New Program Targets Carbon Emissions Reductions in Maryland Public Schools

A group of school desks in a class room.

(Credit: Unsplash)

by | Jan 8, 2024

This article is included in these additional categories:

Maryland public schools are set to reduce and eliminate carbon emissions thanks to a new state program that will provide capital to incorporate clean energy.

Known as the Decarbonizing Public Schools Program, the plan aims to help local education agencies leverage clean energy and energy efficiency measures into Maryland public schools. Namely, the program offers incentives for grants focused on capacity building, infrastructure upgrades, renewable energy adoption, and the use of new and sustainable construction methods.

The program’s funding for fiscal year 2024 is $24 million. The application period is open until March 15, 2024, for Maryland’s local education agencies to review detailed program guidelines and submit applications for consideration.

The state has already built and opened three net zero energy schools, including Wilde Lake Middle School in Howard County, followed by Holabird Academy and the Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School, both in Baltimore City Public Schools. Local education agencies will help ensure schools produce enough on-location renewable energy to meet their total annual electricity demands. 

“The Decarbonizing Public Schools Program is a cornerstone in Maryland’s commitment to sustainable energy. It helps create learning environments that are more energy efficient, while they serve as living laboratories for renewable energy technologies,” Maryland Energy Administration Director Paul Pinsky said in a statement. “This holistic approach will advance our environmental and educational goals alike.”

Tackling Building Emissions

The new program launches as numerous municipalities are looking into ways to reduce building emissions, which account for 37% of global emissions, according to the United Nations.

In the United States, the Biden administration recently announced the availability of $530 million in technical assistance and competitive grants for building energy efficiency initiatives. The grants stem from the Inflation Reduction Act, which was signed into law in August 2022 and included several provisions to address climate change with incentives and grant opportunities across the energy sector.

The Decarbonizing Public Schools Program was jointly created by the Maryland Energy Administration and the Interagency Commission on School Construction. The funds will enable varied activities, such as benchmarking energy use, reducing emissions, and updating key policies. Targeted facility improvements, such as boiler and HVAC system replacements, are expected to create financial savings over time.

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This