Published November 1977 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Keeping Schools Warm As the winter months approach, most homeowners are preparing for the cold weather with better insulation, weather stripping, and other energy-saving additions to houses they occupy or own. Memories of last winter's difficulties, the rising cost of home heating fuels, and the President's call to the nation to save energy wherever possible, have all encouraged these moves. However, it has become apparent that some public buildings will not be part of the conservation efforts taking place this year. There are not sufficient funds in local and state government treasuries to handle the installation costs involved, and there is a lack of expertise in exactly what steps to take in some areas. Public and nonprofit educational institutions and hospitals are high on the list of buildings which consume significant amounts of energy during the winter. These buildings are also those which are most likely to place heavy burdens on local taxpayers due to rising energy costs. The implementation of energy-conserving maintenance and operating procedures and the installation of energy-conserving equipment would save substantial amounts of energy and would also reduce costs to the public in the long run. In an effort to assist states and local areas to solve this problem, the Senate has passed legislation which would provide grants to elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and public or non-profit hospitals. These funds would be used to evaluate and implement energy-efficient procedures and equipment. The federal government would provide up to 50 percent of the cost of approved projects, and each state would be required to develop a plan for the evaluation and installation of energy-conservation measures. Each state plan would also contain an estimate of the energy savings and cost effectiveness of projects approved for that state. Through this program, tax dollars would be returned to local communities to be invested in projects which would provide lower costs for the operation of necessary public facilities. In addition, the energy savings across the nation would be significant. In our fight for energy solutions, the conservation of both fuel and dollars at the community level is of great importance. I believe the Senate's legislation would assist in that goal.