It’s been an unusually hot summer in Hawaii — climate change and the El Nino weather event have combined to create a season of hotter sea temps, vanishing tradewinds and high humidity. It’s been miserable, particularly in our classrooms without air conditioning or real heat abatements.
The problem is vast and expensive, but we will fix it. Here’s where we stand:
Cooling Projects: We have a spreadsheet showing all AC and heat abatement projects across our schools, including those that have been funded and added to our project system, and those that have been completed. It includes data from an ongoing survey of schools to find out how many individual buildings have AC. This list is updated weekly: bit.ly/heatprojects.
Capital Improvement Projects budget: Heat abatement funding belongs to an “Equity” bucket which received $15 million of the $91 million we requested in the last budget cycle. We asked the state for emergency dispensation to move funds from another bucket to accelerate projects. We were approved to shift $20 million from funds dedicated for other maintenance use. Learn more: bit.ly/DOEbudget.
Hawaii 3Rs: Mahalo to those who pitched in with emergency funds via the Cool Schools 2015 campaign, especially Central Pacific Bank Foundation ($25,000). We’ve purchased 404 portable AC units that are being deployed to schools now (with the help of Hawaiian Airlines, which offset costs of shipping). You can help: http://hawaii3rs.com.
Smart Projects: While AC is planned for the hottest schools, we face big hurdles adding it everywhere: Cost to install and maintain, and cost to power it. Our heat study details energy efficient projects that can drive classroom temps down to 76 degrees — cool roofs, PVAC, solar-powered ventilators with night flushing, and more. These are long-term solutions, projects to be funded in the CIP budget, then scheduled. Access the study here: bit.ly/HeatStudy.