Lighting in Mexico School District 59 buildings are burning more efficiently and brighter thanks to an incentive rebate program from Ameren Missouri. The district in April received around $292,000 from lighting upgrades conducted through the 2017-18 school year and recently received an additional $150,000 for similar upgrades conducted in the 2018-19 school year.

The district has invested in Energy Star rated LED lightbulbs over the past year through Ameren's Biz Savers program, which has led to the energy savings in district buildings. The upgrades are part of a three-year project by the district to convert to LED lighting. The $150,000 rebate also has allowed for the purchase of energy efficient appliances, according to a news release.

The project timeframe for the $150,000 in savings is from September 2018 through Oct. 1.

"[This is from] projects that have happened in the last school year," Ameren Spokesperson Jenny Barth said. "This was in preparation for the current school year. That's where we pulled those numbers from."

Ameren calculates the energy savings from its Biz Savers program and applies it to the incentive program, giving those savings back to the school district so it can make further energy efficiency purchases.

"The LED lighting is a really great product that they're not only saving on the installation of it, but they're saving on the backend because there's a lower energy usage," Barth said. "You can operate a brighter light for less energy."

Businesses and schools still can apply for a Biz Savers program 10% bonus for projects through Nov. 29.

"Ameren Missouri is a great partner in helping us achieve our energy goals," Superintendent Zach Templeton said in a news release. "We are only a month into the school year and the results are clear. Students and teachers are saying how much brighter the hallways and classrooms look and we are seeing a decrease in our electric bill."

Lighting upgrades took place at the district office, Mexico High School, Mexico Middle School, Hart Career Center and McMillan Early Learning Center, Barth said.

"Some of these were over the last school year, so they're really starting off this school year with great lighting for kids, so they can have a better experience," she said.

Other schools to take advantage of the energy efficiency program were Missouri Military Academy, St. Brendan's Catholic School and Moberly Area Community College Mexico Education Center.

"There is still savings available for people to take advantage of," Barth said. "There are lots of different [incentives and rebates] for residential and for business customers. I think right now is a great time and people are thinking about how cold it is outside and thinking how can they save on their energy bill."

cdunlap@gatehousemedia.com