Public schools spend roughly $8 billion a year on energy bills — the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Promoting energy efficiency can be a good way to save money for school districts and increase the comfort and health of teachers and students, all while reducing pollution.
At a briefing in April 2022, the White House gave a shout out to a new tool that Berkeley Lab has developed to help manage energy saving projects.
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to upgrade public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design.
Berkeley Lab’s eProject eXpress (ePX) tool was cited by Vice President Harris. ePX supports energy retrofit projects for municipal and state governments, universities/colleges, schools, and hospitals (MUSH), also known as “the MUSH market”.
ePX aids in project management for energy saving performance contracts by simplifying the process of documenting, tracking, and demonstrating the ongoing value of projects. This helps leverage financing to maximize impact.
eProject eXpress is built on eProject Builder (ePB) – an online energy project data management system that has transformed the energy retrofit market. It is available for free to MUSH managers across the country, at https://eprojectbuilder.lbl.gov/login.
ePX and ePB help support the goals of DOE’s Performance Contracting National Resource Center, a hub for best practices and solutions for energy retrofits in federal and MUSH facilities.
DOE is also accelerating a range of grants, technical assistance, and lending to support school projects. These efforts include the Better Buildings Challenge and its K-12 Sector partnerships and DOE’s Loan Programs Office Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Solicitation that can be accessed by schools to provide up to $3 billion in loan guarantees for retrofit projects.