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Energy CLASS Prize

Building capacity within local educational agencies to identify and implement energy and health improvements in public school facilities.
stage:
Informational Webinar
prize:
$4,500,000
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Summary
Timeline
Updates6
Forum2
Teams249
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FAQ
Summary

The Energy CLASS (Champions Leading the Advancement of Sustainable Schools) Prize supports local education agencies, helping establish and train energy managers to identify, plan, and implement efficiency and health upgrades in schools.

Important Dates 

  • November 29, 2022: Phase 1 Opens
  • February 28, 2023: Phase 1 Submissions DUE by 5 p.m. ET
  • May 2023: Phase 2 Opens
  • May 2024 (anticipated): Phase 2 Submissions Due

About the Energy CLASS Prize 

The Energy CLASS Prize is designed to provide training and cash prizes to school district administration and facilities staff to make energy management a sustainable feature of their communities while positioning them to make meaningful infrastructure improvements that will reduce utility costs, improve indoor air quality, and improve learning environments long-term. A total of $4.5 million in awards is available, including $3.75 million in cash prizes for selected LEAs to fund energy management professionals-in-training and an additional $750,000 in technical assistance from Energy CLASS Training Network partners. The Energy CLASS Training Network includes professional training organizations and energy efficiency experts who will provide training and support to Energy CLASS participants.

Background

Energy costs for public schools in K-12 school districts total $8 billion annually. More than just utility bills, poorly maintained critical building systems—such as HVAC systems—can contribute to respiratory issues and promote the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. And, while schools have significant energy savings and efficiency opportunities, aging buildings are often subject to budgetary challenges for cash-strapped and understaffed school districts. 

The U.S. Department of Energy State and Community Energy Program Office (SCEP) is announcing the Renew America’s Schools grant, offering $80 million to help schools across the country implement infrastructure upgrades that will lower utility costs, improve indoor environmental quality, and reduce carbon emissions. This is part of an overall $500 million program designed to provide competitive grants to make energy efficiency improvements and alternative fueled vehicle upgrades at public schools. 

Understanding that many school districts lack the bandwidth or knowledge to finance, build, and sustain energy upgrades, SCEP is also launching the Energy CLASS Prize to build institutional knowledge and personnel capacity at local educational agencies (LEAs). Energy managers, or Champions, trained under this Prize will learn to identify, plan, and implement critical upgrades in school facilities, so that students can learn in comfortable and healthy classrooms.

The Energy CLASS Prize is made up of two phases:

Phase 1: Application

LEAs will submit their statement of need and letters of support, demonstrate their commitment to making building energy upgrades, and identify staff to participate in the program. Up to 25 LEAs will each receive $100,000 in cash prizes to support participation in training over a 12-month period during Phase 2.

Phase 2: Skills Development and Coaching

Phase 1 participants will be invited to participate in 80–160 hours of online educational courses delivered by training professionals. In addition to DOE-funded trainings, teams will receive one-on-one support and coaching pertaining to building upgrades associated with the specific LEA district.

At the conclusion of Phase 2, participants will submit a progress report on actions identified or taken and a plan for future building upgrades for a chance to win a $50,000 bonus prize. 

 

 


Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the contact feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at energyclassprize@nrel.gov.

Timeline
Updates6

Challenge Updates

Get Help With Your Phase 1 Submission + Email Issue Now Resolved

Jan. 25, 2023, 7:39 a.m. PST by NREL

Join Energy CLASS Prize Office Hours on February 7, 1-2:30 p.m. ET to ask all of your questions about the $4.5 million prize including what you need to submit for Phase 1, eligibility rules, upcoming deadlines, and more. 

You can also check out the prize FAQs or watch the Energy CLASS Prize Informational Webinar

Phase 1 submissions are due on February 28, 2023, by 5 p.m. ET.  

 

Additionally, it was recently brought to our attention that the email address was not properly receiving messages, which resulted in numerous bouncebacks. This issue has now been resolved. If you have recently sent an email inquiry into the  inbox, please resend your email and will be respond as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Energy CLASS Prize Webinar 12/7 Q&A Responses Now Available!

Jan. 6, 2023, 8:17 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Have a question about the Energy CLASS Prize? Check out the Q&A from the Energy CLASS Prize Informational Webinar. Questions and answers range from application eligibility to key deadlines, and information about the goals of the prize. 

If you have additional questions, take a look at the official rules document, use the HeroX forum to post a public question, or email .

Don’t forget to create a HeroX account and follow the prize for the latest updates and information. Phase 1 Submissions are due February 28, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET. 


Energy CLASS Informational Webinar – Recording and Slides Now Available!

Dec. 9, 2022, 3:45 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Thank you to all who attended last week’s informational webinar on the Energy CLASS Prize! If you were unable to attend or would like to share the information with others, both a recording of the presentation and a copy of the slides are now available on HeroX under the “resources” tab. We will also be posting written responses to the Q&A in the coming week. 

Remember that final Phase 1 submission are due no later than February 28th at 5 p.m. ET.

If you have any questions about the prize, please do not hesitate to email us at:  

 

Thank you and Happy Holidays,

Energy CLASS Prize Administration Team


Join us TOMORROW for the Energy CLASS Prize Informational Webinar!

Dec. 6, 2022, 8 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Be sure to join us tomorrow, Dec 7, at 1 p.m. ET for an Energy CLASS Prize informational webinar!

During the webinar we’ll give participants an overview of the Energy Class Prize, submission requirements, scoring criteria, and winner selection process. Competitors will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Can’t make it? You’ll find the full webinar recording on the Resources page after the event, or you can always post a question to the public Forum to gather feedback from the community and prize administrator.  Questions from the webinar will also be posted to the prize FAQ

Get your questions ready and register now for the Energy CLASS Prize Informational Webinar on Dec 7!


Don't Forget to Register for the Energy CLASS Informational Webinar - Dec 7!

Dec. 2, 2022, 8 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

If you’re considering competing in the Energy CLASS Prize, join us for an informational webinar on December 7, 2022, at 1 p.m. ET. 

During the webinar we’ll give participants an overview of the Energy Class Prize, submission requirements, scoring criteria, and winner selection process. Competitors will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Can’t make it? You’ll find the full webinar recording on the Resources page after the event, or you can always post a question to the public Forum to gather feedback from the community and prize administrator.  Questions from the webinar will also be posted to the prize FAQ

Get your questions ready and register now for the Energy CLASS Prize Informational Webinar on Dec 7!


Forum2
Teams249
Resources
FAQ