The first waves of federal funding for energy improvements for K–12 schools are beginning to roll out.

The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law created historic opportunities for public school facilities to seek sustainable and energy-efficient upgrades. Schools began qualifying in October of last year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Bus Program and the Department of Energy’s grant program, which kicked off broader infrastructure improvements such as HVAC upgrades and efficient lighting. Schools have until April 21, 2023, to apply.

The law’s Renew America’s Schools grant earmarks $500 million for projects. Preference will be given to school districts in high-poverty or rural areas.

“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,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a press release“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.”

In other words, expect schools to bid out projects soon. This is a good opportunity for builders and designers to brush up on the latest energy-efficient appliances powered by propane. To qualify for the funds, school administrators will be proposing improvements such as tankless water heaters and hydronic floor heating.

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