New Hampshire Governor Signs Legislation to Support High-Performance Schools

July 22, 2005

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed House Bill (HB) 129 on July 22 that increases state support to school districts building high performance schools.

HB-129 has two parts. First it establishes criteria to define a high performance school based on energy efficiency in new construction. School districts that meet these criteria when constructing new facilities are eligible for additional funding from the state of up to 3% of construction costs or $100,000. Read the bill.

Second, it requires utilities that collects funds for energy efficiency programs to set aside one-third of those funds each year for public schools' construction or renovation projects that are designed to improve indoor air quality or increase energy efficiency. The New Hampshire Department of Education publishes a good explanation of HB-129 in an online news article.

MaryAnn Manoogian, director of the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning, said the bill is a solid step in the right direction. She explained that state agencies have known for years the benefits to children's health and school districts' budgets of constructing high performance schools. "But one of the big problems has always been the small up-front additional cost of planning and building better schools," said Manoogian. "Now the State has the ability to reduce, maybe even fully cover, those small extra costs — up to 3% of total project costs — by the augmenting of the School Building Aid formula set out in HB-129."

Manoogian said the energy office will work with the state's Department of Education to continue to improve the energy efficiency of New Hampshire schools.

Source: Summer 2005 edition of the Alliance to Save Energy's State Energy Policy Bulletin.