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Governor Signs Heat Abatement Bill for Cooler Classrooms

June 26, 2017, 11:02 AM HST
* Updated June 26, 12:31 PM
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Governor David Ige signs HB 957 into law to help cool down public school classrooms statewide. Photo courtesy of Governorʻs Office.

Cooler classrooms are on their way to Hawai‘i public schools.

Governor David Ige has signed a new bill authorizing the Department of Education (DOE) to borrow interest-free money from the Hawai‘i Green Infrastructure Loan Program to reduce temperatures in public school classrooms statewide.

HB 957 (Act 57) will expedite cooler classrooms while reducing energy consumption and electricity costs.

“I ordered the cooling of 1,000 public school classrooms about a year and a half ago,” said Gog. Ige. “The state and the DOE have worked very hard to achieve this goal. Although the process hasn’t always been easy and it has taken more time than we would have liked, I am happy to say that we expect to have 1,000 classrooms cooled off by the end of August.”

The DOE also expects significant reductions in energy usage and related costs through the use of LED indoor lighting. A $4 million drop in energy costs is expected for public classrooms each year. The savings may provide AC units in classrooms without expensive or time consuming electrical upgrades.

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So far, the Gov. Igeʻs Cool the Schools initiative and the DOE’s Heat Abatement program have resulted in:

  • The installation of 456 AC units in classrooms
  • The installation of 201 photovoltaic AC units
  • The distribution of 402 portable AC units to the hottest classrooms throughout the state
  • Ordering of 1,062 AC units
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In additional heat reduction efforts, 461 portable classrooms have been covered with heat reflective material; trees have been planted to provide shade for buildings and minimize heat; awnings have been installed on at least four buildings; ceiling fans have been installed in 139 classrooms; and large diameter fans are being installed in cafeteria dining rooms.

“A big mahalo to our state legislators for their support of our efforts to cool the schools,” Ige said. “Thank you also to the DOE for its hard work and for helping us to achieve our goal of creating a learning environment in which our students and teachers can thrive.”

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