State invests $25 million to cut schools' energy bills

Public school districts across Maryland can now apply for state funding to reduce their energy consumption as part of a new $25 million "green schools initiative," the Maryland Energy Administration announced Wednesday.

The effort is meant to help "accelerate" the state's goal of reducing its overall energy consumption by 15 percent in the next three years, the administration said.

The funding will come from the state's capital budget for schools planning, the administration said.

New construction efforts and changes to lightbulbs and heating and air conditioning units in schools will save the state an estimated $80 million over the lifetime of the new equipment, the administration said.

School districts with engineering design costs incurred between June 15 and Oct. 15 of this year are eligible for reimbursement through the program, though costs associated with joined "design-build projects" are not eligible, according to the administration's website.

School districts must apply for the funding on the administration's website by Nov. 9.

The project is being run by the state's Public Schools Construction Program and is part of a $373 million budget for school construction.

In a statement, State Superintendent of Schools Lillian M. Lowery called the program an "outstanding opportunity" for the state's public schools districts.

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