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Scribner Celebrates Downtown Project

Greeley Courthouse
Newly installed street lights, light up Downtown Scribner

By: Tammy Real-McKeighan, Fremont Tribune
November 29, 2012 

Friday will be a time of celebration in Scribner.  

That’s when political officials, townspeople -and even Santa-will celebrate city improvements while welcoming in the holidays.  

The public is invited to the Downtown Revitalization Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and An Old Fashioned Downtown Christmas.  

Activities begin at 6 p.m. with ribbon cutting, which culminates completion of a $550,100 downtown improvement project. Included in that project are city improvements, such as streets, sidewalks and storm sewers, and business rehabilitation projects. Community Development Block Grant monies were used along with funds from the city and businesses. In conjunction, the city was involved in a $280,000 street light project through the Nebraska Energy Office in which downtown street lights were replaced by energy efficient ones; 24 new poles and lights were installed, 12 of which are historic-style lights, said City Administrator Al Vacanti. Deb Eggleston, economic development coordinator, is happy with the project.  

“It’s been very rewarding,” she said. “The businesses are very pleased with what they’ve been able to do. Citizens of the city are pleased with the sidewalk and lighting improvements. It just brings another degree of pride to the community.”  

Lt.Gov. Rick Sheehy and State Sen. Charlie Janssen will provide remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Scribner Area Chamber President Bob Marksmeier will give the ribbon-cutting address with closing remarks provided by Lisa Hurley of the Northeast Nebraska Development District.  

Holiday festivities include a bonfire Christmas caroling of The Gathering Place Main coffee, hot and cookies will be St. Santa will be available for photographs.  

During the event, free hotdogs, coffee, hot cocoa and cookies will be served on Main Street. Drawings will be held for gifts and gift certificates.

Eggleston encourages area residents to attend.

"It's a family event," she said.

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Bright Idea Brings Savings for Wahoo Civic Center

Greeley Courthouse
Building Maintenance employee Neal Schull moves old gym lights in the Wahoo Civic Center on June 22. The lights were replaced with more efficient lights through grant money from the federal stimulus package. (Staff Photo by Erik Dodge).

By: Erik Dodge, Wahoo Newspaper
June 28, 2012

An energy efficiency project could light the way for cost savings at the Wahoo Civic Center.

More efficient lighting is being installed in the Wahoo Civic Center and Senior Center through a federal stimulus grant, according to Wahoo Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Stuhr. More efficient lighting comes in addition to improvements already made to the Civic Center’s heating and air conditioning system.

Stuhr said employees and staff are already feeling the benefits of the project and hope to see more cost savings as light fixtures are replaced.

“We’re already reaping the benefits,” he said. “We have heating and air conditioning in areas we never have before.”

A three ton heating and cooling system was installed at the Civic Center to help control temperatures in the lobby and offices. Prior to the instillation, offices used electric baseboard heaters and an inefficient boiler heated the lobby, Stuhr said.

“We’re eliminating some inefficient heating sources with some more efficient sources,” he said.

An estimated 85 percent of the Civic Center’s light fixtures are to be replaced through the project, including gym lights. Motion sensors to turn off lights when rooms are empty and more efficient exit signs are included in the project. The Senior Center could also receive a light sensor and light fixture replacements.

Stuhr said the project should be completed by the middle of the first week of July.

An energy audit conducted by Nebraska Public Power District prompted the project. The facility was audited for potential inefficiencies and areas of potential energy and cost savings.

“The most readily apparent area was our lighting fixtures,” Stuhr said.

The total project cost is $40,000, according to Stuhr. Of that cost, roughly $13,000 was spent on heating and air conditioning, with $27,000 spent on lighting. But with the grant, Wahoo will only pay $8,000 or 20 percent of the project cost.

The Civic Center was able to make use of the grant because unspent money remained after the city updated efficiency at other offices. Money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the stimulus package, was distributed to the city through the Nebraska Energy Office.

Without that funding the project could not have been completed.

“Had we not been the beneficiary of that grant, we probably would not have been able to do this,” Stuhr said.

The Civic Center has $62,000 budgeted for utilities for 2011/2012 and the Senior Center has a $9,000 utilities budget, according to Stuhr. Savings is expected in the electricity portion of those budgets, but gas, sewer and water costs are also included in the utilities budget. No specific cost saving estimates were available.

Wahoo contractors were awarded the bid for both sets of improvements, Stuhr said.

Additional stipulations in the grant required that all products used must be made in America. Old light fixtures also had to be recycled, disposed of or sold as scrap. The Civic Center’s fixtures are being sold as scrap metal and Stuhr expects the city to receive a few hundred dollars for the metal.

Areas where light sensors are planned to be installed include locker rooms, the game room lounge area, fitness room and Senior Center restroom.

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Wanye Power Project will Help Save Energy

Greeley Courthouse
Two separate projects at the Wayne Electric Production facility have been built, thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Department of Energy. Because of them, city will continue to generate electricity for Nebraska Public Power District..

City of Wayne awarded $250,000
Total project cost $ $633,596
City of Wayne matched $383,596

By: The Wayne Herald
May 10, 2012

Two separate projects at the Wayne Electric Production site will help save the city energy and meet federal requirements.

Two heat exchangers will be installed at the site on the south end of Main Street to heat and cool water at the facility. The water is used to cool the electricity-producing engines at the power plant.

"The current system needs to have the water heated in the winter so it doesn't freeze. It was installed in 1978 and is not energy efficient," said Gene Hansen, electric production superintendent.

Estimates are that the cost of operating the current system is $70,000 per year.

"We looked at how many years it will take to pay for the project in terms of savings and looked at our contract with Nebraska Public Power District and came to the conclusion that we will be able to pay for the upgrade in 10 years," Hansen said.

With the help of a $250,000 grant from the Nebraska Department of Energy, the project will involve locating a new tower on the same site as a system used by the city in the 1930’s.

The work on the heat exchangers is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 1 of this year. It is estimated that the cooling towers should have a life expectancy of at least 40 years.

The total cost of the project is approximately $700,000.

The city is also in the process of installing seven catalytic converters at the power plant to comply with the Recripreciating Internal Combustion Engine Rules.

The federal government is requiring all such engines to reduce emission of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere and reduce the noise caused by these engines.

The installation of these catalytic converters will allow the city to generate electricity sale to Nebraska Public Power District. The city currently has a lease agreement with Nebraska Public Power District to generate electricity which brings in approximately $650,000 per year.

"Without these upgrades we would only be allowed to generate electricity for 50 hours per year. This equipment needs to be installed by May of 2013," Hansen said.

Involved in the installation of the catalytic converters are Woehler Construction, which is doing the cement work, Mid States Errectors of Lincoln and Olsson Associates, who are doing the engineering for the project.

Wayne has the second largest diesel generator plant in the state of Nebraska and the installation of the new equipment will allow an unlimited number of hours of use of these engines.

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Broken Bow Sheds a New Light

Greeley Courthouse
Mike Kaminski installs the first of the new LED lights in Broken Bow.

Central City awarded $151,664.00 to replace street lights.
Total project cost $189,580.00.
Central City matched $37,916.00 .

By: Custer County Chief
April 4, 2012

Broken Bow is about to be a little brighter when the sun goes down. It will be installing 550 new street lights through an energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant, from the Nebraska Energy Office.

The $151,664.00 grant has a $37,916.00 city match, for a total project cost of $189,580.00 that the city feels it will recover in just a couple of years in electricity alone.

By replacing the current street lights with LED lights, there will be an estimated savings of 284 megawatthours/year.

An added factor is their expected life span. Where the old city lights had to be replaced every couple of years, the new LED lights are expected to last 14-15 years, saving replacement costs and manpower. LED lights just don’t degrade over time as the old bulbs did.

“The lights will be different,” noted Doug Staab, city utility superintendent. “The output will be the same, but the beam will be more spread out.”

Installation started on 10th Street followed by the business district. Installation through the residential areas will follow.

View Full Article.

Lighting Project Recognized for Merit

The City of Broken Bow lighting project was selected by NMPP Energy as one of three Projects of the Year winners at the group’s 37th Annual Meeting in March 2012.   Broken Bow won this prize for “projects or programs that create a more cohesive community, whether it was a project created for the entire community or one that make it easier for city staff and employees to serve their customers.”

"Broken Bow Utilities earn Project of the Year award", Custer County Chief, April 5, 2012.


LED Lights Help Central City Save Money and Energy

Greeley Courthouse
One of new LED street lamps in Central City


Central City awarded $179,088.00 to replace street lights.
Total project cost $235,836.00.
Central City matched $56,748.00 .

By: Nebraska Central News
March 30, 2012

With help from a Nebraska Energy Office grant, Central City is going green, and saving money.

In a time when city and county governments are working with tight budgets, Central City is saving money through energy efficiency. The city has converted all street light bulbs to LED lights.

City Administrator Chris Anderson says it's a change most people wouldn't notice right away.

"It is a different light, an old street light has a globe to it, this is a little bit more like shining a flashlight at the ground," Anderson says.

But he says the small change has made a big difference in the city's budget.

"We're anticipating about $20,000 a year in savings off of the project," Anderson says. "So we have a project with a two year payback which is a really great thing for us."

Just a couple months after the installation, Electric Superintendent Sid Lewis says they're already seeing huge cutbacks in energy use.

Lewis says the 400 new LED light bulbs throughout town will also last about five times longer than the previous bulbs.

"The bulbs were good for about three years, so hopefully we can get 15 years out of these lights without having to do anything with the lights," Lewis says.
It's just one way the city is going green.

"It's been a focus in Central City to reduce the amount of energy that we consume in town," Anderson says. "We want to see people reduce the amount of electricity that they use. That keeps more money in town."

Central City is just one Nebraska community taking advantage of the Nebraska Energy Office's Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. Broken Bow, Blair, Gothenburg and Holdrege have also added energy efficient lights to their city streets, and more towns are hoping to get on board.

Anderson says he's received numerous inquiries from other towns asking about the program.

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Scribner Downtown Revitalization Project Nears Completion

By: The Fremont Tribune
December 10, 2011

Scribner's revitalizations include sidewalk replacement, new street lights and improvements to building facades, neared completion this week when railings were scheduled for installation on Main Street.

Lange and her husband, Aaron, who own Gambino's Pizza restaurant and The Gathering Place, a rental hall, received grant funds and made the 25 percent match to update those buildings' facades. The results included new 3- by 8-foot windows at the restaurant.

"It looks awesome," Angie Lange said. "It just transformed the entire look - especially Gambino's on the south side."

The town now also has a new sign with a full-color, electronic message board designed to keep the community informed of upcoming events - and perhaps even attract more visitors. The sign is just one of many upgrades.

Scribner residents began seeing improvements months ago when work started on the $700,000 downtown revitalization and citywide lighting project, which also included new water lines, storm sewer repair and historic lights along Main Street and replacement of all mercury vapor street lights throughout town.

The street lights started going up last spring, said Scribner City Administrator Al Vacanti.

Work on the infrastructure downtown began in June. That work included installation of four-inch water lines and a new valve on the west side of Main Street along with new sidewalks. Eight-inch water lines, new sidewalks and a new hydrant were installed on the east side.

The revitalization also included downtown business building improvements. Scribner was approved to receive $350,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the upgrades. Funds were divided between the city which is receiving $277,500 for infrastructure and local businesses, which are receiving $100,500 for exterior and interior improvements. The city is adding matching funds of $198,100 for the infrastructure. Businesses are adding $33,500 in matching funds for improvements.

Business improvements have included window replacements with energy efficient glass and façade upgrades, Vacanti said. Work has been done at various businesses including Scribner Pharmacy and Scribner Steakhouse.

Vacanti added that the city is conducting a final accounting and if any funds are still available it may be able to look at other projects presented for consideration from the business sector.

Scribner's improvements also included new street lights. The city received a $225,189 grant from the Nebraska Energy Office for lighting and matched $56,297 for a $281,486 total. Funds have been used to install the new lights, which include historic ones, downtown. Eight energy efficient, historic light poles were added on Main Street along with four others on Howard Street. Funds also were used to replace the rest of the street light fixtures in town with energy efficient lighting.

Vacanti said the energy efficient lights should save the city 60 percent on energy usage compared to the previous ones, while providing better lighting on roads and sidewalks and enhancing Main Street's appearance.

He said dips also were removed from Main Street where brick paving had settled. Six railings have been installed perpendicular to the sidewalks on Main Street. Curb-to-sidewalk ramps were made in front of the American Legion Club and the Scribner Medical Clinic. Railings for those ramps were to be installed by the end of this week.

Scribner also has a new sign situated along U.S. Highway 275. The sign incorporates the town's logo designed by Scribner-Snyder High School student Kyle Ebel with assistance from artist Dorothy Litz.

"It's basically our ‘Welcome to Scribner' sign and it has a message board," said Deb Eggleston, economic development coordinator. "We feel we're a stand-out community so we wanted a stand-out sign."

Via computer, Eggleston will post community events such as school functions, non-profit events at Mohr Auditorium, concerts, sports and county fair activities. Eggleston said funds for the sign came from a Joint Opportunities for Building Success grant for $25,000. She's applied for a Scribner Area Foundation Grant to help pay for the remaining cost of $1,750, and the Scribner Improvement and Industrial Corporation also is providing some funds.

Local residents already have heard good response to the improvements.

"We've had some folks come through town, who hadn't been through in a while, and they're very impressed with the appearance of the town and our Main Street with all the businesses that are there," Eggleston said.

Lange said one family relocated to Scribner after learning what the town has to offer such as the revitalization, music in the park and the smaller school.

"These people came from Omaha and are continuing to commute (to work), but wanted to raise their family in a small town," Lange said.

Eggleston is pleased with the improvements.

"I think it's a great beginning, but the best is yet to come," she said, adding that she anticipates business growth. "There's a lot in our future to be excited about."

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Reprinted with permission from The Fremont Tribune


Scribner Steakhouse
Several downtown businesses, including the Scribner Steakhouse, took advantage of grant monies to update and upgrade their facades.
Photograph: Chris Bristol, Fremont Tribune

Scribner Street Lights
New street light in Scribner
Photograph: Nebraska Energy Office


Lighting Project Recognized for Merit

The City of Scriber’s lighting project was selected by NMPP Energy as one of three Projects of the Year winners at the group’s 37th Annual Meeting in March 2012.   Scribner won this prize for “projects or programs that create a more cohesive community, whether it was a project created for the entire community or one that make it easier for city staff and employees to serve their customers.”   The Scribner project was part of a larger downtown revitalization effort that enhanced the aesthetic appearance of it sentry corridor into the community. 

Scribner used the $200 award to defer costs for Energy Detective Kits in the town’s schools.

"Scribner lighting project wins award, cash.", Rustler-Sentinel, April 4, 2012.

Greeley Courthouse
The view of the west side of the courthouse building.

Greeley Windows
Maceo Wright begins final touches on windows in the Greeley County Court room.
Photograph: The Greeley Citizen

Window/Door Project Brings Large Improvement to Greeley Courthouse

Greeley County awarded $68,451.20 to replace County Courthouse Windows & Doors.
Total project cost $85,564.00.
Greenley County matched $17,112.80.

By: The Greeley Citizen
November 24, 2011

The Greeley Courthouse County window project is nearing completion.

The +$100,000 project involves the replacement of all of the windows in the 1913 constructed building, along with two doors. The majority of the money for the project was secured through an energy conservation grant via the State of Nebraska. The county provided a minority match.

High-energy efficient windows have replaced windows that have dated back to the original 1913 construction. The older windows were primarily on the first floor. The second and third story windows had been replaced in 1979-80.

Along with the replacement, it was found that many of the old enclosure frames, etc. did not have insulation and good sealing properties. That has all been upgraded in every window opening. It was found that much of the framework of several of the previous windows had deteriorated substantially, allowing for air and moisture to penetrate the building.

All the new windows that have the capability of being opened are pivotal type, allowing for the removal of the window for cleaning, etc. from inside the building. All the new opening windows have screens to allow access to fresh air.

The color for the windows and exterior trim and fill was chosen to attempt to restore the building to its original color coordination with the brick. A bronze color was selected.

The grant, paperwork, planning and construction have been coordinated by the Board of Commissioners, Jim Johnson- Maintenance and Mindy Grossart-County Clerk.

Built Wright Construction of Scotia is performing the work at the site and Community Builders and Home Center in Greeley was the low bidder for the materials.

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Reprinted with permission from The Greeley Citizen


Superior Street Lights
Governor Heineman throwing the symbolic switch with Mayor Schmidt and GE representative.
Photograph: The Superior Express

Dignitaries Help Light Up the Night in Superior

By Donna Christensen, The Hastings Tribune
October 24, 2011

Around two dozen people gathered in front of the Vestey Center Friday evening for a celebration of the recent installation of new energy-saving LED street lights.

The crowd began arriving around 6 p.m. to visit with each other, Gov. Dave Heineman and representatives of General Electric Co. in anticipation of a 6:30 p.m. "ribbon cutting" ceremony.

Superior Utilities, managed by Larry Brittenham, organized the event.

Mayor Sonia Schmidt gave a welcoming address, thanking Heineman for taking time to attend the celebration. Nuckolls County Commissioner Mike Combs and City Councilman Steve Fox also were on hand.

Schmidt acknowledged the high school football game going on Friday evening as a factor in the low attendance at the event.

Heineman said he was pleased to be in Superior and appreciates small-town America.

"In a town like Superior, we know and support each other, which makes a strong contribution to our effectiveness because we are more involved with each other," Heineman said, "and if you get in trouble in school, your parents probably know about it before you get home."

The line brought laughter and applause from the audience.

Heineman said Superior should be complimented on its decision to improve the night visibility in the downtown area.

The LED light project began in October 2010 when the city contracted with Dutton-Lainson Co. of Hastings to install new poles and the new lights. The city acquired a grant of $250,000 from the federal Department of Energy. In addition, matching funds totaling $67,800 were drawn on the city from an account reserved for municipal projects.

The LED initiative won the "project of the year" award from the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool at its annual meeting in Nebraska City in April.

Lights on Bloom Street between Third and Ninth streets, which is a stretch of state highway, did not receive the new lights due to the objection of the Nebraska Department of Roads.

More than 500 street lights have been installed in the main part of town and some of the surrounding streets.

Vince Scarfo, director of government relations and senior sales development manager for GE appliances and lighting from Washington, D.C., also offered comments at Friday's event.

"Our lights are lighting up the world," Scarfo said, recognizing the involvement of GE, which was the provider of the LED street lights Superior has installed.

He complimented the City Council for recognizing the potential savings in the LED lights. He said they provide better Quality, with a brighter light that illuminates the whole street from curb to curb.

The Department of Energy is convinced this type of light is the best, Scarfo said.

"In participating communities, they have seen a 40-50 percent savings in electric usage, which will provide funds to be used elsewhere in the city's budget," Scarfo said.

After Scarfo spoke, he stood with Schmidt and Heineman as they each placed a hand on the lever of the sham electrical box, set up for that purpose, and threw the switch. The street lights then came on to the cheers of the audience.

Other non-local attendees were Greg Schraeder, Nebraska GE sales representative, and Brendel Maier, representing Dutton-Lalnson in local GE sales.

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Reprinted with permission from The HastingsTribune


Project Sheds New Light on Courthouse Windows

By Tim Linscott, The Wilber Republican
September 7, 2011

Hurricane Irene did not reach Nebraska, but by the looks of the Saline County Courthouse, it appears a storm has passed through.

Windows have been boarded up on two levels of the courthouse and crews have been working at a fever-pitch to get windows to replace the wood in the frames.

The work is part of an overall project at the courthouse to make the nearly 100-year-old building more energy efficient.

Seventy-two windows at the courthouse will be replaced through this project. The windows will help reduce costs in energy, according to Emily Bausch of Southeast Nebraska Development District SENDD;

The windows will have an annual savings to the county of $7,204. This equates to a 25 year payback on the project through saving on energy bills each month at the courthouse. The calculations on the payback through energy savings was done at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. However, because the windows will be far more efficient that believed before the project started, officials believe a 20 year payback is more appropriate of a figure.

The windows were initially installed in 1987 and through years of wear and tear, cracks in the seals have made them not very energy efficient.

Some windows don't close properly, some have leaks that leave a noticeable draft or fog up easily.

"It will be nice having windows that close and won't fog up every day," Linda Kastanek, Saline County Clerk, whose main office had all but one window boarded up late last week, said.

This will add to the appearance of the courthouse and the big thing is the energy savings we hope to experience from it," Willis Luedke, Saline County Commissioner, said.

The Saline County Commissioners were able to secure an EECBG (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant) to help defer the cost of the project. The project will be reimbursed at 38.7 percent back to the county. Total cost of the project will be $645,922, which includes replacing the original boiler system (which will be addressed in a future issue of the Republican).

Reimbursements to the county will be $249,972, leaving $395,950 as the county's share. The window portion of the project is $445,922 with approximately $200,000 for the boiler side of the project. (The boiler project will be in next week's issue).

The boiler side of the project is 80 percent done, leaving the majority of the work on the window side of the issue.

County officials indicated that the window project is actually two weeks behind schedule. When windows were being replaced, it was noticed that the original steel frames were still in place. In order for the new windows to fit properly, the original frames need to be removed. County officials indicated that this has added an hour of labor per window frame and the original timetable of completion has now been pushed back. The original completion date was slated to be around Halloween, which is now around Thanksgiving.

The project must be completely done by Dec. 31, 2011, according to the grant. A second hydraulic lift was delivered last week, which officials said should exponentially speed up the process.

Marcus Zettler, project manager, said the windows are a much needed boost to the courthouse and will have an immediate impact on the energy savings.

"It will definitely save some money for the county. You could put your finger through the holes in some of those windows," Zettler said.

Zettler explained that the original window and frames were installed in 1929 and were in service until 1987, a 57 lifespan.

The windows being taken out now were installed in 1987 and only had a lifespan of 26 years, which Zettler said was, 'not very good at all.'

He believes that the windows were not 'top of the line' and that coupled with how they were installed led to the early demise of the glass panes. The original 1929 window frames were not taken out in 1987 and the windows were modified to fit. Zettler said this weakened the structural integrity of the windows, leading to the problems at the courthouse and a need to be replaced.

"The windows were not closing properly because of the frames. Now that they will be properly installed, it will make them even more efficient," Zettler said, explaining why the payoff could be 20 years or less, instead of the 25 years as initially projected.

The majority of the windows are triple paned. Windows in the stairwells were once single paned windows, but now double paned will add to the efficiency movement of the courthouse.

With the windows being full height windows, more sunlight will be allowed to shine into individual offices, allowing for more savings on electricity.

"That will, however, be determined by each individual office and their policies on those matters," Zettler said.

In order to qualify for the grant, according to county officials, the windows had to go back to being closer to the original design. Since the building is on the National Historic Register, the windows must meet certain specifications, thus the taller windows. However, to meet energy efficiency specifications, the windows would be triple paned to meet those qualifications.

Financing for the project, according to Luedke, will be done on a lease purchase agreement. Ten years ago the county did a lighting, heating and air conditioning project-via lease purchase and now that the agreement is about to expire, a new agreement will begin for the boilers and windows. The agreement will be for five years (being completed in 2015) and will have the same amount each month dispensed as the previous lease purchase agreement.

"When we did the lights and heating and air conditioning at the courthouse, we did a 1 0-year lease purchase. Now that is paid off, we will pick up where that left off with this new agreement, it will have the same amount of money each month for the lease purchase," Luedke said.

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Reprinted with permission from The Wilber Republican


New boiler system is fully electronic and baby-sitter free

By Tim Linscott, The Wilber Republican
September 14, 2011

Maintenance Superintendent for the Saline County Courthouse, Dan Johnson, is a man of many hats. One day he may re-wire a light fixture, the next replace a motor in a machine or fix a broken window. Baby-sitting, however, was never in Johnson's job description and for many years he's had to do just that... until recently.

Johnson was happy to note that a project to fix the boilers for the courthouse is nearly completed. It is a part of an overall energy efficiency grant project that the county has been working with Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) and the Nebraska Energy Department.

A total of 5645,000 will be needed for the project. A total of $249,972 in grant money was secured by the county to have 72 windows replaced, along with the aging boiler system.
The Saline County Commissioners were able to secure an EECBG (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant) to help defer the cost of the project. The project will be reimbursed at 38.7 percent back to the county. Total cost of the project will be $645,922, which includes replacing the original boiler system.

Reimbursements to the county will be $249,972, leaving $395,950 as the county's share. The window portion of the project is $445,922 with approximately $200,000 for the boiler side of the project.

The boilers were installed 56 years ago and have a 30-year life expectancy. Project manager Mark Zettler explained that the boilers have long outlived their usefulness and it was time to bring them into modern times.

"Dan won't have to babysit those things anymore in the middle of the night. The new boilers are going to save a lot of time and money for everyone," Zettler said.

The boilers were having significant problems in recent years and were being barely held together 'by any means necessary," according to county officials.

"They were basically held together with what we had around here to hold them together," Saline County Commissioner Willis Luedke said. "We were going one day at a time with those things."

Johnson would check the boilers each night before going to bed to make sure they were properly running.

"Absolutely I am happy to not be babysitting those old boilers anymore," Johnson said.

There were leaks in the tubes and the control system was not dependable, according to Luedke. Johnson would have to go and 'check on the system' at all hours of the night on certain occasions in order to stop the pipes from freezing in the winter.

The boiler system is actually not in the Saline County Courthouse, but next door at the former county jail, where the heat is piped underground to the courthouse. The new boiler system is far more efficient and reliable than the old system and takes up a lot less space. Over half of the floor space is not needed anymore for the new boiler system.

The new boilers are run by an electronic system that adjusts temperature to the outside temperature and will automatically shut on and off.

Some months, county officials said the gas energy bill would top off at $4,000 a month. Johnson said that, along with him staying up at night worrying about the boilers breaking down, are a thing of the past.

Asbestos was found in removing the old boilers, which has added to the cost of the project. A projected cost of $17 1,000-$1 72,000 was established when the project started last year. Those costs are now in the $180,000-$ 190,000 range, due to the removal of the small amount of asbestos. Luedke, however, explains that the window project has come under budget considerably, balancing out the equation.

With a more efficient way to control the heat at the courthouse, the county leaders expect to save $6,180 annually in energy costs from the new boilers. Zettler estimates that will give the boilers a roughly 16-year payback.

Right now the boiler project is around 80-85 percent complete, according Zettler. Johnson felt the boiler project will reach 100 percent completion by the end of this month.

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Reprinted with permission from The Wilber Republican



Energy project complete at Village offices

By Courier, Callaway, NE
July 21, 2011

Callaway Village Offices and Shop are more energy efficient thanks to a grant from the Nebraska Energy Office.

The village won a $24,328 grant for a $30,411 project to replace lighting fixtures and heat pump with more energy efficient units. Village match was $6,082.

Village Clerk Denise Nichelson said all the lighting fixtures were replaced and a new heat pump was installed by Callahan/Smith Electric, the low bidder for the project. Work began in March and was completed in June after approval by the Village Board.

One feature of the grant requirements was that all the new fixtures installed had to be American made. Nichelson said this is not as easy as it sounds and it was a challenge to find products that met the terms of the grant.

Total energy savings are projected at 5.7 megawatts annually or $580. The updates also calculate to 4.1 tons fewer greenhouse gases emitted annually.
Nichelson said it seems a lot brighter in the shop with the new fixtures.

Open House Features Renovations at Paxton Community Center

By Lori Holmstedt, Courier-Times
July 14, 2011

Members of the Paxton Village Board hosted an Open House at the Paxton Community Center this past Saturday afternoon, to show the community the renovations that have taken place to the Community Center since this past spring. The Village of Paxton was the recipient of a $14,554 grant from the Nebraska Energy Office.

The purpose of the grant was for improving energy efficiency in public buildings. Renovations to the Paxton Community Center included new windows, doors, drywall and insulation. The building may be rented for business meetings, community meetings and social events. Persons interested in reserving the building for an event are asked to call Margaret Gifford or Lori Garnet. Rental Charges are $8 for any part of the morning, or the afternoon, or the evening. The full day rental fee is $24. Senior Citizens activities may be held in the building free of charge.

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Walthill will see reduction in costs with street lights

By Pender Times
May 26, 2011

The new lights that are currently being installed on Walthill streets will not only brighten up the community at night, but will be a welcome relief to the village's wallet to the tune of an estimated 50 percent savings in energy consumption.

Work began last week to replace 20 lights on Main Street and 120 residential lights in Walthill. The current 400-watt high pressure sodium lights on main street will be replaced with LED lights that give off the same illumination but require only 107 watts to power, according to community volunteer Rita Dunn of rural Walthill, who wrote the grant to make this project possible.

Walthill received a total of $140,508.40 through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program, which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the State of Nebraska’s Department of Energy.

The 175 -watt mercury vapor lights that brighten the residential streets are being replaced with LED lights that require only 72 watts.

With the updated lights in the village, electrical consumption will result in a savings of 1.150 Kilowatt tons (Kwt) per day and 419.750 Kwt per year, which equals to an annual greenhouse emission savings of 301 metric tons.

Another part of the energy project will begin later this summer when the glass windows at the city office are replaced with thermo-paned glass windows. In addition, the front exterior building of the city office and library will be weatherized.

The last project will be funded in part by $7,662.40 from the energy grant. The village with match $1,915.60. With the light project, Walthill had to match $33.21.

Henry Johnson of Allen, a retired city crew supervisor for Walthill, is the project manager.

In all, 121 cities and counties applied for $12,604,637 in grants for 218 projects totaling $19,218,134. With only $8,634,150 available to grants, 96 projects received funding.

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Reprinted with permission from the Pender Times


City of Blair saving green by going green with street lights

By Doug Barber, Blair Enterprise
April 29, 2011

When was the last time you saw the cost of a government project actually go down?

Well, it happened with a cooperative pilot project between the City of Blair and Omaha Public Power District the cost of energy efficient light-emitting diode street light fixtures actually turned out to be lower than originally estimated. The result is that about 80 percent of the street lights in town will have the more efficient LED fixtures by this fall, which will save taxpayers money and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the fixtures.

Through a federal ARRA grant {an EECBG program} from the Nebraska State Energy Office, OPPD crews are replacing 589 of the older fixtures with the new LED fixtures. City officials had originally estimated that with the $322,000 {$322,972.10} grant 345, or just under half of the city’s 735 street lights could be replaced. But with the cost of each fixture lower than estimated, the grant was amended to include 589, or about 85 percent of the city’s light fixtures.

What’s more, public works director Al Schoemaker estimates the city will recoup its $80,000 investment in the project in less than two years with the savings from the more energy efficient fixtures.
“We figure it’s always good if you can show a payback in five years,” Schoemaker said. “The payback is going to be very, very short on this one.”
Besides the money savings, Schoemaker estimates that the new LED fixtures also will save about 200,000 kilowatts of power, which translates into a reduction of about 315 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Schoemaker said he liked to think of the project as having something for everybody.

“There’s certainly something there for environmentalists with the reduced energy use and eliminated greenhouse gases,” Schoemaker said. “And it certainly saves tax dollars and everybody likes to save money. Personally speaking, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

The new LEDs should also provide a softer, whiter light as compared to the somewhat yellow cast of the older sodium fixtures.

In addition, Schoemaker said, “the LED is very directional. It’s directed strictly to the road surface itself and will not be cast off on side streets and lawns, ect.”

This is actually the second LED project for the city of Blair. All of the stoplights in the city were replaced with LED lights earlier. Schoemaker said that project has resulted in a reduction of about $3,000 in energy costs for the stop lights in the first quarter of 2011, which means the city is looking at a payback of its $50,000 investment in about four years.

One thing Schoemaker stressed is that the project does not include replacing the lights along the highways in town. Those are owned by the Nebraska Department of Roads, which has not yet approved the use of LED lighting.

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Reprinted with permission from the Blair Enterprise


Pilger Furnace
Chuck Robins with Ken Wiechmen's help is putting legs on heat pump unit outside.

Pilger Lighting
New lighting is being installed in the fire hall.

New Heating and Cooling System Installed in Village of Pilger's Clerk's Office

A new energy efficient heating and air conditioning unit was installed by Robins Heating and Air in Pilger, clerk’s office early November 2010.

The heating and cooling unit was financed with a grant that was awarded to Pilger by the Nebraska Energy Office Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants.

Other Pilger projects that were apart of the grant include new energy efficient lighting in the Clerk’s Office, Firehall, Library and Water Filter Plant; new exit signs in the Library; and several new light-emitting diode street lights.

Pilger has entered into an agreement with Stanton County Public Power to handle the street light portion of the grant.

The purpose of the grant is to assist eligible entities reduce fossil fuel emissions, reduce total energy use and improve energy efficiency in the building, transportation and other sectors.

The grant was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nebraska Energy Office.

News article on Village of Pilger's Clerk's Office.

New energy efficient lighting installed in Village of Pilger

The library, clerk's office, water filter plant and fire hall meeting room all had new energy efficient bulbs and ballasts installed last week by Spenner Electric of Beemer.

The new lighting creates a brighter light environment while using less electricity. Two new LED exit signs were also installed at the library.

The lighting is part of energy grant #09 10-E009 that was awarded to the Village of Pilger by the Nebraska Energy Office Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant.

Other projects that were awarded include an energy efficient heating and air unit for the village clerk's office, new energy efficient lighting for the fire hall bay area; and new LED street lights installed through an agreement with SCPPD.

The purpose of the grant program is to assist eligible entities in creating and implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions; reduce total energy use of the entities; and improve energy efficiency in the building, transportation and other sectors.

The grant became available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is supported by the U .S. Department of Energy under NEO Grant #DE-EE-0000667.

News article on Village of Pilger's projects.


Tecumseh Welcomes LEDs and Energy Savings

November 9, 2010

Tecumseh’s historic square is home to the city hall, courthouse, post office and during the summer months — a farmers market. Now, this historic square, built in the 1850s, is about to become home to something new: LED lights.

As part of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant through the Recovery Act, Tecumseh is planning to install 95 new LED light fixtures throughout the town, including 13 new lighting poles in the historic square. The funding, for the nearly $187,000 project, included a match of more than $37,000 from the city with a population of under 3,000.

“This program is great for communities like Tecumseh,” says Brian Chaffin, the city engineer. “Without additional funding and support, a lot of these smaller, more rural towns would not be able to get these projects done.”

Tecumseh will install 87 new LED fixtures to replace mercury vapor and high pressure sodium lights in residential and commercial areas of town, which is projected to save more than $4,000 in energy savings per year. Adding to that will be the new lights in the town square, which is estimated to save approximately $2,000 annually. In total, it is expected that these new LED lights will save Tecumseh more than $6,000 a year.

Going beyond LEDs

Not only will Tecumseh switch to LEDs, the town is also planning a major renovation on the community center next spring.

“The community center is such a vital part of these smaller communities,” says Chaffin. “Whether it’s hosting a wedding reception or a pancake feed, this building is an important place to this community.”

Using nearly $75,000 of another Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant — matched by almost $32,000 of Tecumseh’s own funding — the community center will replace four very old gas furnaces with newer, 95 percent more efficient models, says Chaffin.

In addition, the building will receive new insulation in the stage and gym area, which, as Chaffin describes it, is a “big open space with a lot of ceiling.” Adding insulation to this area could save the center thousands on heating bills.

Article By: Lindsay Gsell, of


New lights mean energy savings

By Ann Wickett, Tecumseh Chieftain
June 30, 2011

Within in the last two weeks. Tecumseh's Public Properties crew has been installing new lighting around the historical square that will create an almost 50 percent energy savings for the city. The city was able to install these new lights because of the 80/20 EECBG (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant) matching grant the city was awarded upon proving there would be an energy savings. Since the energy grant pricing came in lower than expected, the city was able to install some residential lighting as well.

The overall contract sum for materials totaled $129,368. This did not include labor costs. The city's portion of this cost was $25,873.60.

According to Becky Zoubek. LC. LEED. AP with Olsson Associates, the energy savings is related to the fact that the new fixtures consist of LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting, which results in lower energy usage and maintenance. Zoubek said the LED light is a white light, which will result in better perception at half the energy. The LED lighting is expected to last 50.000 to 70.000 hours, about twice as long as the high-pressure sodium lighting.

The Tecumseh Public Properties crew replaced 12, 250-watt. high-pressure sodium light fixtures around the exterior of the business square, with new 156-watt. LED fixtures which produces an almost 50 percent reduction in energy usage. The crew also replaced the 13 poles consisting of five, 500-watt. high-pressure sodium ornamental fixtures around the Johnson County Courtyard with two, 116-watt LED light fixtures per pole creating a 65 percent energy savings.

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New high efficiency air conditioning unit

New high efficiency furnaces

Diller citizens enjoy newly conditioned Community Center

Diller Community Center Benefits from Recovery Act Grant

On September 13, 2010, a staff member from the Nebraska Energy Office visited the village of Diller to inspect the new Community Building/Fire Hall furnaces, air conditioners and thermostats. The installation of the new units was completed with help from a grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Three new Carrier energy efficient propane furnaces were installed as well as two energy efficient Carrier air conditioners and three new thermostats.

An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided $19,556 toward the project. The village of Diller provided $4,889 in matching funds. The total cost of the project was $24,445. The new energy efficient heating and cooling equipment is expected to save the village more than $900 a year on their heating and cooling costs. Within five years the improvements will pay for themselves and will continue to do so for another 15 years, the expected life of the equipment.

Glenn Behrends, village board chairman, is excited about the expected energy savings. “The seniors are excited about having a cool place to gather, as the old unit was struck by lightning”, Behrends said.

For a complete list of grants awarded to Nebraska communities visit the 2010 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Funded Projects List.


State Energy Program

Energy Detective Kits Presented to Calvert Elementary Fifth Graders

By Nemaha County Herald
May 31, 2012

Auburn Board of Public Works representatives presented Energy Detective Kits to fifth graders of Susan Pease at Calvert Elementary School. Kellen Conroy teaches fifth grade science at Calvert.

The kits included a student guide, student workbook and information on how parents/guardians can save money on their utilities. The kits are designed to help students conserve energy and use energy more efficiently. The fifth graders will also learn how much it costs to use electricity, said Melissa Sierks, Board of Public Works accounting and finance manager. She is also responsible for community outreach activities.

Materials presented to the teachers included Kill-A-Watt, an energy usage monitor.

Johnson-Brock Elementary Also Benefited Sierks said that Board of Public Works officials obtain credits from the Nebraska Public Power District to sponsor certain programs and activities. The programs are a partnership between Board of Public Works, Nebraska Public Power District and the Nebraska Energy Office. Part of the credits were used to provide the kits to students at Calvert and Johnson-Brock elementary schools.

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Energy Grant Helps Upgrade Mid-Plains Community College Buildings

By McCook Gazette
October 27, 2011

NORTH PLATTE, Nebraska — Mid-Plains Community College is nearing completion on upgrades to the mechanical system at the McDonald- Belton building on North Platte Community College's South Campus.

A total of six projects involving repair or renovation the college's 37-year-old heating and cooling system were paid for with $450,000 in grant money made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. An additional $21,071 was provided by college to cover contractor bids.

According to Angela Raby, MPCC Area Grant Writer, the college submitted an application to participate in the Nebraska Energy Office's Building Energy Efficiency Retrofit for State Colleges and Community Colleges program in 2010. The three main goals were to reduce the college's emissions into the environment, save dollars spent on energy costs by increasing efficiency of systems and create local jobs to make improvements.

"The Nebraska Energy Office's Retrofit program presents an incredible opportunity for our college and the communities it serves," said Dr. Michael Chipps, President of Mid-Plains Community College. "This funding will allow us to reduce annual energy expenditures as well as the footprint we leave on the environment. Once completed, these projects will allow the college to ensure that its facilities are sustainable into the foreseeable future."

Raby noted the estimated annual energy savings for the college is $ 23,522. She said the Facilities Team at NPCC has worked diligently with engineers from Farris Engineering in Omaha to determine how the college could make improvements to the existing facilities that would provide the best reductions in emissions and the fastest return on investment. After an energy audit was completed by Farris Engineering, the college chose six key projects from a nine project list of improvements.

The projects include converting the chilled and hot water systems from constant flow to variable flow; providing a new pump for the condenser water system; replacing the existing standard efficiency boilers with new, energy efficient condensing boilers; converting old pneumatic controls to state-of-the-art DDC controls; and replacing the existing hot water heater with a new water-to-water heat exchanger which utilizes hot water produced by the new condensing boiler.

Ron Axtell, Director of Physical Resources at NPCC, was heavily involved in various phases of the process, including planning, bidding, and the awarding of contracts to local businesses. Contractors selected include Charlie's North Platte Plumbing, A J Sheet Metal Inc. Heating and Air Conditioning, Rod Christmann Electric Solutions and Control Services.

Axtell said work on the six projects began in June. The heating portion of the project is expected to be complete by the end of October and the cooling portion will be complete by the end of 2011.

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Nebraska's First Wind Facility Coming Back to Life with New Direct-Drive Turbines at Springview

By Ainsworth, Star-Journal
August 3, 2011

Four years after the turbines at Nebraska's original wind farm were taken down, two new, direct-drive wind turbines now rise above the skyline west of the community at the Springview II Wind Facility. An official ribbon cutting ceremony for the new turbines was held on Friday, July 29, 2011.

Two, new direct-drive turbines were installed this summer by Bluestem, LLC, based in Omaha, which owns and operates the turbines. Bluestem, LLC, signed an agreement in November 2010 for a power purchase agreement with Nebraska Public Power District, officially bringing the site back into operation.

The two turbine towers were manufactured by Katana Summit in Columbus, the first Nebraska-built towers used on a wind facility in the state.

The two 1.5 megawatt direct-drive wind turbines are new technology in the design of utility-scale wind turbines.

Direct-drive wind turbines are significantly different than the wind turbines used at NPPD's Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility and other wind farms in Nebraska. Direct-drive turbines do not use a gear box, which is a major component used to increase the rotation speed of the large rotor to several hundred revolutions per minute for the generator. For this new technology, electric inverters are used to synchronize the generator into the grid versus using gearboxes.

The two turbines are the Vensys 77 model with the rotor (includes the blades and hub) diameter being 252 feet with hub height at 213 feet. The blades and rotor weigh 38 metric tons, the tower structure 90 metric tons, and the generator 42 metric tons. A total of 300 yards of concrete was used in the pad mounts for each tower.

Rotor speed is 17.5 revolutions per minute, and the wind speed rated output for the turbines is 29 miles per hour.

The power purchase agreement is for 20 years, with NPPD purchasing the electric energy produced by the turbines and sharing with Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska and the City of Grand Island. Bluestem, LLC, is responsible for maintenance of the turbines. Energy generated from the two turbines is interconnected into the Ainsworth-based KBR Rural Public Power District electric distribution system.

The original turbines at Springview began operation in 1998 as a demonstration project to verify turbine technology available at that time, and to prove the efficiency and reliability of wind energy at distribution voltages in Nebraska.

In 2007, after nearly 10 years of operation, the two 750-kilowatt wind turbines at the Springview Wind Energy Facility were retired. Lack of available replacement parts, significant maintenance issues as the units aged and the opportunity to sell the turbines at an attractive price, were the prime reasons for the decision to retire the units. The equipment was eventually sold to FPL Energy LLC, of Juno Beach, FL.

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Reed's Food Center store clerk Jody Bailey stocks produce in new energy efficient coolers. The store owners recently updated all of their cases and have seen a dramatic change in energy consumption.

Reed's Food Center Goes "Green"
Store Updates to Energy efficient Cases

When the cost of overhead to run a small-town grocery store doesn't pencil out, the trend is to down-size or simply shut the door and walk away. John and Gail Reed, owners of Reed's Food Center in Arnold, are keeping costs down and their door open by "going green."

John said even with equipment that had been updated only four or five years ago, recouping the store's energy costs just wasn't feasible. In the first five months of 2010, the cost of electricity was around $11,500.00. In the next four months, paying summer rates, that amount jumped to some $16,500.00, and the year wasn't even over.

John and Gail began discussing their options 1 1/2 years ago. At first, John considered replacing only the freezers and spoke with Pinnacle Bank Manager Larry Moran. Larry found information from the Nebraska Department of Energy that there were low interest loans available, which John said, made it feasible to replace everything. The total cost to upgrade came in at $197,000.00.

"We piggybacked that to get a low energy grant through the USDA for $49,000.00," said John. "Larry and the girls did all of the paperwork. They really worked hard."

On February 3, the store began replacing all high energy equipment with energy efficient equipment. By the third week in February, all of the cases were in place and re-setting began.

John said the cost to run the old cases was about $1.00 a day per fluorescent bulb per door. Just one frozen food case could cost $300.00 to $400.00 per month to operate. The cost for new LED lighting alone will pay for itself in just 10 months.

"(The bulbs) produce less heat and use very little electricity," said John.

The compressor system, which used to be in the basement, is now on the main level, and takes 22 hp to run the whole store, compared to the old 42 hp. Temperature sensors in each case will maintain a constant temperature. If one goes down, a spare will come on and maintain that case. An alarm system is tied into the phone system, and will first call John. If there is no answer, the system will go to the refrigeration company. Whoever is there can dial up on the computer, locate the problem and possibly re-set the case without traveling to Arnold.

"Hopefully, running down to the store will be a thing of the past, and the repair bills should go away," said John.

The new equipment will keep costs down, the perishables will stay fresher longer and there will be less freezer burn.

The old equipment was scrapped, and the money will be donated to the high school athletic fund.

John said with the USDA grant, and a 50 to 60 percent savings on utility bills, it should take only eight years to pay off the loan.

"My $100,000.00 question that I get all the time now is, 'What are you going to do about the floor?'" said John.

And the answer is: the floor will be replaced in the future. John is currently waiting on bids for installation of an industrial, wood grain, low maintenance floor.

Gail and the Reeds' granddaughter, Madison, are painting the walls, and Madison has a special design in mind for the front of the store. When all is finished, the store will hold a re-grand-opening.

"We did this project as an investment back to our community," said John. "This was our fifth upgrade. It was either do this or just start shutting cases down. If we did that, people would go elsewhere. We decided this has been our home since 1979, and the community has been pretty good to us. We wanted to give the town a nice store to shop in. If we decide to sell in five or six years, the store will be all updated and a going business.

John, who is the current president of the Arnold Economic Development Corporation, said the AEDC's priority is to maintain the services the town has.

"I'm optimistic," he said. "Everything goes in cycles. The community can get out of their town what they put into it, is my feeling."

News article on Reed's Food Center.


Blower – pumps Biogas from digester to RTO

Gas Train in enclosure and RTO inlet nozzle for biogas

AGP Corn Processing, Inc.

By Holly Jessen, Ethanol Producer Magazine
June 9, 2010

A 52 MMgy ethanol plant in Hastings, Neb., recently received a $275,000 grant from the Nebraska Energy Office. AGP Corn Processing will use the money, plus $50,000 of its own matching funds for a project that will offset a portion of the plant's natural gas usage.

The company recently completed a renovation of its anaerobic wastewater digester, said John Campbell, senior vice president of Ag Processing Inc. (AGP), which operates the ethanol plant. The grant money will be used to capture methane gas and pipe it over to a regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO). That means reduced pollution as well as using less natural gas, which is what is currently powering the RTO. "We'll start it in the very near future and hopefully have it done in the next six months, Campbell told EPM.

AGP is a farmer-owned cooperative that works in the areas of procurement, processing, marketing, and transportation of grains and grain products, such as corn and soybeans. The bulk of the company's work is with soybeans, which includes two biodiesel facilities. In addition, AGP operates nine soybean processing plants, six of which are located in Iowa. The remaining three are in Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska.

In April the company announced it was undertaking a multimillion-dollar expansion project at its Port of Grays Harbor facility in Aberdeen, Wash. The company plans to build a new handling and storage facility located next to its existing trans-load facility, with construction expected to begin this fall and the project scheduled for completion in early 2012. The expanded facility will provide a gateway destination for soybean meal, grains, distillers grains, gluten meal, and beet pulp pellets. "In addition to strengthening AGP's cooperative processing platform, the expanded facility will provide additional market destinations for our members's corn and soybeans" said Brad Davis, AGP's president and chairman of the board.

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Photographs: Morrissey Engineering

Morrissey Engineering

Morrissey Engineering, was selected as one of 8 recipients of an Advanced Renewable Energy Project Grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The grant provided $72,884 toward the project. Morrissey, provided $12,862 in matching funds. The total cost of the project was $85,746.

Morrissey Engineering’s commitment to sustainable design includes the use of renewable energy. Their 4940 Building captures energy from renewable resources such as sunlight, wind and ground-source energy, all of which can be monitored in real time.

These renewable energy sources combined with other energy-reducing components have helped Morrissey achieve a 38 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to an average building of similar occupancy and geographic location. The 4940 Building has also attained an approximate 48 percent savings in utilities compared to an ASHRAE 90.1 baseline building.

Solar Electric

Morrissey's solar energy system includes a 5.5kW photovoltaic design based around the Sanyo HIP-195DA3 double sided photovoltaic module. This unique module is mounted at a 30 degree tilt facing south and collects sunlight like a standard module. A thin film coating of photovoltaic material on the reverse side also allows the module to receive radiance reflected from their highly reflective white membrane roof. The power produced from the reverse side is not reflected in the module’s 195 watt rating and can contribute as much as 30 percent in extra energy production. Four strings of seven modules are connected to a SMA SB7000 inverter that converters the DC voltage to AC voltage and safely interconnects to grid power. Energy that is produced is consumed by the building and directly offsets the electricity that would otherwise be imported from the electric grid.

Sensors located in close proximity to the PV modules provide information on ambient temperature, sunlight and wind speed three feet above the roof.


Morrissey Engineering supplements its heating and cooling through a ground source energy transfer system. Liquid is pumped through 80 boreholes each drilled to a depth of 100 feet. With this liquid, heat is removed from the office space and transferred to the ground in the summer. During the winter, heat from the earth is used to heat the office space. Four 2-inch circuits of 20 holes each comprise the loop system designed by Morrissey Engineering. This is served by 13 geothermal heat pumps ranging in size from 1.5 to four tons for a total installed capacity of 38 tons.


A 4.5kW vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) is part of Morrissey Engineering’s renewable energy portfolio. VAWT’s are designed and marketed to produce power in locations where turbulent wind patterns prevent traditional horizontal axis wind turbines from operating well, such as in close proximity to a rooftop. This turbine serves as an example of the latest technology in VAWT design.

For more information on Morrissey Engineering use the following link:

Metropolitan Utilities District to Build Two Compressed Natural Gas Stations
Nebraska Energy Office Low Interest Loan Used to Finance Project

OMAHA – Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) will construct two new compressed natural gas fueling (CNG) stations with the help of a 10-year, 2.5% Dollar and Energy Saving loan for more than $2.2 million from the Nebraska Energy Office and its lending partner, First National Bank of Omaha. The two stations, planned to open in June 2011, will be located at 54th and L Streets near Happy Cab and at the north gate of M.U.D.’s 63rd and Center Street facility. Each station will cost $1.1 million.

“We are very pleased Governor Heineman and the State Energy Office provided us this opportunity to save our customers money in providing a clean alternative fuel option,” said M.U.D. Board Chairperson David Friend. “Tighter emissions controls on cars and trucks, concern about reliance on foreign oil, and large domestic reserves of natural gas make compressed natural gas vehicles the obvious choice for our customers to save money and protect the environment.”

“The Nebraska Energy Office was able to provide a low interest rate loan for this sizeable project using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” said Ginger Willson, Director of the Energy Office. “This project helps a local utility accomplish a goal to broaden transportation fuel options for the public and lessen the state’s dependence on foreign imported fuel. Anyone who wants a loan to purchase a CNG vehicle should give the Energy Office a call.”

Dollar and Energy Saving and Loans have been available since 1990 to assist Nebraskans make energy efficiency improvements in homes, businesses and systems. Loans are available at 2.5% or less to homeowners, businesses, K-12 schools and government entities for energy efficient improvements to existing structures as well as alternative fuel vehicles through March 31, 2011. A low interest loan also is available for the construction of Energy Star Five Star Plus homes. To date, 26,230 projects totaling nearly $230 million in improvements have been financed. The loans are available through Nebraska lenders and the agency purchases a portion of the loan to reduce the interest rate.

The primary advantage of CNG is lower cost. With gasoline prices projected to reach $5 a gallon in 2012, now is the best time to consider a CNG vehicle purchase. For example, the January price for CNG was $1.29 per gasoline gas equivalent (GGE), a savings of nearly $1.70 a gallon. CNG prices on average have been $1.50 less per GGE. Vehicle costs are higher and vary by model, however those costs can be offset or eliminated over the life of the vehicle through fuel savings and other incentives.

Compressed natural gas is a clean, affordable alternative to gasoline and diesel fuel, and can help reduce America’s foreign oil dependency. America’s vast abundance of domestic natural gas is one of the nation’s solutions to increase domestic energy production and national security. Currently, 98% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. comes from North America while 70% of the oil used is imported from many unstable regions of the world.

For more information on the press release use the following link:

Nebraska’s First Lady, Sally Ganem, introduces 5th grade Prescott Elementary School students to the Energy Detective.
Photograph: Lincoln Electric System

Nebraska Energy Office Director, Ginger Willson, tells the class how the energy kits they received will help them save energy and water at home.
Photograph: Lincoln Electric System

The Energy Detective tells the students how to use the energy kit to find clues to help save energy at home.
Photograph: Lincoln Electric System

Marc Shkolnick (L) and Kevin Wailes, CEO and Chief Administrator, Lincoln Electric System answer students questions about ways to save energy.
Photograph: Lincoln Electric System

Nebraska Energy Office and 79 Utilities Provide Energy Saving Kits for up to 24,000 Elementary School Students

A new Energy Detective has landed in many Nebraska schools. The new energy education program featuring an Energy Detective Kit provides fifth grade science students and their families practical knowledge on environmental issues and offers tools to increase energy and water efficiency at home, while decreasing monthly utility bills.

The energy education program is a joint initiative of the Nebraska Energy Office and 79 utilities:

  • Nebraska Public Power District;
  • Omaha Public Power District;
  • Metropolitan Utilities District; and
  • Lincoln Electric System; municipally operated systems in:
        Arapahoe, Auburn, Battle Creek, Bayard, Beatrice, Brainard, Cambridge, Central City, Cozad, Crete, Curtis, Davenport, David City, Deshler, Dorchester, Fairmont, Falls City, Fremont, Friend, Giltner, Gothenburg, Grand Island, Hampton, Hemingford, Hastings, Hebron, Hildreth, Holdrege, Leigh, Lexington, Lodgepole, Lyons, Madison, Minden, Neligh, North Platte, Ord, Polk, Prague, Randolph, Sargent, Schuyler, Scribner, Seward, South Sioux City, Superior, Wahoo, Wakefield, Wayne, Walthill and West Point and rural electric systems including Butler, Cedar-Knox, Cornhusker, Cuming County, Custer, Dawson, Elkhorn, Howard Greeley, KBR,Loup, Loup Valleys, McCook, Niobrara Valley, Norris, North Central, Northeast Nebraska, Perennial, Polk, South Central, Southern, Southwest Stanton County, and Twin Valleys.

The energy education activity encourages students to work with their families on home retrofit and auditing projects, while generating immediate energy savings. As a part of the activity, energy and water use will be investigated and quantified. The studies include renewable and non-renewable resources, energy generation history and energy saving practices. An Energy Detective-themed kit will be given to each 5th grader to take home and install the energy devices in the kit. The student reports back to the teacher how the family participated.

In one activity, students replace a traditional incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent lamp. A compact fluorescent lamp can last up to ten times longer and use 75 percent less energy than a regular incandescent light bulb. This small change can equal big savings.

Students become eligible for the no-cost Energy Detective Kits by attending a school in a participating utility’s service area. The curriculum, which meets Nebraska’s State Education Standards for Science and Math, has been developed by Resource Action Programs, a national leader in providing energy education materials.

Across the state, up to 24,000 elementary 5th grade students in public, private and home school classrooms can be involved in the energy education activities. The energy program is jointly funded by participating electric and natural gas utilities and has been partially paid with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds administered by the Nebraska Energy Office.

Schools and utilities wanting to participate in the energy education program can contact Jerry Loos at 402.471.3356 or

For more information on the press release use the following links:

Nebraska Public Power District Solar Energy Project in Norfolk

The Nebraska Public Power District attached the last of 147 individual solar panels, or modules, to a large photovoltaic (PV) array south of the District's new Norfolk Operations Center. Construction was completed by Sept. 23, 2010.

Once commissioned, the 35-ft. by 70-ft. PV system will directly convert sunlight to electric energy. The SunCarrier PV array will generate approximately 45 kilowatts of energy, or enough power to supply roughly 7 percent of the Center's total electric energy requirements.

Besides supplying renewable, carbon-free energy to NPPD's newest operations, maintenance and customer service facility, the PV system will be a key component to the building's educational offerings. Via an interactive kiosk located inside the facility, students and the general public will be able to access, among other energy- and industry-related information, real-time data on the PV's operation.

The new PV array was purchased from a German company, a+f GmbH at a cost of $413,685, funded in large part by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Department of Energy, State Energy Program Grant from the Nebraska Energy Office. The grant paid for 83 percent of the system's cost.

Although these PV systems are somewhat common in Europe (more than 1,700 have been built there), NPPD's PV array is the first of its kind to be erected in the U.S.

Norfolk operations center photovoltaic installation time lapse video



Cedar Apartments
Cedar Apartments

Cedars Kids
“Thank You” message from some of the Cedar Apartment's children.
Photograph: Cedar Apartments

43 Homes Weatherized at Cedar Apartments in Ogallala

November 30, 2011

Cedar Apartments in Ogallala are more energy efficient thanks to free weatherization services from Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska and the Nebraska Energy Office.

The apartment complex received $89,652.24 for a $90,034.24 project to install energy efficient windows, digital thermostats, bathroom exhaust fans, compact fluorescent lighting and install efficient insulation in attics and pipe insulation. A total of 43 units at Cedars were weatherized through the cost-sharing agreement.

The Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska made the initial inspections and managed project’s sub-contractors. Window replacements were installed by Mirror Construction, Inc., the digital thermostats were installed by Hansen Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Inc. and the compact fluorescent light bulbs, bathroom exhaust fans, attics, pipe insulation and air sealing measures and final inspection was performed by Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska. Work began on August 8 and was completed on September 23, 2011.



Appliance Rebates

Nebraska Retailers Set Sales Records with Appliance Rebates

Nebraska retailers were excited about the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which exceeded expectations for consumer demand.

Consumers flocked to stores when the program started on July 6, 2010. The program offered rebates between $100 and $250 on ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerators, clothes washers, dishwashers, gas and propane furnaces, central air conditioners, and air source heat pumps. Funds were exhausted in just four days.

"We achieved record sales volumes during the program," explains a happy Jim McGinn of Nebraska Furniture Mart in Omaha. "We nearly doubled our previous one-day sales record!"

On the first day, almost 500 people were in line before Nebraska Furniture Mart opened its doors. "We were surprised by how many people showed up, even though we were prepared and opened early," says McGinn.

Ginger Wilson, Director of the Nebraska Energy Office, which administered the state's program, attributes its success in part to communication with retailers. "The agency worked with retailers for months so they knew which appliances were eligible and provided training so the rebate process ran smoothly," says Wilson.

Consumer demand was so high that Nebraska officials transferred over $200,000 from its administration funding to rebate funding, adding to the $1.5 million originally planned for the rebates.

For More Information Contact

State contact: Jerry Loos, 402-471-3356

DOE contact: Lani MacRae, 202-586-9193

Visit: and


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