As Texas schools prepare to open this month amid scorching August heat, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced today the Texas Cool Schools grant program to help public schools replace old, inefficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
“Across the state, many public school districts are facing smaller budgets and increased operating costs,” Combs said. “Energy cost is the third-largest budget category for schools, and aging heating and cooling systems are the biggest contributor to this problem.”
Competitive grants ranging from $100,000 to $2 million are available. The application deadline for school districts is Sept. 1, 2011. The grants are funded with up to $25 million in federal stimulus money for energy efficiency programs offered by the Comptroller’s State Energy Conservation Office (SECO).
“Using this money to help school districts replace old heating and cooling systems will help districts stretch their maintenance budgets during tough times, and installing energy efficient new units will reduce utility bills and ease the burden on local taxpayers for years to come,” Combs said.
Complete information and rules for the Texas Cool Schools grant program are available at www.secostimulus.org/coolschools/.
Program highlights: Only specific types of HVAC projects and equipment are eligible for Texas Cool Schools grants. HVAC equipment replaced must be at least 10 years old as of August 2011. Projects must impact classrooms — administration buildings, field houses and auxiliary buildings are not eligible. Each school district is eligible for only one Texas Cool Schools grant, but the grant can cover the cost of replacing HVAC systems on multiple campuses within the district. All HVAC projects must be installed by a licensed Texas air conditioning contractor, who must certify proper installation of eligible equipment. HVAC projects must be completed by April 30, 2012.