Maximizing the nonprofit budget

Posted | May 12, 2017

Energy-efficient upgrades help Maryhurst minimize operating costs, earn much-needed funds

Maryhurst has long been known as a place of new beginnings for children who have been traumatized by unimaginable abuse.  The Louisville-based nonprofit offers a wide range of innovative behavioral health services for children and their families. The organization’s specialized programming includes residential treatment, therapeutic foster care, and community-based counseling. The residential services on the main campus serve the most severely-traumatized girls, ages 11 to 18, in Kentucky. 


“We serve children who have exhausted all other treatment options,” says Maryhurst President and CEO Judy Lambeth.  “For all practical purposes, we are the last hope for children whose past abuse severely impacts their daily functioning.  Our highly-specialized treatment stops the insidious cycle of abuse by helping our children heal and gain the skills and knowledge they will need to be productive adults.”

Tasked with the responsibility of making a critical impact with a conservative budget, the agency looks for every efficiency – working to minimize operating costs so it can maximize its programs and resources. As many as 68 adolescent girls in five cottages are served on Maryhurst’s main campus, which has a total of 70,000 square feet under roof. 

Using electricity as its primary energy source, Maryhurst Buildings and Grounds Director George Stevens says the agency has found meaningful savings by making energy upgrades and participating in Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company’s Commercial Rebate Program.

“I came on board about three years ago and found that we were using the old incandescent lamps. Being a 24/7 facility, the lights here burn around the clock, so we were replacing them on a weekly basis,” said Stevens. 

Recognizing the savings the organization could realize by investing in upgrades, Stevens put plans in motion to switch out lighting and fixtures across the main campus – upgrading first to more energy efficient CFLs and, recently, to LEDs to achieve an even greater level of efficiency. Working with his lighting provider, Stevens says Maryhurst has been able to cash in on rebate dollars throughout the entire process – to date earning more than $1,600. 

 “We have completely upgraded all of our incandescent lamps to CFLs, and we’re currently switching to LEDs in our gym. We’re also starting a big upgrade – going from metal halides to LEDs, so that’s going to be a tremendous savings in energy costs,” said Stevens.

LG&E and KU’s Commercial Rebate program is designed to help eligible commercial customers offset the cost of upgrading or installing high-efficiency equipment. The program offers the incentives for customers planning to make upgrades to their existing facilities such as high-efficiency lighting, A/C units, chillers, motors, pumps, variable frequency drives and custom categories as well.

The program also offers incentives for energy audits, new construction and major renovations, including Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED.

In addition to Maryhurst, other nonprofits across the state are also realizing the benefits of making their own facilities more energy efficient in dollars saved through enhancements and rebates awarded. In fact, more than 80 nonprofit organizations across the Bluegrass participating in the LG&E and KU Commercial Rebate Program have been awarded more than $150,000 combined. 

For those organizations looking to get started, Stevens advises them to partner with a good supplier and start with the devices identified as consuming the most energy. Two steps that he says have made a key difference in the bottom line for his agency as it makes a difference in the lives of the more than 600 children and families it serves each year.

Learn more about LG&E and KU’s Commercial Rebates Program.

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