BC Independent Schools – Air Quality Improvement Grant Application
Ventilation Grant Application Form – Due Sept. 16, 2022
During the pandemic a heightened awareness of the importance of air quality within schools was followed by recommendations focused on enhancing air filtration systems. Subsequently FISA, along with representatives from the other BC education partner groups, convened with Ministry of Education and Child Care personnel and engineers with expertise in air quality, filtration, ventilation, and HVAC systems to discuss the broader topic of air quality in classrooms. Some of the take-aways from these discussions were that improving air quality is complex and impacted by several factors – ventilation system capacities, fresh air exchange, appropriate MERV ratings to match the HVAC system, air changes per hour (AC/hr), energy requirements/efficiencies, digital HVAC control systems…
Early in 2022, FISA became aware of a federal grant that was being distributed to provinces to support air quality in schools. FISA successfully advocated for independent school participation in this grant, as we feel this addresses the health and wellbeing issues that are applicable to all BC students. However, only Group 1 or 2 BC independent schools that are certified to operate in the 2022 – 2023 school year may apply for this grant. FISA greatly appreciates and acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Education and Child Care.
On July 28, 2022, FISA was informed that the independent school sector will receive an $806,000 grant to be administered through the FISA office. In conversations with the MoECC and the FISA Board it was recognized that if this grant was to be equally allocated to the 365 independent schools in BC, the amount each school would receive would be insufficient to make substantive air quality improvements for our sector. Therefore, following the recommendations of the K-12 Schools Ventilation Panel, the MoECC and in consultation with the FISA Board, FISA will engage independent schools in an application process that will prioritize projects for schools with the greatest need and highest urgency to improve their air quality. These will likely be older school buildings that do not operate mechanical ventilation systems, with fresh air exchange capabilities (their only access to fresh air is through functioning windows or doors to the outside). It is highly recommended that applicant schools consult with their heating/HVAC professional to assist with their application and determine projects and purchases that will make the greatest impact on air quality for their school.
Eligible Prioritized Expenses for Independent School Ventilation Grant Applicants
|1||Procurement and deployment of standalone HEPA filtration units in occupied classrooms and portables that currently have no access to mechanical ventilation. It is recommended that HEPA filtration units for a standard size classroom (80m2) deliver air filtration of at least 150 cubic feet per minute, or more as deemed appropriate by your HVAC consultant.
This priority must be fully addressed with allocated funds before any grant balance can be expended on other eligible priorities.
|2||Improvements to existing ventilation systems and associated control systems that increase the airflow within schools and can be completed by December 15, 2022.|
|3||Ventilation filter upgrading and replacement, including equipment and related operating expenses.|
|4||Utility costs associated with running ventilation systems at a higher throughput, to increase the airflow within a building.|
|5||Procurement and deployment of standalone HEPA filtration units within other shared spaces within schools, as appropriate.|
Application Adjudication Process
- To ensure wider distribution of this grant, there will be a maximum grant value of $25,000 per school.
- Grants will be approved based on the following rank order of priority:
- Schools with no mechanical ventilation systems (e.g. HEPA filter unit procurement).
- Schools with systems that have a capacity to provide less than 4 AC/hour (e.g. projects that increase airflow).
- Schools with systems capacity to provide between 4 – 6 AC/hour (e.g. projects that increase airflow).
- Schools with systems that have a capacity for above 6 AC/hour with dampers controlled in parallel with heating valves.
- Grant applications can be accessed at this link and require you to supply information describing your planned projects and their associated costs.
- Applications will be accepted up to 4:00 PM on September 16, 2022.
- Applicants will be informed of the status of their grant application by October 3, 2022. The full amount of the successful applicant grant must be spent by December 31, 2022.
Executive Director, FISA BC