ROUSES POINT - As a member of the Independent Energy Efficiency Program, the village of Rouses Point was able to help Rouses Point Elementary School in a big way.
Recently, the elementary school completed their renovation project which began last year. During the construction, energy-efficient heat pump systems, lighting and windows were installed, which allowed the village to reimburse the school for part of the expenses.
Of the $400,000 the school spent in becoming energy-efficient, the village was able to pay back $82,565 to help ease the costs.
In 2005, then Gov. George Pataki extended the hydro contract for power for municipalities in New York, from 2013-2025. By doing so, the municipalities had to agree to become more energy-efficient. Through IEEP, the village is able to take a portion of the electricity they sell and put it towards a fund, which in turn can be used to pay for energy-efficient products village residents choose to buy.
"The beauty of this is we control [the funds]," said Mayor George A. Rivers. "We decide where it's going to be spent."
When word got to the village board Rouses Point Elementary School was doing construction, Rivers said the village could be of some assistance.
"I said, 'Well, Rouses Point, you put energy-efficient in there, we can get some help for you,'" recalled the mayor.
"It's always nice to receive extra funds and I guess the long-term benefit is we have more energy efficient lighting in the school," said school district superintendent Peter J. Turner. "We're fortunate enough that Rouses Point is a part of the Municipal Electric System and they have different grants that are available to them. It's great that we could benefit from that."
The village has also put some of the money from the program towards installing thermal pane windows in storefronts, as a part of the village's revitalization project, adding LED lights in the street lights, and using LEDs for the village's Christmas lights.
The village also gave a coupon to any ratepayer in the village to receive two compact fluorescent light bulbs.
"It's been a fantastic program, for everybody," said Rivers. "it's been very lucrative to the village."