Efficient and Healthy Schools Program Honors Schools for Improving Energy Efficiency & Learning Environments

April 29, 2024

Adapted from a news release by the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Efficient and Healthy Schools Program recognized 13 school district honorees at the 2024 White House Summit for Sustainable and Healthy K-12 School Buildings and Grounds: Equity, Learning, Health, and Climate, held on April 26, 2024.

DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has provided technical support to the Efficient and Healthy Schools Program since its launch in 2021. The team includes staff from Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area who help design and administer this recognition program. The Program team works collaboratively with New Buildings Institute to provide assistance to schools and districts in their submissions for recognition. The team also assisted DOE and one of the Program organizing partners – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – in the review and selection of honorees.

The event highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to equitable access to energy-efficient, climate-resilient, and healthy school facilities. The Efficient and Healthy Schools Program’s honorees set examples for energy-efficient schools that facilitate effective learning and keep students and teachers healthy.

“We recognize these school districts for their exemplary retrofit projects, best practices in building assessment and operational performance, and goal setting to achieve sustained, long-term school building improvements,” said DOE Building Technologies Office Director Mandy Mahoney. “Their exemplary projects demonstrated the positive impacts that schools have on their communities, particularly those in greatest need.”

The recognition, announced by Deputy Secretary of Energy David M. Turk at the White House summit, uplifts these school districts’ stories to a national scale, demonstrates their outstanding leadership within their communities, and offers an opportunity to showcase best practices and case studies for other school districts that are looking for peer guidance. Submissions were evaluated on their approach, outcomes, impacts, replicability, and education and workforce training.

“Retrofitting existing school buildings is important not only for our transition to a clean energy future, it also holds the key to creating a healthy and inspiring environment for students and staff,” said Berkeley Lab’s Rengie Chan. “DOE’s Efficient and Healthy Schools Program offers technical assistance and trusted resources that schools can rely on to guide their efforts.”

The Efficient and Healthy Schools Program, led by DOE’s Building Technologies Office in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, recognizes and provides technical assistance for schools seeking to implement high-impact energy efficiency and indoor air quality improvements in their buildings. Now honoring a third round of schools, the program aims to support and connect schools with practical solutions so that they are ready to use public funding and other resources for infrastructure improvements. The program especially welcomes participation of schools in rural and Tribal areas, as well as schools serving students in disadvantaged communities.

The 2024 Efficient and Healthy Schools Program honorees are:

  • Boise School District, ID
  • Broward County Public Schools, FL
  • Canajoharie Central School District, NY
  • Hamilton Southeastern Schools, IN
  • IDEA Public Schools, TX
  • Lansing Public School District, MI
  • Livonia Public Schools, MI
  • Loudoun County Public Schools, VA
  • School District of Neillsville, WI
  • Porterville Unified School District, CA
  • Portland Public Schools, OR
  • River Trails School District #26, IL
  • Seattle Public Schools, WA

The Efficient and Healthy Schools Program has 202 participants from schools and districts in 45 states, representing over 5 million students and over 8,400 schools – 70% of which are eligible for federal financial assistance through Title I.

To learn more about honorees’ accomplishments, how your district might join the program, or how you might become a supporting partner, visit the Efficient and Healthy Schools website: efficienthealthyschools.lbl.gov/20232024-recognition.

In addition to honoring the Efficient and Healthy Schools Program at the White House Summit, Deputy Secretary Turk highlighted that applications are currently open for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, which will award an anticipated $180 million to K-12 public schools across the country. This three-phase opportunity will help districts build capacity, perform energy audits, and plan and implement energy improvement projects across a portfolio of school facilities. Visit the HeroX site for details about the prize and apply by June 13 by 5PM ET.

For more information, visit the Renew America’s Schools website or email [email protected].