The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it has opened applications for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, which will award $180 million to districts across the country engaging in strategic partnerships that aim to build capacity and implement energy upgrades at K-12 schools, lower energy use and costs, improve indoor air quality and foster healthier learning environments.

The 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, represents a groundbreaking investment in energy-efficient and renewable energy infrastructure at underserved K-12 public schools and contributes toward the nation’s broader Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure.

The 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize will invest an anticipated $180 million in school facilities that demonstrate the need for both energy improvements and financing, with a focus on schools that serve disadvantaged communities, including those with a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, and/or which qualify as rural. Eligible improvements – like new HVAC and ventilation systems, building envelope and lighting projects, alternative fuel (such as electric) vehicles and infrastructure, and renewable energy technologies – will improve energy performance and/or lead to improvements in student, educator, and staff health. By reducing energy use, these investments can reduce building operating costs – the second highest operational expense for schools. The savings can be reinvested in programs like afterschool, summer learning and other educational opportunities and resources for students. At the same time, learning environments that have been enhanced with better indoor air quality, lighting, and other upgrades supported by the U.S. Department of Education’s investments, can boost student health outcomes and improve overall well-being and academic performance.

Competitive proposals will implement energy assessments and building improvement projects across a portfolio of 10 or more school facilities.  A portfolio may be composed of school facilities from one or more districts. Competitors submitting proposals should be organizations or teams with the capacity to aggregate and manage projects across a portfolio. During Phase 1, competitors will build teams and curate lists of school facilities that demonstrate both need and eligibility for investment.

Each Phase 1 winner will earn a cash prize of $300,000 and move on to Phases 2 and 3, during which they will enter and execute a Cooperative Agreement with the USDOE. Awards made in Phases 2 and 3 will vary by portfolio size but could range from $7.5 million to $15 million. The USDOE will issue the largest awards to portfolios serving 20 or more school facilities, offering a total of $15.3 million to winners in this category for completing all three phases.

The Renew America’s Schools Program aims to help school districts across the country make energy upgrades that lower utilities costs, improve indoor air quality, and foster healthier learning environments. In 2023, this program announced selections for its first round of funding – the Renew America’s Schools grant – which invested $178 million in over 90 school facilities across 22 states, and directly benefitted about 74,000 students and 5,000 teachers.

The USDOE is now accepting applications for the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize. Submissions are due on Thursday, June 13 at 5 p.m. ET.

To access the 2024 Renew America’s Schools Prize, visit To view the tools and resources that will support your application, visit /scep/renew-americas-schools.

Learn more in the full news release.