State officials have launched the ‘Massachusetts Green Schools Program,’ a US$13.5 million pilot initiative to promote the design and construction of a new generation of energy efficient school buildings.BOSTON, Massachusetts, US, 2001-11-23 [SolarAccess.com] The pilot program is a cooperative effort between the Renewable Energy Trust of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Massachusetts Department of Education School Building Assistance program. The Green Schools Program “will help create schools that use efficient renewable energy technologies, creating a healthier learning environment for students while helping communities lower their school operation and maintenance costs,” says Mitchell Adams, executive director of the Collaborative. “Getting involved in education offers the opportunity to instil in children and parents the value of including environmental concerns as part of the everyday choices they make throughout their lives. Looking ahead, these efforts will help in developing a sustainable commercial market for renewable energy.” The Green Schools Program was established to increase awareness of the environmental, educational and cost benefits of green schools. The pilot will provide school districts throughout the state with information and resources needed to use renewable resources and conserve energy. “Our partnership with local school and community leaders across the Commonwealth will produce healthier, more productive learning environments for our children and help hold down school operating costs,” adds Department of Education commissioner David Driscoll. “This program will help influence how future schools will be designed and built in Massachusetts.” The Renewable Energy Trust will seek pilot program participants until next month for schools expected to be constructed between 2002 and 2004. During the first phase, RET will provide ten school districts with up to $130,000 for incremental design costs and $500,000 for construction costs associated with the installation of renewable energy technologies and enhanced energy efficiency measures. Applications for a second round of funding for future construction or renovation projects will be available next October. For school districts just beginning the design process, RET will provide community-based educational workshops and feasibility studies to examine greening opportunities. The Renewable Energy Trust is part of the state’s energy strategy to shift to greater reliance on renewable resources. It was established by the Legislature to promote development and use of renewable energy and, in its first phase of operation, it has earmarked $47 million in grants and loans for renewable energy projects and programs. The Trust is managed by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a state economic development authority based in Westborough.