Seven schools in Massachusetts are the first to receive grants to install renewable energy facilities.WESTBOROUGH, Massachusetts 2002-02-14 [SolarAccess.com] The Massachusetts Green Schools Program is a US$13.5 million dollar initiative to promote the design and construction of new energy efficient ‘green’ schools. The first seven institutions will receive a total of $776,900 to cover design costs for new or renovated facilities and the schools are eligible to receive additional funding to cover construction costs later this year. “The Massachusetts Green Schools Program provides school districts throughout the state with the information and resources necessary to develop high-performance facilities that are energy efficient and that use renewable energy technologies,” said Mitchell Adams of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Unlike other programs that merely promote the installation of new operating systems, the Massachusetts Green Schools initiative will also raise awareness among future generations of students, teachers and local communities of the sustained environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy.” Awards will fund a variety of renewable energy technologies, from solar, wind and geothermal energy to fuel cells and biomass in school construction and renovation projects. The first seven recipients include the Beverly School Department, Williamstown Public Schools, and the cites of Salem, Brockton, Newton, Waltham and Somerville. The Green Schools Program involves the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s ‘Renewable Energy Trust’ and the state Department of Education. The program was established to increase awareness of the environmental, educational and cost benefits of high-performance green schools, and is a key component of the Trust’s efforts to develop a sustainable market for renewable energy in Massachusetts. “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,” said education commissioner David Driscoll. “This program will help influence how future schools will be designed and built in Massachusetts.” The schools are expected to be under construction before 2004 and will receive up to $130,000 for incremental design costs and $500,000 for construction costs associated with the installation of renewable energy facilities and energy efficiency measures. Applications for a second round of funding for future projects will be accepted this fall. In addition to the US$13.5 million Green Schools Program, the Trust will launch a US$15 million Green Buildings Program for public agencies, associations and companies that plan to build or renovate buildings. The program is subject to final approval by MTC Directors and will be formally announced later this year. The Renewable Energy Trust was established by the state Legislature to promote a shift to greater reliance on renewable energy and to promote the use of renewables. During its first phase of operation, it has earmarked US$47 million in grants and financial support for renewable energy projects.