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The Washington State Department of Commerce has granted nearly $4 million to state and local government agencies for 17 energy efficiency projects that are anticipated to deliver a reduction of more than five million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. That’s enough to power about 480 average homes every year.

“The built environment represents nearly one-fifth of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions related to generating the electricity used in buildings,” said Lisa Brown, Commerce director, in a prepared statement. “Investing to make public buildings energy efficient is an important element of our state’s clean energy future. These projects will reduce harmful emissions, save on energy costs for schools and other public buildings and create good jobs that strengthen communities throughout the state.”

All grant awards are conditional, pending execution of final contracts. The grant process prioritized projects with the highest projected savings in both energy and operational costs, as well as matching funds provided by applicants. To support the needs of rural communities, 20 percent of the funding was allocated to projects in cities and towns with populations of less than 5,000.

Washington’s 2021 State Energy Strategy identifies energy efficiency in buildings as a core strategy for meeting decarbonization goals. The strategy targets a 26 percent reduction in energy use in buildings by 2050. It also highlights the need for the state to lead by example with public capital projects, especially for schools, hospitals, and rural public buildings.