarded in the next round. The deadline is Friday, the release stated.
U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, all Republicans, voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Their offices did not respond to requests for comment on the grants.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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