NYSERDA Resources for P-12 Schools
This collection of resources provides information to help your school achieve its clean energy goals. These resources include everything from understanding your school’s sustainability rating to implementing clean energy projects, as well as additional event, funding, and recognition opportunities available to schools across NYS.
Getting Started: Understanding a School’s Sustainability Rating
Before jumping into capital improvements, it’s important to understand how your energy is being used. Establishing an energy baseline will help you understand existing school energy conditions, which can then be used to manage changing school energy needs. The tools below may help schools to more easily realize and evaluate their energy usage before undergoing major changes.
- The Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator is a tool provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which helps individuals better understand and translate abstract measurements.
- The Operations and Maintenance Best Practices Guide to Achieving Operational Efficiency outlines best practices to help facilities implement effective O&M for systems and equipment found in their buildings.
Project Planning: How to Build Green and Healthy Buildings
It’s equally important to design a building to achieve high performance and a healthy environment. The tools below may help to design a school to maximize on energy efficient and sustainable systems.
- The Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings is the second in a series of Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) publications designed to provide strategies and recommendations for achieving 50% energy savings over the minimum code requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings.
- The Northeast Collaborative for High Performance Schools (NE-CHPS) helps schools, districts, and practitioners to achieve high performance design, construction, and operation.
- The LEED Schools Rating System recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of P-12 schools. Based on LEED for New Construction, it addresses issues such as classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, and environmental site assessment.
- These publications make the connection between sustainable schools and increased student performance and health:
- The Operations & Maintenance Guide for High Performance Schools and Public Buildings in the Northeast is intended to provide guidance to ensure the continued performance of new and existing buildings. The guide contains operation and maintenance procedures that will help buildings reduce their operating costs, as well as lead to healthier indoor air, improved student and staff comfort, reduced water consumption, improved environmental stewardship, and overall improvements in the learning environment.
- The U.S. Department of Energy identified challenges, opportunities, and solutions related to rural schools adopting energy efficiency and renewable energy. A summary of what was identified along with helpful resources can be found throughout the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Resources for Rural K-12 School Energy Managers and Educators document.
- The Department of Health’s Clean, Green & Healthy Schools Program provides guidance on monitoring, maintaining, and improving a schools overall environmental health. The program provides information for all school occupants on policies, best practices, tools, knowledge, and resources in nine focus areas, including indoor air quality, energy and resource conservation, mold and moisture, and transportation.
Solar Energy: Is Your School Suitable for Solar?
Working with K-Solar helps you discover if the power of the sun is right for your school. Tapping into solar sets a great example for your students and the community. Visit NYPA's K-Solar page to find out more.
Financial Assistance: Help Finance Your Clean Energy Project with Non-NYSERDA Funding
Energy Efficiency Utility Rebates
Has your school recently pursued a clean energy project (e.g. boiler upgrade, LED project, VFD installation, etc.) and is looking to offset the costs utilizing a utility incentive? The links below will connect your school with your utility company.
Energize NY PACE Financing
Energize NY leverages PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to provide low cost, long-term loans that fund clean energy projects in commercial and non-profit properties. Financing is available for up to 100% of project costs with loan terms up to 20 years. The link below will provide more information and whether you qualify.
Recognition Resources: Looking for Recognition for Your Clean Energy and Sustainability Projects?
Is your school interested in receiving recognition for your clean energy and sustainability projects?
- The New York State Education Department Green Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools taking a comprehensive approach to greening their school. A comprehensive approach incorporates environmental learning with improving environmental and health impacts.
- The New York State Environmental Excellence Awards recognizes organizations who are commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability.
- The New York State Clean, Green & Healthy Schools Program is designed to help all school employees, volunteers, students, parents, and guardians contribute to improving their school's environmental health. The program has been developed by a multi-disciplinary Steering Committee to help schools improve their environmental health through voluntary guidelines. Schools that participate in this program gain the opportunity and knowledge to create schools with better environmental health. Review the Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools Program Guide for Schools: Registration to Completion, which includes information on how to successfully register and complete each level of the program.
Event Resources: Interested in participating in clean energy events?
These organizations coordinate student, teacher, and administrative sustainability leadership development programs, summits, and conferences across the State and the nation.
Classroom Resources: Powerful Tools for Teachers
Today’s students are tomorrow’s inventors and problem solvers. Inspire and educate those students about why clean energy is good for New Yorkers and the environment. Help them uncover the science and technology associated with solar energy.
Educators can use the following lessons about solar power in classrooms for grades 4-12 and other learning settings. The lessons complement K-Solar, which is a program under the NY-Sun initiative that brings solar power to schools across New York State. The lessons are grouped by suggested grade level.
- Solar Lessons for Students
- School Power Naturally
- The K-12 Energy Efficiency Student Toolkit is designed for K-12 students who want to jump-start or enhance their school’s energy management program. Students will learn how to understand their school’s energy use, identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, encourage their school to adopt energy efficient habits, and measure the savings associated with energy efficiency upgrades.
Training: How to Maintain Green and Clean Learning Environments
Indoor Air Quality
- The EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program offers on-demand training, best practices, information on preventative maintenance, and guidance related to indoor air quality and healthy learning environments.
- To learn more and build your IAQ preventive maintenance checklist, review the EPA’s IAQ Preventive Maintenance Guidance, Tools and Resources
- Bringing Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality to Your School through EPA’s Energy Savings Plus Health Guidelines This 1.5-hour training will help you understand how to protect IAQ while increasing energy efficiency.
- EPA’s Technical Resources for Energy Savings Plus Health lists resources to assist you with conducting energy efficiency upgrades and building renovation activities.
- EPA IAQ Master Class Professional Training Webinar Series
- IAQ Knowledge-to-Action Professional Training Webinar Series
- “Healthy Schools, Healthy Students: Taking Action to Improve IAQ in Your School District” webinar provides details about the Framework for Effective School IAQ Management. Register to view it on-demand.
- IAQ and Health: Managing Asthma for Improved Health and Academic Outcomes This one-hour training developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will help you identify, recognize and address indoor environmental asthma triggers and carry out actions important for effective asthma management in schools.
- Fresh Air: Optimal HVAC Management for Improved Health This one-hour training will help you understand the importance of optimal design, operation and maintenance of HVAC equipment for providing clean and healthy air in schools.
- Indoor Air Quality Plus Energy Efficiency: A Formula for Saving Money While Protecting Your School’s Indoor Environment This one-hour training will help you understand the important connection between IAQ and energy efficiency, learn proactive approaches to saving energy and money, replicate best practices to integrate IAQ and energy efficiency into building operations, and use resources to help with IAQ efforts.
- Energy Efficiency Plus Indoor Air Quality: Strategies for Improving Health and Reducing Energy Costs in Your School This one-hour training will help you understand the critical connection between IAQ and energy efficiency and the importance of properly integrating the two for optimal occupant health and building performance. Provides information on best practices, procedures, policies, and resources that can help with your district’s energy efficiency efforts, including the Energy Savings Plus Health guide and the accompanying Interactive Air Quality Planner that generates a custom IAQ checklist for use during your building upgrades.
- Living in a Material World: Selecting the Right Materials to Improve IAQ in Schools This one-hour training will help you understand how the selection of low-toxicity and low-emitting materials can improve IAQ and health outcomes among school occupants, how to develop product purchasing and use policies, and what types of materials need to be reviewed and considered.
- Pollution Solution: How to Create IAQ Policies, Plans and Practices to Control Pollutant Sources in Your School District This one-hour training will help you learn to prevent IAQ issues before they start by controlling pollution sources, manage relationships between pollution and air factors to protect health, and implement policies, plans and practices to improve IAQ and school occupant health.
Mold & Moisture
- Mold and Moisture: Double Trouble for Schools This one-hour training will help you learn about mold remediation in schools and gain the skills to respond quickly and efficiently to moisture problems.
- Training for School Bus Drivers This New York State Education Department presentation provides school bus drivers with information about anti-idling practices and policies and the importance of anti-idling for health. Transportation staff are the intended audience for this presentation.