CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign school district is getting nearly a half-million dollars to help pay for geothermal systems at three elementary schools.
The district learned it will get a $481,000 state grant through the Illinois Energy Plan, which aims to invest in development of renewable energy resources, energy efficiency projects, biofuels and other "green" technologies.
The grant will help pay for geothermal heating and cooling systems the Champaign district is putting at Westview, Bottenfield and Robeson elementary schools. The cost of those systems is $5.1 million, and they will provide air-conditioning to those schools.
The geothermal systems will save an estimated $965,000 over 20 years on energy costs, said Gene Logas, chief financial officer for the Champaign school district. The district should also save money on maintenance costs of the current 40-year-old systems, he said.
The district has already installed a geothermal system at Garden Hills Elementary School, and it will be putting in a system at the new Washington Elementary School as well. It got a $90,000 Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation grant to help pay for the system at Washington school.
The district is also updating its energy system at Kenwood Elementary School with high-efficiency boilers and chillers.