Applications are now open for local education agencies to apply for $80 million in energy improvement grants, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Tuesday.
The funding will focus on schools that qualify as rural and/or high poverty, the agency said.
The funds can be used for energy efficiency projects such as building envelope improvements or HVAC system upgrades, renewable energy installations, alternative vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure improvements.
The funding comes through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress last year, which provided $500 million in grants for energy improvements in fiscal years 2022-2026 at public school facilities. Concept papers must be submitted to DOE by Jan. 26, and full applications are due April 21. Project partners can include state or local government entities, utilities and other companies, and non-governmental organizations including community-based organizations, national associations, labor unions, workforce training providers, and energy-focused groups.
DOE said it will encourage applicants to consider projects that “enable replicable and scalable impacts, create innovative, sustaining partnerships ... target schools that serve as community assets (e.g. neighborhood cooling centers or disaster recovery shelters), can be completed quickly, and are crafted thoughtfully within the context of public-school facilities.”
“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, as soon as possible,” Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.