Oregon House approves school energy retrofits bill

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon House has unanimously approved a bill that would offer low-cost loans to retrofit schools with energy efficient technology.

The House's approval on Monday sends the measure to the Senate. The measure is known by supporters as Cool Schools and is aimed at helping school districts afford the high upfront cost of energy efficient technology.

Proponents hope schools could improve the efficiency of aging buildings and save money on energy bills while employing people to make the upgrades.

The legislative initiative would offer low-interest loans from the state that would be paid back with energy savings. It draws largely on existing funding.

Gov. John Kitzhaber says the bill "will also save significant dollars to put back in the classroom and make schools healthier places to teach and learn."