Summary of SB 961, Carbon Free and Healthy Schools Act


Net-Zero Schools

  • Requirement for net-zero construction of new schools and major renovations
  • Applications for state school construction grants must show how new buildings will be net-zero to the extent practicable

Read More: The Financial Case for Net-Zero Schools

Solar & Energy Efficiency

  • Public schools must undertake solar and energy efficiency feasibility studies with funding and technical support from Connecticut Green Bank.
  • If feasibility studies show the measure will break even or save money over the lifecycle of the equipment, the district must implement the measure. Financing would be available through the Connecticut Green Bank.

Program Supervisory Board

  • Establishes the Public Schools Solar and Energy Efficiency Board under the Connecticut Green Bank. The Board: 
    • Creates programs and employs staff for technical assistance, project development, public education, and training for district officials
    • Oversees energy audits and feasibility studies
    • Oversees the Public Schools Solar and Energy Efficiency Fund, which includes the Net-Zero Schools Loan Program
    • Evaluates and recommends program improvements

Public Schools Solar and Energy Efficiency Fund

  • Includes Net-Zero Schools Loan Program, a revolving loan fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that pay themselves off over time, including projects that are not part of a major renovation and would typically come out of a district’s maintenance or capital budget
    • Labor standards like workforce development partnerships and project labor agreements are attached
  • Includes funding for the state to provide technical assistance and grants for feasibility studies 

Climate Change Planning

  • Districts must consider climate change impacts in real property asset assessment and management
  • Districts must report annually on energy consumption and solar generation through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or a similar tool

Healthy Air, Safe Water, & Waste

  • Public schools must post anti-idling signs in student pick-up/drop-off zones
  • Public schools must maintain a safe temperature range in classrooms
  • Public schools must test drinking and cooking water for lead and remediate lead contamination
  • Districts must consider solid waste management in designing new schools
Author: sydney