Inside: HVAC

June 8, 2023
System upgrades in Connecticut, Indiana and Tennessee.

Connecticut awards $56 million to schools for HVAC upgrades

The state of Connecticut is distributing $56 million in grants to public schools for upgrades to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

The grants represent the first round of funding awarded through the HVAC Indoor Air Quality Grants Program for Public Schools, a newly established state program.

The program has been allocated $150 million through two revenue streams: $75 million from state bond funding and $75 million from the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Examples of eligible projects:

  • Replacing, upgrading, or repairing boilers and other heating and ventilation components;
  • Replacing controls and technology systems related to HVAC operations;
  • Installing or upgrading air conditioning or ventilation systems; and
  • Other similar work approved by the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.

Waterbury received the most total grants, worth $15.9 million for eight elementary school projects. The Region 18 School District in Lyme and Old Lyme received $12 million. Seven other school districts — Stamford, Fairfield, Ellington, Coventry, Guilford, Oxford and Region 10 — received between $1 million and $6 million. 

Public school districts throughout Connecticut have already received more than $165 million to support HVAC upgrades since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Gov. Ned Lamont's office says. 

“One thing the COVID-19 pandemic exposed is that many school buildings, particularly those that are of a certain age, are in serious need of air quality improvements," Lamont says. "Modernized ventilation systems provide an important public health function that filtrate the air and reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses."

Vigo County (Ind.) district earmarks $23 million for HVAC and plumbing upgrades

The Vigo County (Ind.) district plans to spend $23 million to upgrade HVAC and plumbing systems at its three high schools.

The Tribune-Star reports that the district, based in Terre Haute, intends to allocate $18 million in federal Covid relief funds to carry out the HVAC system improvements. It will issue $5 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the plumbing work.

The district has three high schools--Terre Haute North Vigo High and Terre Haute South Vigo High in Terre Haute, and West Vigo High in West Terre Haute.

John Newport, the district's chief operating officer for facilities, says some of the equipment needed may take as much as a year to arrive because of continuing supply chain issues. For example, chillers may take 46 to 53 weeks from time of ordering to arrival.

Interim superintendent Tom Balitewicz says the upgrades at the high schools are overdue.

TVA grants will help schools in the Southeast improve their HVAC systems

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has awarded $2.6 million in grants to 64 schools across the Southeast for HVAC upgrades and energy efficiency training.

The grants are part of TVA’s School Uplift program, which is expected to save participating schools an average of 10% on their energy bills this year.

The grants ranged from $10,000 to $410,000 and are going to schools in six states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee. Three schools in Tennessee will receive $410,000 grants: Coleman School in Memphis, Madisonville Intermediate School in Madisonville, and Highland Elementary School in Greeneville.

 The TVA says the amount was dependent on the score each school achieved by cutting their energy waste. The grant scoring also incorporates a needs-based assessment of each school’s facilities to determine which buildings could achieve the greatest energy savings.

“Making classrooms healthier and more comfortable for both students and teachers helps give every child the opportunity to succeed,” says Monika Beckner, vice president, TVA Energy Services & Programs.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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