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Exploring Benefits of HVAC Upgrades at K-12 Schools

by | May 2, 2023

The federal government distributed millions of dollars in pandemic relief funds to public schools recently – one of the approved uses was HVAC system upgrades. Because of this, school districts allocated large amounts from federal money towards such improvements; some opted to fund HVAC upgrades with their own budgets too. K-12 HVAC Funding Infographic (1)

What grants are available for improving HVAC in K-12 schools?

The ESSER funds are available for improving HVAC systems in public schools. States, school districts and even individual schools can access the grants to improve ventilation, heating and cooling systems, as well as other infrastructure upgrades. The money is intended to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through improved air circulation in classrooms and communal areas.


The ESSER funds are just one avenue for schools to finance HVAC improvements, though. Many states have their own school improvement grants, and some private foundations offer grants as well. Local funding sources, such as local governments or organizations, may also be available in certain areas.

School HVAC Investments

Recently, a number of school districts have either completed or are in the process of making major improvements to their HVAC systems. This project has been funded largely by three rounds of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ESSER). Schools can make use of ESSER II funds until September 2023 and ESSER III Funds until September 2024.

What types of upgrades are being made?

The most common upgrades to HVAC systems in schools are upgraded air distribution systems, improved ventilation and filtration. These projects often involve replacing outdated components with modern ones that use less energy and require less maintenance in order to keep costs down. New insulation and ductwork may also be installed to help improve efficiency. Additionally, some schools are installing ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems, which use UV light to help sanitize air inside the building. This helps reduce the spread of airborne viruses such as COVID-19.

Unit Ventilator for K-12 Schools with Cooney Freeze Block Protection


When increasing outdoor air for ventilation, schools should consider adding additional freeze protection for their HVAC coils. With increased outdoor air, coils are more vulnerable to exposure to freezing air in the winter months, which could lead to costly repairs and downtime. Adding a coil freeze protection system, like Freeze Block Coils with Smart Coil freeze detection system can help protect the HVAC system from damaging cold temperatures. Freeze Block coils can be easily installed into new air handling units or used as coil replacements in existing AHUs, and they can help extend the lifespan of these components.

What other benefits do HVAC upgrades provide?

Improving the heating, ventilation and cooling systems in a school can have more benefits than just reducing the spread of airborne viruses. By replacing old systems with energy-efficient models, schools can reduce their electricity bills and help fight climate change. Additionally, better air circulation in classrooms can improve student comfort and productivity, creating a better learning environment for students.

» In conclusion, it is clear that improving HVAC systems in schools is not only necessary for the safety of students and staff, but it can also provide numerous other benefits. With the help of various grants, school districts are able to make much-needed upgrades to their HVAC systems, creating a healthier and safer learning environment.

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