Grant Funding to Address Indoor Air Pollution at Schools
On this page:
- Overview of Grant Program
- Eligible Entities and Activities
- Important Dates
- Grant Documents
- Past Events: Stakeholder Engagement
On other pages:
The Inflation Reduction Act provides funding for grants to “monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants at schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities.” Grantees will assist K-12 schools in low-income, disadvantaged, and Tribal communities in the development and adoption of comprehensive indoor air quality (IAQ) management plans to address air pollution and energy efficiency consistent with EPA’s recommended best practices.
For complete details on this funding opportunity, please review the entirety of the Notice of Funding Opportunity and Questions & Answers documents posted below. If you have questions after reviewing these documents, please contact IAQSchools@epa.gov.
EPA studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels. Often, indoor air quality is poor because indoor sources of air pollution, like mold, are not controlled and the pollutant levels can become concentrated without adequate ventilation of fresh outdoor air. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of concern because most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor pollution in schools is a particular concern because children’s developing bodies breathe more air in proportion to their body weight than adults.
Good IAQ is a critical component of a healthy indoor environment and can help schools achieve their primary goal of educating children. Good IAQ management includes:
- Control of airborne pollutants.
- Introduction and distribution of adequate outdoor air.
- Maintenance of acceptable temperature and relative humidity.
Failure to prevent or respond promptly to IAQ problems can increase long- and short-term health effects for students and staff, increase absenteeism, reduce academic performance, and shorten the lifespan and effectiveness of facility systems and equipment. Examples of the health effects of indoor air pollution include coughing, respiratory diseases, allergic reactions, and aggravated asthma.
EPA and the broader scientific community have also identified significant risks to children’s health and the environment from greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. These risks include exposure to wildfire smoke, insect- and tick-related diseases and heat illnesses in children who often spend more time outdoors than adults. Implementing energy efficiency measures while simultaneously improving IAQ in schools can help mitigate climate and pollution impacts while providing long-term savings through lower energy consumption.
Grantees will assist schools in developing and implementing comprehensive IAQ management plans to address these issues. Schools with IAQ management plans are better prepared to:
- Conduct preventative maintenance to avoid costly IAQ issues before they start.
- React quickly when IAQ issues do arise.
- Build resiliency into facility maintenance by documenting operations to ensure staff can step up to fill roles when needed.
- Identify opportunities for improving energy efficiency to save money and the environment.
- Prioritize necessary infrastructure upgrades so that schools can justify capital costs and are ready to take advantage of federal, state, and local funding opportunities.
Grants will be distributed on a competitive basis to states, territories, Indian Tribes, nonprofit organizations, and local governments and educational agencies.
Entities with experience conducting national, regional, or multi-state IAQ management capacity building programs, providing IAQ training, executing IAQ research in school settings, or disseminating IAQ standards/policies that have achieved positive outcomes – especially with schools and Tribal entities – are encouraged to apply.
Eligible applicants may submit only one grant application to fund activities in two or more of the four project areas listed below:
- IAQ and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Capacity Building targeting facility management staff, health officers, and key decision makers at K-12 schools and/or school districts in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
- Tribal IAQ and GHG Reduction Capacity Building targeting facility management staff, health officers, and key decision makers at K-12 schools in Tribal communities.
- IAQ and GHG Reduction Training and Education Campaign for facility management staff and health officers at K-12 schools and school districts in low-income, disadvantaged, and Tribal communities, and/or the development of qualified K-12 school staff necessary to execute comprehensive IAQ and GHG Reduction Plans.
- IAQ and GHG Reduction Research and Demonstration Projects in K-12 schools located in low-income, disadvantaged, and/or Tribal communities.
The total estimated funding for this competitive opportunity is $32,000,000. EPA anticipates awarding four to six grants of $5,000,000 to $8,000,000 to support five years of IAQ activities. The final number and value of grants awarded through this funding opportunity will be subject to the availability of funds, the quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations.
Important Dates and Deadlines
Notice of Funding Opportunity Opens
Funding Opportunity Number:
Final Date to Submit Questions
Submit to: IAQSchools@epa.gov
Notice of Funding Opportunity Closes
Funding Opportunity Number:
Submit applications by 11:59 p.m. ET
Anticipated Notification of Selection
Please review the entirety of the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and Questions & Answers documents before applying on grants.gov.
- NOFO: Grant Funding to Address Indoor Air Pollution at Schools - updated February 21, 2024 (PDF)
- Questions and Answers -updated February 21, 2024 (PDF)
To inform the development of this funding opportunity, EPA sought input on the design of the program to inform the types of projects that may be eligible for the program. EPA collected feedback between November 2022 and June 2023 via Grants.gov requests for public comment, listening sessions, and email. In particular, EPA requested feedback on the following:
- What specific IAQ and energy efficiency/greenhouse gas emission reduction, approaches, strategies, support and services, that are the most successful in school buildings do you recommend we support as eligible grant activities?
- What specific approaches do you recommend to promote the successful award of these grants to support schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities most in need?
- What barriers might eligible applicants face in applying for these grants? What kind of support would entities need to apply?
- What technical assistance, guidance and other non-financial support is most needed to help schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities implement effective and sustainable IAQ and energy efficiency programs?
EPA was pleased to receive over 1,300 comments from more than 350 individuals/organizations and has taken this feedback into consideration in the development of the funding opportunity.
On January 11, 2024, the day the application period started, EPA held a short call with nonprofit organizations to introduce the new program. EPA has posted a recording of the call.