Corn Belt grant helps energy efficiency at Normal West

Normal Community West High School
Officials from Corn Belt Energy presented Unit 5 a $50,000 grant to help pay for energy efficiency improvements at Normal West High School. (Photo by Hillary Cherry/Corn Belt Energy)

By Eric Stock

NORMAL – Unit 5 is getting a grant to help cover the cost of energy efficiency upgrades at Normal West High School.

Corn Belt Energy is issuing a $50,000 grant after Unit 5 implemented a series of energy-saving efforts, including a new automated heating and cooling system.

Unit 5 Facilities Director Doug Johnson said Normal West has cut its monthly energy bill by $12,500.

“We are just trying to think of ways to improve our operations fund,” Johnson said.

The renovations cost $1 million. The district also received a $144,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help defray the cost.

Corn Belt’s Marketing & Member Services Manager Justin Stuva said Corn Belt is also working to expand the number of unit 5 schools that generate geothermal energy.

“Their passion to use funds wisely, to find those opportunities where that low-hanging fruit that they can pick and end up saving that money,” Stuva said. “They have very limited funds to work with.”

Eric Stock can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…