Interested individuals and/or corporations can donate air conditioning units or funding for air conditioning units to specific schools or to the system. If you would like to make a donation to a particular school, we encourage you to contact the school’s principal. The principal will work with the appropriate HIDOE Facilities team to compile the information to ensure the unit is a match for the school's infrastructure.
Health and safety
There are several requirements, but the most important is indoor air quality. Most residential-size window units do not have fresh air intake capabilities as this is not required in residential use. This may sound odd, but when you purchase a window air conditioning unit at a retailer and install it at home, you may have four to six people in a room at a time. Not too much of a problem if everything is closed for the six people.
However, in a classroom setting, with as many as 30 people in the room, fresh air intake is necessary to maintain adequate indoor air quality. The fresh air system is important to regulate the carbon dioxide levels so that the students are not facing a potentially hazardous situation.
More than half of Hawaii’s public schools are more than 50 years old. You can go into an older classroom and see it may have only four electrical outlets.
HIDOE has been working to upgrade the electrical infrastructure particularly at our older schools. This will increase the available power to our classrooms so that we will be able to support the increasing number of computers, tablets and other electronic devices used in educating our students, as well as possible future heat abatement measures, including air conditioning.
In some cases, individuals or third-party groups have purchased air conditioning units without the required electrical capacity at the school, and circuits are blown for a couple of classrooms or even whole wings of campuses. With that comes a potential fire hazard.
SCHOOLS DIRECTED AC PROGRAM
Under the Department's Schools Directed AC program, schools leaders are able to to initiate the AC process by requesting an official electrical assessment from the Office of Facilities and Operations to determine where there is sufficient electrical capacity for AC in classrooms. The assessments are being done under existing heat abatement contracts using no additional funds.
Once assessments are completed, schools have a range of options to move forward, including starting to budget for the project, partnering with community groups for equipment donations, engaging area lawmakers, or seeking funds through the Department’s legislative budget request. Unlike some of the complex solar-powered systems designed and installed under the "cool classrooms" initiative, HIDOE is only allowing energy-efficient window AC units under the SDAC program to help control upfront costs and future maintenance.
What types of systems are acceptable?
- Capacity: Two 2-ton (24,000 BTU/h) units for a typical 900 square-foot classroom.
- Technology: Dual inverter or commercial grade.
- Energy efficiency: Energy Star certified.
What would not work would be portable air conditioning units or used systems.
What are the steps to make a donation?
If you are making a donation to a school, please first contact the principal of that campus to discuss the gift. If you want to make a monetary donation or a donation that does not go to a specific campus, please contact the Auxiliary Services Branch at 586-3452.