Eastpointe Community Schools is among the first districts in Michigan to use an innovative finance tool to fund energy-saving upgrades and other improvements in district buildings.
The district was recognized at the Energy Services Coalition -- Michigan Chapter's annual awards event for its energy efficiency improvements, which it funded through a tax-exempt lease purchase (TELP). The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy was a sponsor of the event.
The TELP financing tool only became available to schools in 2017, after state legislation enabled them to take advantage of it. Previously, only local units of government could use the tool.
Facing budget challenges and aging infrastructure, the Macomb County district tackled several objectives (reducing energy costs, decreasing operational risk, improving student comfort, upgrading infrastructure, and more) through using a performance contract in conjunction with the new TELP tool.
With the creative financing, the school district’s improvements include:
The changes will save 1,182,167 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 4,172 thousand cubic feet of natural gas, which is equivalent to 1,066 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
TELP allowed the district to borrow funds over a 15-year period, using savings from the energy efficiency upgrades to cover debt service payments. Additionally, the TELP financing was competitive with other types of financing and does not count toward the district's debt limit.