Monroe County claims award for energy conservation

The Monroe County Commissioners were awarded $287,305.40 in late September by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Indiana Office of Energy Development.

The Monroe County Council worked alongside IU, the Monroe County government and three Bloomington schools on the county-wide energy conservation project.

It won the Association of Indiana Counties’ Local Government Cooperation Award, said Ashley Skooglund, the Monroe County grants administrator.

The award was granted for its emphasis on energy conservation throughout the county.

The AIC is a nonprofit organization working in Indiana that seeks to improve county-level government, lobbies at the General Assembly on behalf of its members and their constituents and acts as a liaison between counties.

It has supplied this award since 1995, and Monroe County has been a winner six times.

The award is recognition for the energy conservation project conducted by the county, according to the Monroe County Government website.

The award was granted to the most outstanding county with the best improvements regarding changes to cut costs and more efficient and ecological methods in government, according to the website.

Karen Avery, public relations director for AIC, said there are many requirements that nominees of the award have to meet before submission.

“The nominees had to show improvements on the leadership of county officials and be used and beneficial to other counties as well as its own while using a creative approach to solve any difficult problems the county is currently faced with,” Avery said.

The initial project focused on reducing energy consumption in Monroe County and was started for the Commissioner Conservation Challenge Program, which was conducted by the Office of Energy Development in October 2011.

The program includes the installation of a solar photovoltaic system to the Showers Building, Bloomington’s City Hall.

Skooglund said the Office of Energy Development offered a grant to Monroe County for the installation of solar systems, energy saving vending machines and to promote energy conservation education in schools.

The work done to reach its energy-saving goal was submitted to the AIC, where the project was added to the applications for the award.

According to the press release, the most important aspect was that the project was managed by many county offices and could be used for other Indiana counties. 

The project included the Monroe County government as well as three schools in the Monroe County Community School Corporation.

Each branch was given systems specifically for the use of monitoring the amount of energy used, according to the release.

“It was cooperation, everyone working together, the county council, Bloomington schools, IU,” Skooglund said. “We could not have done it without them. That is why we were chosen, because we worked together.”

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