LANSING— State Rep. Jon Hoadley (D-Kalamazoo) announced today that he is introducing a bill to create a revolving loan fund to help schools make renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. The bill is part of a seven-bill package, announced this week, to aid in creating healthy environments in schools to help students learn and grow. The bills would help schools improve the health and wellness of students and staff, reduce their environmental impact and energy costs and address environmental and sustainability literacy. Also announced this week is the creation of the Better Classroom Caucus to address the environmental and health factors in schools.
“We know that energy efficiencies and renewable energy can save money for our schools, and the loan fund created by my bill would help schools pay for these modifications so that schools can have more money for books, libraries and other needs,” said Hoadley.
The seven-bill Democratic-sponsored package consists of the following bills:
- Energy Efficient School Loan Fund: Creates a loan fund enabling schools to make renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements. (Hoadley)
- School Siting: Requires environmental assessments be conducted for any proposed school construction site or additions to an already acquired site. (Rep. Stephanie Chang)
- Air and Water Testing: Requires the state Board of Education to revise its model local wellness policy to include a plan for testing the water and air quality in every school.(Rep. Darrin Camilleri)
- Environmental Testing Assistance Fund: Creates a one-time $9 million supplemental appropriation for water and air quality testing and remediation in schools. (Rep. Camilleri)
- School Energy Audits: Encourages each school building in a district to conduct an energy audit very three years to identify potential efficiencies and conservation improvements. (Rep. Henry Yanez)
- School Lighting Standards: Suggests a lighting standard in newly constructed schools that would be in line with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) efficiency standards. (Rep. Robert Wittenberg)
- Environmental Literacy Task Force: Creates the Environmental Literacy Task Force to develop an environmental literacy model curriculum designed to help students understand and address environmental challenges, contribute to students’ healthy lifestyles, improve existing environmental curriculum, and provide activities and programs that advance environmental education. (Rep. Kristy Pagan)
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, 18 Michigan schools have already achieved LEED standards and efficiency in their buildings. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, there are currently 13 states that have adopted policies similar to those proposed here in Michigan for new construction: Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington and Washington D.C.