Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced $50.5 million in critical capital projects funding for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE). $30 million will go toward the Healthy School Facility Fund project in particular, which provides for IAQ improvements in school buildings for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.
The funding stems from Senate Bill 611, in 2018. Maryland Association of Counties stated in testimony,
The State’s school facilities are an average age of 29 years, a statistic that belies many schools much older than 29 years and still in regular use. Issues such as heating failures, air quality concerns, mold and temperature fluctuations frequently plague aging schools. Investment in updated systems and infrastructure improvements in these areas contributes to healthy learning environments. Addressing these building issues may also provide long-term cost savings for counties, school boards and the State of Maryland with improved energy efficiency and extended facility life.https://conduitstreet.mdcounties.org/2018/03/20/30-million-for-healthy-schools-passes-maryland-senate/
The project presents a huge opportunity for local HVAC, IAQ and plumbing businesses in Maryland. Learn more about the funding and the critical role IAQ has in school reopening plans.
Proud to announce $50.5 million for critical capital projects, including school construction and economic development initiatives. These shovel-ready projects will help create jobs and lay the foundation for the strongest possible recovery.— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) January 8, 2021
Details: https://t.co/ByD0k45Ipb pic.twitter.com/gNx8HtqnrI
Benefits of IAQ Improvements in School Buildings
Schools will spend the MSDE funding on improving the learning environment for students in public school buildings. Studies show that comfortable temperatures and healthy indoor air quality increase a student’s academic performance. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says IAQ improvements in school buildings decrease student absenteeism due to illness, allergies and asthma. Lastly, building projects to improve IAQ and energy efficiency are proven to be cost-effective in the long-run.
The Critical Role of HVAC, Plumbing and IAQ Experts
According to the bill, the Interagency Commission on School Construction shall give priority in awarding grants to schools based on the severity of need for the following issues in the school, including:
- Air conditioning
- Indoor air quality
- Mold remediation
- Temperature regulation
IAQ experts are all pushing for the same control methods … we need to see it happen at schools. On a big level, HVAC upgrades for every system to keep students, teachers, staff safe.— IAQ Works (@IaqWorks) January 8, 2021
HVAC, plumbing and IAQ experts’ have a critical role. They will help determine which schools in Maryland are given project priority.
A thorough assessment of each school’s buildings will report on water leaks, energy efficiency, air pollutants, mold and HVAC system functionality. After a completed assessment, applications are submitted for review and approval. With project approval, schools are then allocated grants for products, installations and services.
As more public schools work to improve their public school buildings with IAQ products and services, the demand for testing and installing is set to explode in 2021. If you’re in the home service business and not sure how to get started in IAQ, we can help.