Rossville Middle School to get energy upgrade from TVA

Rossville Middle School is among 160 schools across the Tennessee Valley getting utility assistance to make energy upgrades to their facilities as part of TVA's School Uplift program.

The school will be installing time-sensitive LED lights and making heating and air conditioning upgrades, along with making some outdoor installations on its 12-acre campus and improvements in the school's library and media center. The work is part of a $100,000 grant announced Monday by TVA and its local power company that serves the school, EPB. The improvements are expected to cut the roughly $120,000 of yearly utility expenses by the school by more than 10%.

"We're so excited to have earned this $100,000 Learning Environment grant, which we will invest in needed upgrades that will improve our facility and make Rossville Middle more efficient, healthy and comfortable," Robert Stinson, the school's first-year principal, said during an announcement of the grant Monday. "That means our teachers can focus more on teaching and our students can thrive."

John Watts, an EPB Energy Pro, said participating schools in the School Uplift program receive free consultation and coaching on how to operate buildings with a focus on energy efficiency, as well as information and tools to engage faculty and students in energy efficiency practices and conservation.

TVA's $7.3 million School Uplift program is giving each of the selected schools across its seven-state region a $10,000 grant to fund projects that improve the learning environment and up to $400,000 for building energy upgrades. The program is part of TVA's pledge to help its customers save at least $200 million in annual energy expenses over the next five years.

"The School Uplift program is helping our entire Walker County school system learn more about what we can do to lower our energy usage, lower our power bills and extend the life of our equipment district wide," Ritchie Mathews, energy manager with Walker County Schools, said in a statement Monday.

(READ MORE: How TVA's energy efficiency programs compare with other utilities)

Kevin Wren, a TVA EnergyRight manager, said at the event that 60 schools have completed the TVA School Uplift pilot program over the past two years and another 100 are scheduled to participate in the upcoming year. Participating schools report nearly 10% in annual energy savings with no capital investment and have used the program to engage students around issues of sustainability.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner