MONTGOMERY— A $135,000 economic stimulus grant awarded by Gov. Bob Riley will help the Russell County School System reduce its utility bills by upgrading equipment at Russell County High School.
The grant will enable the purchase of eight high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps to replace inefficient heating and air conditioning units that are 21 years old.
"Improvements to boost energy efficiency are a good investment," Riley said. "The energy-saving steps taken by Russell County Schools will save taxpayers thousands of dollars over the coming years."
The new heat pumps will take advantage of the relatively constant temperature of the earth a few feet below the surface to help produce heated and cooled air for the school. Geothermal heat pumps use 25 percent to 50 percent less electricity than conventional heating and air conditioning systems, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
School system officials say the new units will reduce maintenance expenses and provide cleaner air in classrooms. The school's science teachers will use the units as an on-site teaching tool for geothermal energy.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant which Riley awarded from funds made available by the U.S. Energy Department as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.