Department of Energy Releases Guide to Financing EnergySmart Schools
October 14, 2008
Oct. 3, 2008 — DOE's EnergySmart Schools program released its new Guide to Financing EnergySmart Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council's Sustainable Schools Summit. Richard Moorer, DOE Associate Under Secretary presented the Guide to an audience of approximately 200 school administrators, educators, construction industry representatives, representatives from energy and education nonprofits, and government officials. The Guide addresses perceived and real financial barriers associated with construction of new high-performance schools as well as energy efficiency renovations and retrofits of existing facilities.
"Many executives believe that constructing a high-performance, energy-smart school will cost more than a conventionally built school; however, with the right planning, there may be little to no additional upfront cost," said Associate Under Secretary Richard Moorer. "Energy efficient buildings and school districts can enjoy lasting benefits from lower energy and operating costs, improved environmental performance, and an enhanced ability to serve as centers of community life."
The nation's 93,000 K-12 schools spend approximately $8 billion annually on energy for facilities. Rising energy costs coupled with declining property tax revenues are increasing budgetary pressures on schools. These challenges make energy-saving strategies a real opportunity for schools undertaking new facilities construction and major renovations. For instance, an energy-efficient school district with 4,000 students could save as much as $160,000 in energy costs. Yet, school officials have consistently cited financing issues as a major barrier to planning and constructing high-performance schools.
The 33-page guide details the process of financing energy-efficient school renovations, retrofits, or new construction and describes a variety of financing mechanisms. Written for school administrators and school board members, the Guide's topics include:
- Principles of financing high-performance schools (such as determining project objectives, performing life cycle cost analysis, and selecting a cost-benefit analysis method)
- Making a business case of high-performance schools
- Non-energy benefits of energy-efficient schools
- Internal financing
- Debt financing
- Leasing arrangements
- Energy savings performance contracts
Choosing to build a high-performance school may actually open up additional financing options that would not be available in a conventional project. This Guide will help administrators and school boards to do the initial planning and find the best options for financing their district's school construction."
The Guide, co-branded by the Association of School Business Officials International and endorsed by the National School Boards Association, will be promoted through EnergySmart Schools partner organizations and trade publications. See the complete Guide to Financing EnergySmart Schools (PDF 1.3 MB). Download Adobe Reader.