Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for SRS pilot grants?
The Smart & Resilient Schools Program (SRS) is funded by electric utilities, non-profit organizations and research institutions such as the Department of Energy that are looking for affordable ways to assist schools and community organizations transitioning to clean energy and decarbonized building operations. Project sponsors are looking for school host sites with or without existing solar installations, high energy and demand charges on their electricity bills, and motivation to either electrify, decarbonize or make building operations far more efficient. Pilot grants are intended to help schools that need a quick and efficient way to address energy cost, carbon, and resilience.
How do I apply?
Schools interested in applying to be the host site should fill out the application form.
The next steps will be:
  1. We will schedule a 30-minute phone call with your organization champion and an SRS program manager
  2. Your school will submit data authorization through Utilty API, where available, or your local utility
  3. After looking at your data we may call to follow up (30 minutes) with the facility or maintenance manager
  4. Those who progress past this step will do a site walk with the SRS program manager (4 hours) to ensure the pilot technology will work at your chosen site
What does the pilot entail?

Schools and districts selected for SRS pilots will receive a free installation and 1-2 year license for a smart building technology for managing energy, carbon and comfort in commercial buildings. The technology deploys a novel Machine Learning algorithm that generates a model of how the selected building should optimally run based on the physical structure of the building, user inputs and data-derived insights into how a building, equipment and occupants interact while also responding to grid, or, energy pricing signals.

In a similar way to how Snapchat bunny ears follow a human face, the model predictive control technology operates the building equipment as close as possible to the optimum in real time and in doing so saves end users from having to manually adjust building and equipment operation. That saves time and money while actually improving occupant comfort. Doing so improves the economics of resilience and defrays the cost of  backup generation for the host school should your district wish to move in that direction. Your site is under no obligation to renew the software license once the pilot ends.

What if we don’t have solar?
Good news! Any schools (even those without solar) are welcome to apply for the program. While some program sponsors require that host sites have solar, others provide the grant as long as the total energy and demand charge savings justify enrollment. Our program managers will be able to help you determine eligibility. What's more, even those who cannot host a pilot can participate in Smart & Resilient Schools human centered design workshops to learn more about the energy transition and to advance students’, faculty, family members’ and staff understanding of energy flexibility as a core component in a resilient, renewable energy future. Sign up for details.
When will all of this happen?
SRS will reach out to all districts, schools and champions who have applied to be a host site in order to answer questions and gauge eligibility. SRS program managers will set up 30 minute phone calls to go over program eligibility criteria and gather data authorizations.We will ask for some documentation that could take about an hour to collect depending on whether it is readily at hand or requires digging.

SRS will analyze energy and site specific building data and select qualified host site finalists. SRS crews will schedule and conduct site inspections.The site visit takes 2-8 hours depending on how large and complex the site is.

May - June
The SRS team will collate site data, analyze potential for impact and select finalist schools for implementation. All SRS applicants and communities will be eligible to participate in virtual, educational workshops on Grid-Interactive Efficient Buildings and the energy transition.This is on us - we might ask you for info here and there maybe 30 min- 1 hour meeting.

June - December
SRS will coordinate 1-2 day site setup and installations. Throughout summer unoccupied periods we will calibrate the model for full operation by fall. We will roll out the monitoring, results, outcomes and lessons learned from the broader Smart & Resilient Schools community at the end of every year.These typically take 4 hours - 8 for large and complex sites.
How can this be free to the school that hosts the pilot?
Financial support for Smart & Resilient Schools is provided through sponsoring utilities, non-profits and other funders who are interested in providing financial and research support to community organizations attempting to decarbonize by 2030. You can learn more about the various program funding sources and objectives at Community Energy Labs' News page.