Back to School: How to create COVID-safe and sustainable learning environments
(ACEEE blog, 19 Nov 2020) This post is the second in a series focused on the energy efficiency implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and a safe, sustainable recovery. The first post explored ways to reduce transmission risks in buildings without wasting excess energy.
Communities across the country are grappling with how and when kids can safely return to school after the long—and, for those of us with school-age children—challenging period of distance learning. These communities and those where schools have reopened have great concern about improving the safety of school buildings in light of COVID-19 and preparing for future disease outbreaks.
The good news is that schools and policymakers can take steps now to create safe, sustainable learning environments that could deliver long-term energy savings. Indeed, some efforts are already underway. As the pandemic continues to delay school reopening or causes reopened schools to close again, there is an opportunity to make much-needed investments to upgrade and replace HVAC systems while schools are unoccupied.