Giving Compass' Take:
- Anya Kamenetz discusses the ways K-12 schools can effectively use the federal funding allocated to them for greening their infrastructure.
- How can you advocate for schools in your community to be more green in both their infrastructure and curriculum?
- Learn about the benefits of green infrastructure.
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Anisa Heming has been working on making schools more sustainable for a decade and a half, now as director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington nonprofit. And she’s never seen a moment of opportunity quite like this. “It’s an out-of-body experience, honestly,” she said. “Communities are demanding it, federal money is here, and the districts that didn’t do the prep work are scrambling.”
Since President Joe Biden took office in early 2021, three different giant federal spending packages have passed: the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act. Each includes grants and tax credits school districts can use to benefit the climate while also, typically, saving money in energy bills over time. There are billions and billions for boosting building efficiency; replacing boilers, ovens and other appliances with clean-running electric models; solar and battery installations; electric school buses; charging stations; and more.
In some cases, districts can make upgrades with no upfront cost at all.
The enthusiasm is palpable: The Environmental Protection Agency received so many applications for electric school bus funding, it doubled the amount it originally planned to award, to nearly $1 billion the first year. (More money is coming, up to $5 billion for that one program.)
So if you are a member of a school community — student, parent, teacher or leader — here are seven steps to claim your piece of the clean, green pie. “Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Act and figure it out,” urged Bryant Shaw, sustainability manager for the Dallas Independent School District.
Read the full article about greening K-12 education by Anya Kamenetz at The Hechinger Report.