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February 2, 2013

Arena to get lighting upgrade

— The Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission recently awarded $15,000 in grant money from the Appalachian Regional Commission to three agencies, including the Cambria County War Memorial, the Nanty Glo Public Library and the Huntingdon County Courthouse.

At the War Memorial, the grant money is set to go toward installing energy efficient “T8” lamps and ballasts and to replace older, discontinued “T12” models. Additional improvements are planned.

“This is just the start of what we’re trying to do,” said Tom Grenell, acting general manager at the arena. “We’re also looking at geothermal lighting for the arena – anything that we can try and invest into our facility, we’re going to give it a try.”

Cambria County grant facilitator John Dubnansky has, according to Grenell, done all the “heavy lifting” for the project thus far. Dubnansky said the arena could save about $4,000 yearly in energy upkeep.

“Ultimately, this lighting improvement project is just part of an initiative by the county to make the War Memorial more efficient and less costly to operate,” Dubnansky said.

The grant totals were dollar-matched by external sponsors and the arena will be receiving about $20,000 total for mapping out and installing the new T8 lamps in the concourse. Half of that came out of a $50,000 grant from the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, the remainder of which will be put toward future projects in the area.

The other half was awarded in the fall through the Penelec Energy Sustainability Fund, by Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

Southern Alleghenies estimates that switching to greener lighting can add up to significant savings in energy for venues, businesses and facilities, especially for those with 24-hour lights.

“Combined, when you change out the lamp and the ballast, you can get up to roughly 30 percent savings,” said Chris Roland, regional energy coordinator for the commission.

Grenell says he and the arena staff are “very excited.”

“We’re trying to minimize our carbon footprint and also to stretch out taxpayer resources as far as we can,” he said. “Our goal is to competitively shop around so that our grant money goes the farthest.”

Just how many old lamps and ballasts the arena can afford to replace is still being determined. But, Grenell assured this project is merely in line with the grander renovation plans they’d like to execute in the years to come.

“We’re trying to make the nicest, newest-looking War Memorial that we can have,” he said.

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