Energy costs are second highest cost in schools' budgets, following personnel costs. With energy costs taking up such a large portion of a school’s budget, it is sensible to upgrade to more energy efficient practices and products. That’s easier said than done, though—where will the funding come from to support these energy efficient upgrades for schools? Despite the long-term savings, and higher quality of school that would result from energy efficient upgrades, it’s challenging for these projects to be approved. Either taxpayers don’t want to pay for the high upfront costs, or there isn’t room in the school’s budget to start the project.
Take a look at the EPA's guide to understand the benefits of energy efficient programs in schools.
If your school district can relate to the above scenario, start seeking out other financing options to move forward with energy efficient upgrades in your school—specifically grants.
Why Seek out Grants for energy efficiency Projects?
Grants are a great place to receive funding for your school’s energy efficiency projects and upgrades. No loans need to be taken out against the school or taxpayers’ dollars, so the grants can help lower the school’s energy costs even sooner due to not having to budget for repaying back the debt.
Although grants don’t require to be paid-back, they typically have specific guidelines that the recipient of the grant must follow. The good part about schools working with an ESCO to fulfill the energy efficiency upgrades your school needs, is that the ESCO will bear the responsibility of abiding by any required guidelines of the grant.
Where to Find Energy Efficiency Grants for Schools?
Grants are available at the federal, state, and regional level, but schools generally have the best luck finding grants that are regional and state-wide. Additionally, seek out philanthropic groups that offer grants with the goal to lower schools’ monthly costs and create more room in the budget for other necessities.
Look for national, state, and regional grants at the following sites:
- DSIRE Clean Energy
- Constellation Grant
- Energy Grants for Schools
- Local Government Commission
- Rural Energy for America Program
Energy efficiency upgrades don’t have to be out of reach for your school. Look at this booklet to understand the possibilities of funding energy efficient upgrades in your school district.