High Performance Green School Planning Grant: Fact Sheet

Governor Ed Rendell, Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak, Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection John Hanger and Executive Director of the State Public School Building Authority William Bostic are pleased to announce the continuation of the Pennsylvania High-Performance Green Schools Planning Grants program. The second round of this grant program will open in July 2006 with anticipated annual awards funded by the State Public School Building Authority totaling $200,000

High-Performance Green School Planning Grants will help public Pre K-12 Schools, Area Vocational Technical Schools (AVTS), and Career and Technology Centers (CTC) build and renovate schools as responsible public investments. Constructing a high-performance green school can contribute to increased student achievement, improved indoor environmental quality, and significantly reduce ongoing operating costs. For example: properly implemented daylighting has been shown to improve reading performance by 26% and math performance by 20%; energy and water usage can be reduced by up to 50%; and indoor air quality can be significantly improved through improved ventilation and the reduction or elimination of volatile organic compounds.

Planning grants will be awarded on an annual basis to those seeking additional funds to build high perfomance green schools. Grants will help school districts, CTCs and ATVSs achieve certification at the silver level or higher under the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED for Schools) rating program for new construction and major renovation projects.

LEED for Schools, as the de facto national standard for defining high-performance buildings, provides a way to assess projects and help establish criteria to meet integrated performance goals for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Projects earn points based on a rating system developed by the USGBC, and receive a LEED for Schools ranking of Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum based on the number of points earned.

This grant is designed to cover a portion of the "soft" costs of designing a green building that are not typically included within the conventional design fee structure. Grants may vary in size depending upon the scope of the project, but are expected to average $20,000. Grants may be used for simulation and modeling costs, including daylighting studies and energy modeling; additional consultancy fees; and costs of documentation required for LEED for Schools certification.

In order to qualify for a High-Performance Green Schools Planning Grant, a school district or AVTS/CTC must present letters of commitment from their board of directors, school superintendent or executive director, and school principal along with evidence of engagement of a design team with demonstrated knowledge and experience in high-performance green building construction.

Applications will need to indicate proposed levels of energy and water use and identifiy a single point of contact with the school district, CTC, or AVTS that has the authority to represent the interests of the district and has direct access to the superintendent or executive director. Applicants will be required to submit copies of their LEED score sheets; a "Case Study" outlining the overall project scope including the LEED aspects, costs and benefits of the project; and a copy of their LEED certification award.

A LEED for Schools certification rating of Silver or higher must be achieved within one year from the date of final building acceptance. Grant awards will be made on a first-come, first-served basis for qualified applications. Subsequent year program submittal, review, and award criteria may be modified to meet applicant demand and needs.

Pennsylvania has long been a leader in promoting innovative environmental and energy solutions. Continuing that tradition, High-Performance Green Schools Planning Grants will fund projects that promote awareness and support sustainable schools. By exploring the many opportunities to better manage our energy resources in a way that also improves our environment, we can support local economic development and enhance our quality of life.

For more information, please visit the PA PowerPort at www.state.pa.us Keyword: "Green Schools."

Additional information is available at the following web sites:

PDE: http://www.pde.state.pa.us/

GGGC: http://www.gggc.state.pa.us/

SPSBA: http://www.spsba.org/spsbamain.htm

LEED for Schools: http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/publications.asp