Gov. David Ige signed HB 957 (Act 57) – authorizing the Department of Education to borrow money, interest-free, from the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures in Hawai‘i’s public school classrooms.
This will expedite the cooling of classrooms across the state while decreasing energy usage and electricity costs.
“I ordered the cooling of 1,000 public school classrooms about a year and a half ago. The state and the DOE have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Although the process hasn’t always been easy and it has taken more time than we would have liked, I am happy to say that we expect to have 1,000 classrooms cooled off by the end of August,” said Gov. David Ige.
The DOE is expecting significant decreases in energy use and electricity costs. The use of LED indoor lighting in public school classrooms is expected to result in a $4 million drop in energy costs annually. Such reductions in energy consumption and the lowering of the kilowatt load may enable the installation of AC units in classrooms without expensive and time consuming electrical upgrades.
The governor’s Cool the Schools initiative and the DOE’s Heat Abatement program have resulted in:
- The installation of 456 classroom air conditioning units
- The installation of 201 photovoltaic AC units
- The distribution of 402 portable AC units to the hottest classrooms across the state
- Ordering of 1,062 AC units
In addition, 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material; trees have been planted to shade buildings and minimize heat; awnings have been installed on at least four buildings; ceiling fans have been installed in 139 classrooms; and large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.
“A big mahalo to our state legislators for their support of our efforts to cool the schools. Thank you also to the DOE for its hard work and for helping us to achieve our goal of creating a learning environment in which our students and teachers can thrive,” Ige said.