A Dec. 11 Columbian story, “Districts to spend cash, save energy: Millions in state money will help with efficiency projects,” stated that several local school districts will receive state funds for “energy-efficiency projects.”
Battle Ground schools will be completing projects with a projected cost of $3.96 million that, according to the assistant superintendent, will result in annual energy cost savings of $126,000. Spend $3.96 million to save $126,000 annually? The cost recovery period measured in energy cost savings is 31 years. That’s efficiency?
Ridgefield will spend $1.5 million to gain $60,000 in energy cost savings. That’s a 25-year cost recovery period.
Washougal will spend $1.3 million to save $40,000/year, a more than 32-year cost recovery period.
When equipment becomes old and unreliable, we would all agree it needs to be replaced or repaired so that it is reliable. However, to sell projects based on energy savings that take 30 years to achieve cost recovery is unreasonable and borderline irresponsible in this economy.
We are frequently reminded how broke our state is, but Olympia always seems to have millions of dollars to spend on projects like these that would never pass muster if it were truly our own money being spent. Oh, wait … it is truly our own money.