Leaders eyeing energy upgrades for the highest-needs districts can now apply to share $80 million in Renew America’s Schools grants.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Renew America’s Schools grant program, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will ultimately provide $500 million to districts serving historically disadvantaged and rural communities. The funding should help administrators reduce school energy costs and create healthier learning environments through air quality upgrades and other building improvements.
School facilities receive the second-highest amount of public infrastructure spending but school buildings are consistently reported as aging, unhealthy and inefficient, the administration noted in its announcement of the new grant funding. Eligible Renew America’s Schools projects include heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements.
“By making our students’ learning environments healthier with these critical energy improvements, our children will be better able to reach their full potential in the classroom,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in the announcement. “DOE is working diligently to deploy these critical funds so that schools can start turning infrastructure improvements into healthier learning environments and big cost savings.”
The deadline for Renew America’s Schools’ concept papers is Jan. 26, 2023, and full applications are due by April 21, 2023. School leaders can tap into these additional resources:
- School Needs and Benefits Assessments: Resources to conduct a baseline energy needs assessment.
- Energy Justice Mapping Tool for Schools: Produce reports for individual school facilities based on several metrics.
- Financing Efficient and Healthy Retrofits: Access capital and finance energy efficiency projects in schools.
- Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign: Encourages K-12 schools to reduce energy costs and improve energy performance and indoor air quality.
- Better Buildings Initiative Resource for K-12 School Districts: Initiative that partners with leaders in school districts and other sectors to accelerate energy efficiency projects.
The Department of Energy’s $4.5 million Energy Class Prize will provide an additional $100,000 to improve energy management training for district personnel so they can better implement and maintain health and efficiency upgrades. Participating districts that submit a first-year progress report may earn an additional $50,000. Applications for the Energy CLASS Prize are due by Feb. 28, 2023.