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Cartwright Bill to Improve Schools’ Energy Efficiency Enacted

Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) announced that his Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act (H.R. 762), was enacted into law yesterday. Cartwright’s bill will help schools cut costs and improve energy efficiency in their facilities.

“At a time when schools are using costly alternative education methods amid the pandemic, they need to put every dollar that they can toward teaching and instruction,” Cartwright said. “I’m proud to have enacted my bill to help schools cut their energy costs, allowing them to dedicate more resources to educational priorities. This law will enable school leaders to modernize inefficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems and create safe and comfortable learning environments where our kids can succeed.”

Students’ academic performance is harmed by uncomfortable learning environments and climate change. One study conducted over more than a decade found that differences in average temperatures and access to air conditioning at school could explain 13 percent of the PSAT achievement gaps between white students and their Black and Hispanic peers. It also estimated that air conditioning in schools would ‘offset over $25,000 per classroom per year in future lost earnings due to temperature increases predicted by climate change models.’

H.R. 762 would streamline existing federal initiatives – currently spread across the executive branch – and establish the Department of Energy (DOE) as the lead agency in coordinating efforts to help initiate, develop and finance energy projects for schools.  The legislation would require DOE to provide technical assistance to help schools navigate the existing federal programs and financing options available. States, school boards and local officials would retain their autonomy about how to best meet the energy needs of their schools.