REC money should be reinvested

To the editor:

My wife, Sandy, and I returned to Oberlin last year when we determined that we wanted to spend our retirement years here. This is the community we love and are proud, again, to be residents of. I’m aware that the issue of how to use the Renewable Energy Credit dollars has been a much-discussed topic.

I’ve just retired from a career in facilities maintenance administration. I began my career as an electrician at Oberlin College in 1972 and left as the director of buildings and grounds in 1998. I went on to become the director of facilities services at Case Western Reserve University until my retirement this past August.

The reason I point out my history is that throughout those 40-plus years working in facilities maintenance organizations, with very large utilities budgets, I’ve been involved in the practical, management side of energy conservation and sustainability initiatives where things have to work and pay back.

On both campuses, I initiated many energy conservation measures, beginning with incandescent to fluorescent retrofits in the late 1970s at Oberlin and finishing with many projects including LED retrofits and solar arrays at Case Western Reserve University. In all of these efforts, I tracked the results to confirm the reduction in consumption and cost. As often as I was able to, I identified cost savings and earmarked those savings for reinvestment in addition ECMs. Energy conservation is not a “once and done” exercise. New technologies are constantly being developed to achieve more efficiency and better service at lower costs. One need not look any further than lighting to see how technology has advanced. Four watts now does what 100 watts used to do and gives better lighting at lower cost.

Good business and management practices suggest that the money received from the Renewable Energy Credits should be reinvested in continuing to reduce the community’s consumption of fossil fuels and achieve the stated goal of climate neutrality while lowering costs to residents.

I believe that a plan must be developed to achieve this goal.

Gene Matthews