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Ohio Energy Financing Programs: How HB 300/295/420 Can Save Schools Money, and Energy

Schools exist to educate the next generation and to give them a head start in the world. Too often, though, the needs of a school butt heads with how much money is in the budget for that particular year. Because while a school wants to do the best it can for its students, there’s no denying they have to keep the lights on and the boiler running before they can expect to teach anyone. Fortunately for Ohio schools in need of upgrades, House Bills 300, 295, and 420 offer a way for them to save energy, and spend less money on a major necessity, without incurring any additional debt to themselves.

What These Bills Do, In Plain English

These three bills represent options public schools have to become more energy efficient, without incurring debt in the process. As Green Energy Ohio explains, these programs allow a school to borrow funds from a local source to make the initial improvements, and to then pay that amount back over a period between 10 and 30 years using the savings generated from the upgrade.

As an example, say a public school has an outdated heating and air conditioning system. It’s a major drain on energy resources, and if it installed a new system, it would save several hundred dollars a month on operating costs. However, the sleek, new system would run the school over a hundred thousand dollars. What these programs would do is lend the school the money to make the upgrade, and then the school would take the difference between what it was paying for power, and what it pays now, in order to cover the cost of the upgrade. And, once the cost of the loan is paid back, the school can now enjoy their lower bills and increased flexibility in their budget.

Or, put another way, say you were paying $20 a month for shoes because that was all you could afford. Problem is that the shoes keep falling apart after 30 days or so. Now, if you could afford a $100 pair of shoes, they would last for ten years without a need for replacement. Essentially, the schools are getting local funding so they can afford the upgrade, and then they’re using the money they saved to pay back the local coffers.

Better Schools Through Local Efforts

There’s no such thing as a school with too much funding, and when a school simply cannot afford the basic care and upgrades it needs it runs into problems. These programs and others give schools some flexibility in upgrading in meaningful ways in order to avoid cutting costs in teacher salaries, classroom materials, and other, more important areas. Even better, once these updates are managed, and the costs are paid back, schools will then have additional money they can use for upgrades that aren’t covered by these kinds of programs.

So, in a way, HB 300/295/420 can act as a kind of first domino. A school needs to upgrade its energy efficiency to save money, and it uses the options these programs provide to get over the initial hurdle. Once the upgrade starts saving money and is paid for, the school can then use those funds to start new programs, hire more teachers, or to pay for teaching aids that would have been outside the budget before the upgrade freed up money. And every time a school makes a new upgrade using this option, it frees up more money that can be used for the betterment of the students, rather than to keep the lights on, and the temperature comfortable.

For more information on how HB 300, HB 295, and HB 420 apply to public institutions in Ohio, and about how you could use similar programs to help you and your organization to become more energy efficient, simply contact us today!

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