BlueGreen Alliance | Bill to Secure School HVAC Improvements Passes the Colorado Legislature

Bill to Secure School HVAC Improvements Passes the Colorado Legislature

May 9, 2024

DENVER – A bill passed by the Colorado legislature, HB24-1307 the HVAC Improvements for Public Schools bill, will create pathways for Colorado public schools to receive federal funding for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and air quality improvements. This legislation will also help school districts secure matching funds through the state and satisfy new federal funding requirements put in place to ensure that work is done by qualified workers and that jobs created by federal investment are good-paying jobs

The average age of Colorado’s school facilities is 40 years old and in recent years, schools have increasingly been in the news for “heat days” caused by lack of functioning air conditioning systems. This legislation ensures that Colorado public schools will be able to update their HVAC infrastructure using the billions of dollars of federal funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act tax credits and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and to hire a qualified workforce. Investing in modern HVAC systems will save schools money on energy bills by increasing efficiency of systems and will improve indoor air quality and temperatures for students and staff around the state. 

“I am proud to have sponsored HB24-1307, a bill that will help Colorado schools take advantage of the billions of dollars available to improve indoor air quality,” said Rep. Sheila Lieder (D-28). “This bill will bring jobs to all corners of the state and ensure that our children are breathing clean air in their school buildings.” 

“This bill is a win-win-win for schools, jobs, and our environment,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick (D-61). “Almost every teacher I know has a story about a school in their district that needs improvements, and HB24-1307 is a great first step in getting schools the funding they need to support students and staff across the state.” 

“HB24-1307 helps close the significant facilities improvement funding gap that exists for Colorado’s public schools,” said Sen. Janice Marchman (D-15). “As a teacher, I know the role that having a safe, comfortable classroom plays in the success of students and staff, and I cannot wait to see the positive impacts this will have on schools around the state.” 

“Colorado’s students and staff deserve to have HVAC systems that keep schools a comfortable temperature to work and learn,” said Sen. Jessie Danielson (D-22). “By connecting schools to qualified contractors, this bill helps Colorado meet the moment and get the most out of the federal funding available to our school districts so we can say goodbye to heat days.”   

“I’m very happy that the Colorado General Assembly passed this bill and urge Governor Polis to sign the bill into law so Colorado can join the six other states that have passed similar legislation,” said Jon Alvino, Business Manager for Sheetmetal, Air, Rail, and Transit (SMART) Union Local 9. “Our members at SMART Local 9 Sheet metal workers, along with all our statewide contractors, are ready to get out there and help improve the indoor air quality of our schools throughout our great state.” 

“The historic federal funding made available to school districts for infrastructure improvements by the Biden administration represents a huge opportunity for the state,” said Elena Santarella, BlueGreen Alliance Colorado Policy Organizer. “The HVAC Improvements for Public Schools’ bill ensures that Colorado schools can leverage these federal funds and make improvements to aging and broken HVAC systems, while ensuring that installation and maintenance are completed by a qualified workforce. We applaud the fantastic team of sponsors, Representatives Lieder and Hamrick and Senators Marchman and Danielson, for championing this important piece of legislation, and the General Assembly for passing the bill today. Our coalition urges Governor Polis to sign the bill into law to ensure students and faculty across the state have a safe learning environment.”