Biden-Harris Administration Announces $84.5 Million to Make Clean Energy Improvements and Lower Energy Costs for K-12 Schools – Energy.gov

by | Oct 26, 2022 | Energy

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Biden-Harris Administration, through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), today released a Notice of Intent (NOI) announcing $80 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to make K-12 schools more energy efficient and lower their energy costs, including some of the nation’s highest-need schools. The funding is the first tranche of the Renew America’s Schools grant program created by the infrastructure law to provide schools critical energy infrastructure upgrades.  Through the grant program, DOE will fund energy and health improvements in public K-12 schools across the country. Additionally, a new DOE prize program will help resource 25 high-need school districts with the training and tools needed to improve how their schools consume energy. Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these investments will address the historic inequities of school facilities, reduce school energy costs, and improve health and learning outcomes for children and staff, while also supporting the promise of bringing good-paying jobs to the community.  

“Nearly half of our nation’s school districts – and disproportionately low-income and rural districts – struggle to maintain aging facilities and ensure classrooms are free from health hazards,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “These major investments, made possible by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will lead to healthier learning environments and lower energy costs so school districts can equitably lead on the clean energy transition.” 

Energy consumption is the second-highest operational expense schools face, often requiring schools to invest in energy-related costs rather than other critical educational needs for students. The 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 Infrastructure Report Card rates our nation’s school facilities in D+ condition, and a June 2020 GAO report found that about half of the public school districts are struggling to upgrade and maintain building systems that ensure facilities are free of health hazards. The GAO report found that 41% of school districts need to update or replace heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems. Districts serving historically disadvantaged communities experience the greatest burden of antiquated school facilities, and many lack the resources and expertise needed to seek federal grant funding.  

The Renew America’s Schools grant aims to lower utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and reduce carbon emissions in schools across the country with a focus on rural and high-poverty school districts. This investment is the first of its kind from DOE, and eligible projects will include energy improvements that reduce building operating costs – like new HVAC and ventilation systems, building envelope and lighting projects, and alternative fuel and renewable energy technologies. Applications for the first round of this grant, with up to $80 million available for schools, will open in November 2022 and close in January 2023. 

New Prize Competition to Advance Sustainable Schools 

DOE is also launching the Energy Champions Leading the Advancement o …

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