Proposed Bill Helps Schools Become Climate Friendly
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Proposed legislation would help schools throughout Virginia adopt renewable energy.
The bill would direct the Virginia Department of Energy and the Commission on School Construction and Modernization to gather information about climate-smart programs for schools to implement. Schools in the state would also receive technical assistance and help seeking funding sources.
Del. Suhas Subramanyam, D-Ashburn, the bill's author, said while the program the bill creates is completely optional, an important part of future building will include renewable energy.
"When you build a school, it doesn't just last five years, and then you tear it down, and you build another one. It's got to last a long time. Decades, right?" Subramanyam pointed out. "And I don't see us in 20, 30 years; I don't see a future that's not going to involve renewable energy."
Subramanyam considers it common-sense legislation, and an easy way to help schools, without forcing them to adopt the measure, if they do not have the funding to do so.
School administrators told him they were not sure how to access certain climate-friendly resources. A previous version of the bill was introduced in 2021 but needed to be revised. Subramanyam hopes the legislation will aid schools in preparing for a climate-smart future.
Molly Robertson, research associate at Resources for the Future, believes it is a critical part of the puzzle to ensure schools move toward climate friendliness. One benefit she sees is getting schools access to information about adapting renewable-energy resources.
However, she noted if they do not have the resources to get involved with the program, there is not much help in the way of accessing climate-smart grants. Robertson added there are lower-cost options to make Virginia schools more environmentally friendly.
"The easiest one that a lot of schools have tackled is replacing their lighting system and using high-efficiency LED bulbs," Robertson explained. "But, there are other things that can make an even bigger impact, like replacing heating systems from natural-gas heating systems to electric heating systems like heat pumps."
She emphasized larger school districts have energy-conservation programs in place, but others might need to establish them, potentially starting at the state level. While it is one part of a larger puzzle, Robertson thinks the bill offers schools a unique opportunity to be part of the push to decarbonize buildings.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Reports from the Insurance Commissioner's office and the state Attorney General reveal an analysis of what they call "the true costs of health care" i…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
While lawmakers and environmental groups strive to lower vehicle emissions and the nation's carbon footprint, many truckers see unrealistic …
Another controversial move in Florida's education system is a proposal to drop sociology, the study of social life and the causes and consequences of …