Sidney Community School District in southwest Iowa faced a tough situation at the beginning of this winter. They needed a new boiler in their elementary school, and fast. Energy Association of Iowa Schools (EAIS) made sure the school went through the correct channels to receive a more than $10,000 rebate from their natural gas utility. “Without the help of EAIS, we may not have gotten a rebate at all,” explains Superintendent Tim Hood.

Repairs to the boiler would have cost nearly as much as replacing it with a more energy efficient unit, making for an easy decision for district officials.

For starters, they wanted to make sure they got the most energy efficient boiler as possible. EAIS helped the district in choosing the most energy efficient boiler, as well contacting the local utility, Black Hills Energy, and walking the district through the paces of getting a rebate.

The biggest surprise was yet to come.

Hood said that the type of rebate the district was initially looking at was around $800. Instead, because EAIS helped Sidney Schools change its natural gas tariff to one that qualifies for energy efficiency building audits and rebates, Black Hills Energy committed to an energy efficiency rebate incentive of $10,730.

That’s a rebate that covered nearly a quarter of the $44,000 bill for the new boiler.

“That’s a very substantial difference and it’s because of the diligence of EAIS,” Hood said. “It’s all because of the time and effort they put into it. Anytime you’re looking at rebates, the process can be cumbersome and time consuming. EAIS helped with that process and getting it done within the timeframe needed.”

The savings is twofold. Because the new boiler is so much more energy efficient, it will pay for itself with energy savings in three or four years. With the large rebate on top of that, the district will have its new boiler paid for even sooner. And anytime districts can save money on energy, those resources can go into educational needs.

“We penny-pinch just like anyone else does,” Hood said. “I tell people all the time, some of the best money we spend is that one-dollar (per student) membership to EAIS. It’s a good program. It’s very beneficial for our district, our kids and our staff. We’ve been very happy with our membership with EAIS.”