The Maryland Energy Administration unveiled a plan to help K-12 public schools reduce and eliminate carbon emissions. The Decarbonizing Public Schools Program will provide capital to help local education agencies more fully incorporate a range of clean energy and energy efficient measures for the state’s public schools.

The new program provides incentives for a comprehensive suite of grants focused on capacity building, infrastructure upgrades, renewable energy adoption and the use of new, sustainable construction methods. Notably, the program will expand statewide construction and access to net zero energy schools by helping local education agencies retrofit, design and construct state-of-the-art, net zero energy campuses that produce enough on-location renewable energy to meet their total annual electricity demands.

Under a precursor to this program, Maryland built and opened its first three net zero energy schools. The first was Wilde Lake Middle School in Howard County, the others Holabird Academy and the Graceland Park/O’Donnell Heights Elementary/Middle School, both in Baltimore City.

The MEA and the Interagency Commission on School Construction jointly developed the Decarbonizing Public Schools Program as part of statewide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand use of clean energy sources. Program funding for fiscal 2024 is approximately $24 million.

Maryland’s local education agencies have until March 15 to review detailed program guidelines and submit applications for consideration. For more information, including program terms, conditions and instructions how to apply, visit www.energy.maryland.gov/Pages/SchoolDecarbonization.aspx.