FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO CONSIDER CARBON FREE & HEALTHY SCHOOLS LEGISLATION PROPOSED BY CONNECTICUT ROUNDTABLE ON CLIMATE AND JOBS
February 8, 2023
HARTFORD, CT – The Connecticut General Assembly will consider SB 961, AN ACT CONCERNING CARBON-FREE SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND ESTABLISHING OTHER SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND PUBLIC HEALTH REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS, or the Carbon-Free and Healthy Schools Act drafted by the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. The bill was introduced by the Environment Committee on February 7, 2023.
This bill aims to make school buildings carbon-free by investing in net-zero heating and cooling systems, implementing the use of solar energy in place of fossil fuels, and increasing the overall energy efficiency of new and existing public school buildings through a revolving loan fund established by the state to cover costs that would ordinarily come out of a district’s maintenance or capital budget. These improvements can provide significant health benefits for students and teachers while saving school districts a significant amount of money in reduced energy costs and HVAC maintenance. SB 961 also addresses the school environment in regards to healthy air, water and waste management.
Funding for the Connecticut Green Bank to provide technical assistance and grants for feasibility studies is included as are labor standards, including workforce development partnerships and project labor agreements, to ensure family-sustaining jobs for those who will work on the construction and renovations.
Climate change planning is a unique feature of this proposed legislation. Districts must consider climate change impacts in real property asset assessment and management and report annually on energy consumption and solar generation through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or a similar tool.
With a robust solar and energy efficiency plan, as offered by SB 961, Connecticut’s public school districts could see an average operating cost savings of up to 80 percent annually. These savings could be diverted to other educational programs in need of funding.
For additional information on SB 961, please see the attached bill summary or contact Allison Pilcher, Policy Director for Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs at [email protected].