North Carolina A&T State University has been awarded half a million dollars in grants for energy efficiency projects. The goal is to have an impact on communities hit hardest during the pandemic.

The Center for Energy Research and Technology (CERT) is the sustainability arm of the A&T campus. It will be spending the $500,000 in grant funds on three energy efficiency projects.

The first is a model. Researchers will update a prefabricated home on the campus farm with energy-efficient upgrades like replacement siding and insulation, programmable “smart” electric outlets, and an energy monitoring system.

The largest aspect of the project is modifying the homes of 15 to 20 low- and moderate-income families in the neighborhoods around A&T. CERT will study the impact that green upgrades have on community members' finances and quality of life.

Dr. Greg Monty is the director of CERT. 

“So we're bringing dollar-saving solar panels to the rooftops of these homes that normally wouldn't have such an opportunity,” says Monty. “So this is going to be a tremendous benefit to these houses, their budgets. They won't have to spend any money on energy the next 20 to 30 years 'cause those panels will last that long.”

The grant money will also go towards an energy efficiency apprenticeship program, in coordination with area high schools and community colleges. 

CERT hopes the project shows how energy research grants can increase the investment in local communities surrounding historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

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