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    Energy Consulting & Services

    855.700.7771

The R Group specializes in helping school districts create best strategy for use of federal stimulus funding and infrastructure investments to improve air quality and ventilation systems.

Federal Stimulus Funds

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) and American Rescue Plan Acts (ARPA) provide $177.1 billion in ESSER II and ESSER III funding. The funding is distributed by the U.S. Department of Education directly to state education agencies (SEAs), which is then allocated to school districts, also known as local education agencies (LEAs).

Local education agencies receive 90% of appropriated funds based on their proportional share.

Available for obligation by SEAs and subrecipients through September 30, 2023

 

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) program provides large amounts of emergency aid available to school districts across the country. The R Group helps school leaders create a strategy to make facility improvements, safeguard the learning environment, and keep schools open.

 

ESSER II – CRRSA: December 2020 – $54.3B

The ESSER II funds are not required to be spent following ESEA Title I-A guidelines. However, several states have defined priorities for how funding is to be distributed while others let the local education agencies independently choose how to best allocate monies. The funds are reimbursable with some states requiring an application, account of how the funds will be spent, and an overall cost for the projects.

 

ESSER III – ARPA: March 2021 – $122.8B

For ESSER III, each state shall make allocations to local educational agencies in an expedited and timely manner and, to the extent practicable, not later than 60 days after the receipt of such funds. A local educational agency receiving funds under this section shall develop and make publicly available on the local educational agency’s website, not later than 30 days after receiving the allocation of funds a plan for the safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services.

Several Uses for Stimulus Funds

School Facility Repairs and Improvements to enable operation of schools to mitigate health risks and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student learning environments.

Improve Indoor Air Quality by upgrading HVAC systems, filtering, and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window & door repair and replacement.

Develop Strategies & Implement Public Health Protocols with guidance from the CDC for the reopening and operation of school facilities to address the well-being of students, educators & staff.

Airtight buildings, minimal airflow and limited ventilation have combined to create the Sick Building Syndrome.   Plus, it is known that school buildings are home to many sources of air contamination for mold, volatile organic compounds, bacteria, and airborne viruses. For over 30 years–The R Group has been at the forefront in providing environmental and sustainable technological solutions to deal with the syndrome. With COVID as an impetus The R Group has spent the last year developing an industry first comprehensive 5-Step Ventilation Solution.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

We want to reopen our school, but I am not sure where to start. What should we do first?

We are here to help, even when you are not sure what you need. We will consult with you at no cost to help define your needs, your opportunities, and a plan of action.

How do we know if our school’s needs are eligible for federal relief funds?

As part of our initial assessment, we will help you identify and prioritize what your facilities need, short term and long term.

From that prioritized list, we can advise you on the upgrades that are eligible for ESSER funding and how to apply. However, federal relief funds are merely one option. For years, we have helped schools secure other grants and financing, and strategically planned cost-effective projects that can pay for themselves.

Will improvements require disruptive replacements to our equipment and infrastructure?

We do not do “rip-and-replace.” We use and integrate as much of your current infrastructure as possible to retain familiarity and keep costs down.

First, we will help you determine whether your school’s HVAC equipment and other systems need upgrades, or just integration and adjustment. From there, any changes are designed to fit your needs, processes, and schedule so that disruption is kept to a minimum.

How difficult is it to comply with safety guidelines and regulations? How do we prove it?

By integrating your HVAC system with IAQ sensors, it can detect contaminants to clean the air automatically. We can also integrate other types of building systems with sensors to help automatically monitor and protect your school.

This integration of building systems and sensors gives you the data you need to demonstrate compliance, with easy reporting from your Healthy Buildings dashboard.

How difficult will this be to operate and maintain? Do we have to replace a lot of equipment?

We do not do “rip-and-replace.” We use and integrate as much of your current infrastructure as possible to retain familiarity and keep costs down.

First, we’ll help you determine whether your HVAC equipment needs upgrades or just integration and adjustment. From there, any upgrades are designed to fit your needs and processes, including ease of use and ease of maintenance.

Even if we receive a grant, will the ongoing costs of operations and maintenance be sustainable?

Ease of use, ease of maintenance, and sustainable costs are all factors we consider when planning improvements to your facilities. In many cases, integrated, automated building systems cost less to operate and maintain than manual or dysfunctional systems.

For instance, our R Group platform can also be adapted to improve system efficiency and reduce energy costs. This can include guaranteed-performance contracts and AI-driven energy efficiency that can increase savings by 10–20% without compromising comfort or facility health.

How difficult is it to comply with safety guidelines and regulations? How do we prove it?

As part of our initial assessment, we establish a quantitative baseline for your building’s health. This data can be used to assist with your application for federal grants or other relief. Then we integrate your building systems with sensors to monitor air quality and other factors

This integration of systems and sensors enables intelligent functions such as automatic air cleaning to help protect your school, and it gives you the data you need to show ongoing compliance.

Why do you start with indoor air quality?

According to studies and guidelines from the CDC, EPA and ASHRAE, proper ventilation and filtration are effective ways to reduce or remove unwanted particles including pathogens, pollutants, and other irritants, so we typically recommend cleaner air as a critical, cost-effective first step to a healthier building.

Is cleaning the air enough?

Cleaner air is a critical first step, but The R Group platform offers numerous ways to help you manage a complete safety protocol, all based on the engineering-driven integrated capabilities including improvement to ventilation for disease prevention and disinfecting.

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