What You Need to Know about COVID Relief Funding for Indiana Schools

This past year has been rough on Indiana’s families, children, teachers and staff. Who would have ever imagined the challenges of getting everyone safe at home and adjusting to on-line learning, and now the herculean effort to bring everyone back to in-school learning safely?

Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of federal funding and innovative partnerships designed to enable safe, healthier, more energy efficient school environments. First the funding:

On December 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which includes a stimulus and pandemic relief package of almost $900 billion. Included in the stimulus package is $82 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, available through September 30, 2023.

Good news, right? What makes it even better is this: Indiana will be receiving approximately $858 million for K-12 schools or approximately four times the amount funded in 2020. This legislation extends and revisits much of the same education relief included in the CARES Act passed in March 2020 that provided $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

What’s new in the December legislation is a provision of funding for repairing and improving school facilities to reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards.

 This is a huge deal for schools concerned about creating a safer learning environment. Funding has been the largest hurdle in completing Indoor Air Quality projects for many school districts. The specific inclusion of facility improvements to reduce risk of COVID transmission and indoor air quality projects in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund highlights both the importance of the need to complete such projects and offers significant resources to do so without further strain to school district budgets.

Now for the partnership.

Solential Energy, a leader in commercial solar solutions, is partnering with Trane Technologies, a global climate innovator, to help school districts across Indiana re-imagine their energy strategies, take advantage of this one-time federal funding, and ultimately achieve greater efficiency, sustainability, and equity responding to the challenges created by the global pandemic.

It’s a hand-in-glove partnership that works for schools. Trane is a recognized leader in the Indoor Air Quality Space and with Solential, is well positioned to help build a stronger, more resilient and sustainable educational infrastructure. We have the expertise and tools to help schools optimize learning environments, while enabling them to be the best financial stewards of their community.

More specifically, Trane creates comfortable, energy efficient indoor environments through a broad portfolio of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and controls, services, parts, and supplies. Solential adds renewable solar energy to the equation, which has a positive impact on both the environment and lower energy costs.

A holistic approach to meeting the needs of K-12 schools

Every Indiana school district is different as is each school building within a district. The building systems heavily influence your student, teacher, and staff experiences in each school. Trane and Solential provides technical solutions customized for each school. We have several procurement options that make the implementation of projects simple. And, we’re happy to work with your financial partners if needed.

If your school district is interested in taking advantage of this funding, here are some important steps to take.

  • Assess – analyze the current systems in your school district’s  buildings. Are your HVAC and related energy systems meeting the demands of the new normal in terms of environmental air quality; overall comfort for students, teachers and staff; and energy efficiency.
  • Mitigate – develop and implement smart energy strategies that are student, teacher and staff-focused while improving building energy efficiency and overall sustainability in terms of performance, maintenance, energy use, and cost control.
  • Manage – determine how best to ensure your systems continue to meet your needs by continuously managing and monitoring spaces and performance.
  • Partner – identify a partner who can collaborate with you, your district’s leadership and maintenance team on creating safer, healthier, energy efficient school facilities while taking advantage of these federal funding streams.

Trane and Solential welcome the opportunity to help Indiana schools take advantage of these federal funds. Please contact us and let’s discuss how we can make your learning environments healthier through better air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability.