Energy efficiency and audit projects

The Ashville Volunteer Fire Company (127 Pine St., Ashville, PA 16613) was awarded a grant of $16,000 in 2016 for LED lighting upgrades.

The Benedictine Sisters of Erie (6101 East Lake Road, Erie PA 16511) was awarded a grant of $25,000 in 2016 for LED lighting installation.

Bethany Children’s Home (1863 Bethany Road, Womelsdorf PA 19567) received a grant from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund at Berks County Community Foundation to spend $10,000 on an energy audit of 20 buildings on its campus in Heidelberg Township.

The audit outlined $868,000 in improvements that focused on upgrading from oil heat to natural gas, replacing hot water heaters, adding insulation, upgrading lighting and replacing windows.

These changes would save the nonprofit about $100,000 per year, meaning the cost could be repaid in energy savings within a decade.

Bethany Children’s Home pursued several of those improvements, including conversion to natural gas, and in 2015 secured $370,000 in loans from the Met Ed Fund and the Pennsylvania Electric Company Sustainable Energy Fund.

Bethel-Tulpehocken Public Library (8601 Lancaster Avenue, Bethel PA 19507) was awarded a grant of $10,000.00 in 2016 for lighting and air conditioning upgrades.

Blacklick Valley Foundation & Ambulance (1077 First St., Nanty Glo, PA 15943) was awarded a grant of $7,200 in 2015 for an energy audit.

Boyertown Lions Ambulance (2 East Second Street, Boyertown, PA 19522) was awarded a grant of $4,877 in 2015 for an energy audit.

Clay on Main (313 Main Street, Oley, PA 19547) was a awarded a grant of $8,200 in 2015 for an energy audit.

Concurrent Technologies Corporation (100 CTC Drive, Johnstown PA 15904) was awarded a grant of $15,000 in 2016 for a water reuse system for energy efficiency.

The Johnstown Business District Development Corporation (301 Franklin St., Johnstown, PA 15901) was awarded a $500,000 loan in 2014 and a $300,000 loan in 2015 to support renovations to transform the 1908 flatiron Conrad Building into a modern education center.

Gautier Steel interior

“This has been a long time coming and we’re very excited about this,” said Jacqueline Kulback, CFO & Controller at Gautier Steel.

Work had begun to fulfill the company’s first customer order of steel plates. Eventually, it will be rolling titanium and other specialty metals.

“This idea started years ago. Our facility had the capacity to do this based on our size and the carbon rolling that we do. But we needed a separate system to be installed for specialty metals,” said Kulback. “After a year of building and rebuilding this, we’re finally watching everything come together. This is huge for this area.”

The Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies got a behind-the-scenes look as the mill did its early test runs. In 2015, Gautier Steel received a $25,000 grant and a $500,000 loan from the SEF to help to complete the nearly $20 million project.

Gautier Steel

“This project was a great mission-fit for the SEF for several reasons,” said Angie Berzonski, Foundation Program & Communications Officer. “The grant will be used for an LED lighting retrofit for their office building. That alone is expected decrease their energy usage by about 140,000 kWh and save them almost $10,000 annually. But the installation of the new mill has been engineered to be extremely energy efficient, and that is why we were also able to award a $500,000 loan for this project. The variable frequency drive controls on the motors will save 2.8 million kWh and $199,080 annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,565 metric tons. In addition, they have upgraded their water treatment plant so that they can filter and recycle the water needed for the system, and that is anticipated to save 630,969 kWh and $44,168 annually, and reduce emissions by 435 metric tons.”

Beyond the energy efficiency, funding this project will help to create and sustain jobs in the Johnstown region. Gautier Steel currently employs just under 100 workers, and they expect to add up to 40 more once the mill is ramped up to full production. One of the mill’s anticipated clients is the U.S. Department of Defense because the titanium plates that will be rolled here can be used by the military for its armored vehicles. “The energy savings are the primary interest of the SEF, but it is also particularly interested in projects that have positive economic impact on the region it serves. This project certainly meets that part of its mission, too,” explained Berzonski.

There are several factors that make this project unique. One, the energy efficient drive controls are being used on two refurbished WWII-era Westinghouse motors that have been brought in from Alabama, repurposed, and rebuilt. Two, there is nothing else like this being done in the area. Three, it is using recycled water from the Quemahoning Reservoir.

“This is monumental for us as a company and for the area,” said Kulback. “We see this quickly expanding as the need continues to grow. This is a $5.1 billion dollar industry. Everyone at Gautier Steel is excited for what this new capability has to offer for not just the company, but the region.”

Almost 1,000 lights at Kutztown University were replaced with environmentally-friendly LEDs through a $35,000 grant from the Metropolitan Edison Company Sustainable Energy Fund of Berks County Community Foundation. The grant was awarded to the Kutztown University Foundation, which pursued funding for the lighting.

The light-emitting diodes (LEDs) consume less energy, last years longer and reduce mercury used in on-campus lighting.

At the O’Pake Field House, 960 lights were replaced. At the nearby tennis courts, more than two dozen light fixtures were also replaced with lamps that accommodate LEDs.

New meters to measure the use of the new LEDs provide detailed information on energy savings, which are to be used toward funding Kutztown University’s other sustainability upgrades.

Replacing the lights when they burn out is a time-consuming operation that regularly takes at least two employees working with a specialized lift, said Tom Green, Director of Facilities Energy Management and Campus Utilities.

“The Kutztown University Foundation is grateful to the Berks County Community Foundation for its grant from the Metropolitan Edison Company’s Sustainable Energy Fund,” said Tracey Thompson, KU Foundation executive director.

The projects are part of the university’s sustainability initiative. Kutztown University is striving to bring sustainability to every facet of student life and learning, from equipment updates for lower and cleaner campus energy usage to education that enhances students’ understanding of and behaviors for conservation.

Mary’s Shelter is a nonprofit organization that provides housing and support for women from several Pennsylvania counties who are homeless and pregnant.

In 2006, the shelter began conversations with the military to move into the former Naval Reserve Center on Kenhorst Boulevard in Reading. The organization acquired the building in 2011 through a Base Realignment and Closure process. The acquisition allows Mary’s Shelter to combine its operations into one facility and to increase its community outreach programming.

As part of a $2.8 million renovation of the property, the shelter plans to replace some of the building’s HVAC system, including an energy-efficient boiler. The boiler had been running at 55% efficiency. The new boiler is expected to run at an efficiency rate in the 85-88% range.

In 2017, the Met-Ed / Penelec fund agreed to provide a $26,000 grant toward the $46,000 cost of the new boiler.

Meadville Public Library (848 North Main Street, Meadville PA 16335) was awarded a grant of $10,000.00 in 2016 for an energy audit.

Punxsutawney Area Arts & Rec Center (220 North Jefferson St., Punxsutawney, PA 15767) was awarded a grant of $3,900 in 2015 for an energy audit.

Railroaders Heritage Corporation (1300 Ninth Ave., Altoona PA 16602) was awarded a grant of $4,085 in 2015 for an energy audit.

The City of Reading was awarded a grant of $10,000 in 2015 to conduct an energy audit of the Northeast Branch of the Reading Public Library.

The Saxton Volunteer Fire Company (PO Box 115, Saxton PA 16678) was awarded a grant of $10,000.00 in 2016 for LED light installation.

The Schuylkill River Greenway Association (140 College Drive, Pottstown PA 19464) was awarded a grant of $20,000 in 2016 to add security lighting on the Thun Trail.

Valley Pike Manor (1029 Franklin St., Johnstown PA 15905) was awarded a grant of $7,500 in 2015 for an energy audit.

The Windber Fire Company (1620 Somerset Avenue, Windber PA 15963) was awarded a grant of $12,400 in 2016 for LED lighting upgrades.

The YMCA of Reading & Berks (631 Washington St., Reading PA 19603) was awarded a grant of $9,500 in 2015 for an energy audit.

The YWCA of Greater Johnstown (526 Somerset Street, Johnstown, PA 15901) was awarded a grant of $5,400 in 2014 for an energy audit.

What We Do

The Met Ed / Penelec Sustainable Energy Fund promotes:

  • the development and use of renewable energy and clean energy technologies
  • energy conservation and efficiency
  • sustainable energy businesses
  • projects that improve the environment in the companies’ service territories



Berks County Community Foundation
Community Foundation for the Alleghenies