Electric bikes. Electric cars. And…electric schools? It’s true! Mayor Eric Adams announced a new enviro-focused initiative that will make all new NYC schools electric, eliminating heating oil and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
As part of the plan, which is dubbed “Leading the Charge,” the construction of all new city schools will be all-electric. And, the city will complete or initiate the conversion of 100 existing schools to all-electric heating by 2030.
Right now, the city is using No. 4 heating oil schools, which some research has shown is a high pollutant. Under the plan, Adams said he will end the use of this type of oil before 2030, which is when No. 4 heating oil will be banned in NYC.
“New York City is ‘Leading the Charge’ in fighting climate change, giving our young people the tools for a great education and preparing them for the green jobs of the present and the future,” Adams said.
P.S. 5 in Bedford-Stuyveant, Brooklyn, will become the city’s first existing school to undergo the infrastructure makeover. There is no word yet on which island schools will immediately follow.
Going Green Will Cost Some Green
Making NYC schools electric isn’t cheap. The price tag for the plan is $4 billion. So far, the city committed $2 billion. It’s yet to be announced how the rest of the costs will be covered.
It’s not just about heating systems, though. The hefty cost also includes installation of upgraded LED lights in 800 schools by 2026. There will also be support training and development for students who want to be part of a “green workforce.”
“Schools are the centers of our communities, and it is paramount that our buildings and facilities operate in a way that bolster healthy learning environments for our students and support a cleaner city for New Yorkers, young and old,” David Banks, NYC Department of Education chancellor, said. “Beyond making our city a greener place, this initiative will work to provide our students with invaluable career experiences, preparing them to one day join the workforce tackling climate change. I’m proud of the strides this administration is taking towards combating climate change through this initiative.”
Making NYC Schools Electric: Losing Fossil Fuels
The city will no longer initiate projects to install fossil-fuel combustion boilers in existing schools. The program is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 120,000 tons annually. It’ll also remove over 20,000 pounds of harmful fine particulates from the air, according to the city.
The city will eliminate the use of No. 4 heating oil by 2026 by converting over 200 schools to ultra-low sulfur biofuel, a “critical step towards electrification.”
Adams’ investment in school electrification includes $520 million over the next two fiscal years to electrify the first 19 existing schools. These electrification projects will replace fossil fuel-burning boilers that provide heat in older schools with high-efficiency, all-electric heat pumps, leapfrogging the conventional conversion to natural gas boilers and avoiding a prolonged dependency on fossil fuels.
On Tuesday, the mayor also announced more than $18 million in funding from the U.S. EPA’s Clean School Bus program for 51 new school buses.
“We are going to be expanding renewable energy and reducing emissions, switching to these electrified powered school buses, electrifying our schools and a fleet of clean energy buses to get children to their destination,” Adams said. “It’s something we must do now to protect our city and our children.”
To learn more about the Leading the Charge initiative, visit nyc.gov.
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