The Maryland Energy Administration has unveiled its new Decarbonizing Public Schools Program – a program designed to help K-12 public schools throughout the state fully incorporate a range of clean energy and energy efficiency measures to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions.
Developed in partnership with the Interagency Commission on School Construction, the program has allotted $24 million in funding for the 2024 fiscal year.
This funding will allow selected public schools to engage in a variety of energy efficiency improvements, such as boiler and HVAC system replacements and advanced metering and controls. Targeted facility improvements are expected to yield substantial financing cost savings over time.
The program also provides incentives for a comprehensive suite of grants focused on capacity building, infrastructure upgrades, renewable energy adoption, and the use of sustainable construction methods.
“The Decarbonizing Public Schools Program is a cornerstone in Maryland’s commitment to sustainable energy,” said Paul Pinsky, Director of the Maryland Energy Administration. “It helps create learning environments that are more energy efficient, while they serve as living laboratories for renewable energy technologies. This holistic approach will advance our environmental and educational goals alike.”
As a precursor to the program, Maryland built and opened the state’s first three net zero energy schools – Wilde Lake Middle School in Howard County, Holabird Academy, and the Graceland Park/ O’Donnell Heights Elementary/ Middle School, both in Baltimore City.
In total, this new initiative will help education agencies retrofit, design, and construct advanced net zero energy campuses that help public schools begin their energy transition and eventually produce enough on-location renewable energy to meet their total annual electricity demands.