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In September of 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the allocation
of $59 million to fund the Clean Green Schools Initiative. The
program aims to advance clean energy efficiency solutions and clean
energy to improve indoor air quality and reduce carbon emissions
for schools designated as “high-need” by the New York
State Education Department or schools located in disadvantaged
The initiative, to be administered by the New York State Energy
Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), offers a unique
opportunity for designated underserved schools to improve their
energy systems. In doing so, eligible schools will receive
technical, financial, and human resource support to evaluate, plan
for, and implement energy efficient solutions. In the long run,
this will improve school environments and save money.
The program is structured in two tracks – Track I for
planning, Track II for installation.
The planning track provides funding for the evaluation,
planning, and facilitation of energy reduction projects, clean
energy projects, and indoor air quality projects. Schools may use
Track I funding for professional services such as energy studies,
on-site energy managers, and fiscal advisors. The services must be
aimed at helping schools evaluate, plan and facilitate
comprehensive energy reduction, decarbonization, environmental
sustainability, and indoor air quality projects. Track I funding
may also be used towards planning a project associated with Track
II. Participation in Track I is not a
requirement for eligibility for Track II.
Track II funding
serves to implement construction projects to improve the
environmental sustainability and decarbonization of school
buildings. Examples of appropriate construction projects are:
converting to central heating or cooling plants to clean green
energy technology, electrification of building systems, and
transitions to low-carbon fuels.
Track II is more competitive and requires a more robust
proposal. NYSERDA has created proposal templates as guidance when
Public school districts may qualify for eligibility to receive
funding under the initiative. The school district must either be
designated as high-need by NYSED or be located in a disadvantaged
Most schools know if they are designated “high-need”
but this is done by NYSED using the need/resource capacity index.
NYSERDA published a comprehensive list of
school districts and buildings eligible for funding.
Track I has an open enrollment period through Dec. 30, 2025.
Track II has an application deadline of July 27, 2022, at 3
If you have any questions about the application process or
anything regarding the initiative, please contact the Harris Beach
attorney with whom you usually work.
Harris Beach Summer Associate Andrea Rojas co-authored this
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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