Decatur to receive federal grant for energy efficiency retrofitting

Decatur and Atlanta are two of 15 southeastern cities sharing a $20 million U.S. Department of Energy grant to retrofit homes and businesses for improved energy efficiency.

I’m still digging around to find out the how much, the what and the when. I’ll update this post as I gather the gritty nitty.

UPDATE: Lena Stevens, Decatur’s Resource Conservation Coordinator, e-mailed some details. She doesn’t yet know the exact dollar amount Decatur will receive, but says the majority of the funding will go to residents and businesses for investments in energy conversation. Her entire note after the jump.

From Lena Stevens:

I’m working on getting our own press release out about this, but it’s taking longer than I expected and I wanted to get back to you quickly. To provide you with some basics, this was a grant opportunity put out by the U.S. Department of Energy under their Retrofit Ramp-Up initiative. SEEA was the lead applicant, and worked to develop a joint application of the partner cities. The original request was for a total of $62 million, however $20 was the final award. I am unable to provide you with details regarding the portion that will be allotted to Decatur, as SEEA is currently working to develop a revised project scope and budget. I will be happy to share this information once it has USDOE approval.

The City of Decatur and the City of Atlanta, in partnership with several other organizations, presented a joint proposal for this grant opportunity. The level of collaboration was impressive, both from organizations willing to contribute financially, as well as to contribute staff time and other resources. Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) and Georgia Power, both major utility companies serving Atlanta and Decatur, committed to working with our participants. The City of Decatur is also collaborating with local organizations including Decatur First Bank, the Decatur Preservation Alliance and the City’s volunteer Environmental Sustainability Board, to administer the program.

The main goal of the proposed program is to provide residents and business owners with streamlined access to energy audit capabilities, financial incentives and support to make energy efficiency upgrades possible. Our program will be a “one-stop” source for information on efficiency, rebates, tax incentives, and project financing. Our goal is to simplify the process to encourage residents and businesses to take action.

The majority of the funding will be used to provide direct rebates and/or other financial incentives that help lessen the cost of these upgrades for property owners. Again, when the final award allotment is determined, I will be able to provide more detail on how the financial incentives will be structured.
The Decatur Preservation Alliance (DPA) will provide administrative support for Decatur’s program. The role of the DPA will be to market this opportunity to Decatur residents and guide interested participants through the process. Additionally, Decatur First Bank has committed to exploring options to make low interest loans available to participants to finance the remaining cost of the upgrades.

(Post by Andisheh Nouraee, filling-in for Mr. DM)

10 thoughts on “Decatur to receive federal grant for energy efficiency retrofitting”

  1. Are you referring to the HomeStar or SHINE programs? I have plenty of information on it if anyone’s interested. Local Renewal System Solutions is one of only a few contractors in the whole Metro area participating in these programs.

  2. Good news. At least my tax dollars are being productively wasted locally, rather than being irresponsibly wasted in some other state. 😉

  3. Actually, it’s not a waste. Most commercial facilities would likely see a pay back on their upfront investment within 2 years or less. At least that’s what the City should shoot for. For example, you might invest $20,000 to retrofit all older light fixtures (say T12 or 400 watt metal halide) for newer more energy efficient fixtures (say T8 or T5 flourescents) in any given city building and you could end up saving $20,000 or more on your energy bill in the first year alone. Each particular building or residence would likely require a different solution but the example I gave is pretty typical for commercial buildings.

    1. Most commercial facilities would likely see a pay back on their upfront investment within 2 years or less


      If the government were to subsidize my investments, I’d likely see pay back on all of them, too. Free money for all!

  4. Good point, Dem, and well taken. The city, it’s residents and businesses would arguably be saving money in the long run but I’m not sure how or if that savings winds it’s way back to the Federal level. Maybe they’ll subsidize your investment on your house and you can upgrade it.

    1. Maybe they’ll subsidize your investment on your house and you can upgrade it.


      For the most part, it seems one only gets that kind of subsidy if one stops paying the mortgage.

  5. Yes, the perfect plan! You can stop paying the mortgage and get a free house with retrofitted energy effeciency all in one neat little package. You should try it.

  6. Actually, some people would benefit greatly using solar power to power their homes and businesses. Check out what the city of Berkeley CA is doing by researching Berkeley FIRST. They are providing solar financing for residents, helping them to install solar electric systems by adjusting their property tax bill. So residents are enjoying the energy savings immediately while also increasing their property value. There is a 30% federal tax credit for homeowners, a tax rebate for commercial property, and a 35% state tax credit on the total cost, not to mention that solar costs are going down and the technology has advanced greatly. Sounds good to me!

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