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For Slayton, green becoming a way of life

Pictured are windows that Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton will replace with new energy efficient windows through a CERT grant that was awarded to the church in December. (Erin Trester/Daily Globe)

SLAYTON — Potential savings of at least $2,000 are inspiring the city of Slayton to “go green.”

The city of Slayton and Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton are among 34 businesses and organizations awarded Seed Grants as part of Minnesota’s Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT) to catalyze energy efficient and renewable energy projects.

Many projects include components of education, outreach and community building and research. The city of Slayton was awarded $2,000 to replace 25 700-watt high-pressure, sodium cobra-head- style street lights on Broadway Avenue.

The city of Slayton is working to replace Broadway Avenue’s street lights with 25 55-watt LED retrofitted units to reduce energy use and energy costs and to increase energy efficiency while simultaneously increasing safety and security for Slayton’s downtown pedestrians and businesses.

“Each light head is $1,800. Overall, this project costs about $20,000, and the CERT grant only covers the labor cost,” explained Slayton City Administrator Josh Malchow. “So the city applied for a rebate from Xcel Energy and received $5,000 to go toward this project as well.”

With the extra money awarded, the city will be able to pay off this project in less than 10 years.

The city will start replacing the lights this spring, and the city will see immediate savings.

“The city will see 66 percent savings,” Malchow explained. “Right now, we’re paying about $2,280 a year on the 25 street lights. With the new lights, it will go down to $750 a year.”

The city is also attempting to partner with Xcel Energy to replace all of the lights in the city with the new LED lights.

“The city personally owns the lights on Broadway, but the rest of them are co-owned by Xcel,” Malchow said. “That’s why we can’t replace them all, but we’re hoping we can make that happen.” 

The new LED lights are not only more energy efficient, but are reliable and have a cleaner look, explained Malchow.

“These lights are expected to last over 10 years; with the old ones we were replacing them every five to six years,” Malchow said. “They are also safer, they produce more lumens — a measure of the total amount of visible light — which means it is easier to see other vehicles and pedestrians at night.” 

“The lights have a very white and clean look to them, which I think will spruce up the street more and make it look nicer than the yellow-looking color that the current lights emit,” he added. 

The project is expected to be completed by the end of June. Next year, the city will apply again for the CERT grant to replace all its security lights with the new LED lights.

“The city owns all of the security lights that are in parks and that light up signs, and we’d like to replace those ones as well because — again — the cost adds up,” Malchow said. 

In addition to the city receiving CERT grant money, Christ Lutheran Church in Slayton received $5,000 to replace 15 of its 25 original windows with energy efficient windows.

This project will be shared with and described to others by including church members in the project. 

Volunteer members will learn from a contractor and then help with the work, thereby learning or refining a skill set transferable to similar projects at home or elsewhere in the community.

The entire congregation will learn from the process and benefit from the energy savings provided by the new windows.

“Part of the grant was not only to improve energy efficiency, but also education,” said Tom Klein, former president of Christ Lutheran Church. 

Klein, who began working on the window project during his term as congregational president, has remained involved with the project since Pam Schreier, current president, took over.

“We’ve been talking about this window project for years,” Klein said. “I’ve been a part of a number of different committees for the past six years, and in each one we’ve talked about updating the windows.”

Parishioner Amy Rucker, who is Murray County’s Economic Development director, started drafting the grant along with Klein and Schreier back in August. 

“I think we put this together in three weeks and got it sent out,” Rucker said. “We found out in early December that we had been awarded the grant.”

The windows being replaced are on the north side of the building where offices, the church library and the nursery are located.

“We’re replacing the north side because we thought of the north wind and the cold,” Klein said. “Most of them are so old that they let drafts in.”

The current windows, which are from the original building in 1959, are only single-paned, and the new ones will be double-paned. 

“The total project costs about $46,000, and we’re about $10,000 short, but we’re replacing what all that we can,” Klein said. 

The replacement of the windows will begin in the spring, and parishioners young and old are invited to help.

“We’re hoping to get new groups in every day to help with the project,” Klein said. “I think this is great for the community, and we want as many people involved as possible.” 

How much savings the church will see is yet to be determined.

“It’s hard to say what we’ll save — I didn’t get exact dollar figures on how much,” Rucker said. “However, I think as soon as we replace the windows so there won’t be a draft coming in, we’ll see savings.”

As for the future, Klein was unsure if the congregation would re-apply for the grant next year, or what future projects the church has in store.

“I think if we can determine if we have the funds to start another project, we definitely will, but I can’t say for sure what that will be,” he said.

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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