Legislation would provide federal funding for K-12 schools to make eligible energy efficiency improvements
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group in introducing the Renew America’s Schools Act, legislation to support America’s schools in making critical infrastructure upgrades that improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. The bipartisan bill was also introduced by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
In schools throughout the country, buildings often lack proper heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation systems—with ventilation being critical during the coronavirus pandemic. Energy costs for K-12 schools total approximately $8 billion annually nationwide, but we could save up to $2 billion of those dollars by improving energy efficiency.
“Encouraging the adoption of energy efficiency measures is one of the easiest yet most effective mechanisms for reducing energy consumption and lessening pollution,” said Senator Collins. “The bipartisan bill I am introducing with Senator Cortez Masto builds on a law I co-authored last year to streamline federal programs to help schools save on energy costs. As we continue to make modifications to improve the health and safety of classrooms during the pandemic, this legislation to increase the energy efficiency of school buildings will complement those efforts to provide the best learning environment possible for students and teachers.”
In December, the Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act—legislation introduced by Senators Collins to help streamline available federal energy efficiency programs, assist school administrators with navigating available federal financing, and reduce school buildings’ energy costs—was signed into law.
Building on that legislation, the Renew America’s Schools Act would create a federal grant program through the Department of Energy that would provide $100 million annually for five years to provide funding to K-12 schools to make eligible energy efficiency improvements. Those eligible improvements include the following:
· Facility improvements for air quality, daylighting, ventilation, and lighting upgrades;
· Installation of renewable energy technologies to power school systems; and,
· Purchase of zero-emissions vehicles and infrastructure.
The Renew America’s Schools Act has received support from the National Education Association, Moms Clean Air Force, and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Click HERE to read the text of the bill.