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Learn more about working with K-12 schools

The business opportunities are almost endless when you become the problem solver.

K12 Schools

Supporting student outcomes

After years of disruptions, schools are finally getting back to normal. Many administrators are facing new challenges, from hiring new staff members to helping students recover from lost learning. HVAC systems may not be top of mind right now. Yet, there are some very good reasons why maintenance and upgrades should not be delayed, and why now is a very good time to do it.

Getting administrators to focus on comfort systems will be easier when you connect the dots between their challenges and the HVAC systems and services you offer. In addition, stimulus funds may still be available for project funding. For school districts operating on chronically tight budgets, it would be a shame to leave that money on the table.

Here’s how you can make meaningful connections with your K-12 customers. 

Focus on students and effective learning

Multiple studies have shown that students learn better in classrooms with proper temperature, ventilation, acoustics and lighting. Ventilation got all the attention during the pandemic, and many schools prioritized the replacement of aging air handler systems. That’s a good start, but HVAC systems can do more than help protect students and staff from airborne illnesses. There is a strong correlation between high-performance classroom environments and academic achievement. Studies show students score higher test scores where HVAC systems properly manage physical comfort. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is somewhat intangible, yet when it comes to student outcomes it may provide as much bang for the buck as new computers or textbooks.

So, do your homework. Read the latest research on IEQ and student performance. Then approach administrators or facility managers with compelling leading questions like:

  1. Are you aware that HVAC system performance can be a factor in academic achievement? Make the case for an HVAC system upgrade.

  2. Are students comfortable in your classrooms? Do certain rooms or spaces run too hot or too cold? Explain how a building automation system could help.

  3. Did you know that state and federal funds can help pay for many HVAC upgrade projects? Leverage Trane’s expertise to help your K-12 customers find sources for project funding.

2023 DOE standards: Efficiency, electrification and cost savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change and reduce energy costs ( Every six years, this organization reviews how much energy certain mechanical systems use and determines if an increase in energy efficiency requirements is justified. 2023 will be a year of significant changes, as HVAC systems transition to new DOE efficiency standards for all newly manufactured residential and commercial air conditioners, heat pumps and gas furnaces. Students are the future, and it makes sense for schools to adopt the new standards to reduce schools’ contributions to greenhouse gases that scientists agree are accelerating the rate of climate change. If it’s time for an upgrade, you can be the one to make schools in your community more sustainable with HVAC products that meet or exceed DOE 2023 efficiency standards.

Many states are taking sustainability a step further by implementing more stringent building codes and incentives for “building decarbonization” and “electrification of heat.” For your K-12 customers in locations where this applies, you can be the educator. Take time to explain what this means, and how schools can do it affordably.

  • Decarbonization— Decreasing or eliminating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a building's operational activities, including from burning fossil fuels for heating.

  • Electrification—The process of switching building energy sources from on-site fossil fuels to electric sources, including for heating.

Trane offers a wide range of products that provide effective, all-electric, all-weather cooling and heating. Many of our industry favorites have recently been updated so that schools and other commercial buildings can take sustainability to the next level through electrified heating and improved energy efficiency ratings. 

The high cost of doing nothing (and how to prioritize doing something)

If the HVAC system is “working fine,” it can be easy to ignore the fact that an aging system may be costing the district money. It can be expensive, in some cases, to delay needed infrastructure improvements. You can use the following steps with your customers to determine if it is fiscally smarter to leave the system “as is” or to make cost-saving upgrades.

  1. Measure energy use continually.
    When it comes to understanding a school’s energy profile, data is vital. Connecting to a building automation system can help administrators reduce operational costs by benchmarking, tracking and trending the building’s energy use. Knowing when, why and how much energy each building is using identifies where change is needed.

  2. Set goals and make a plan.
    Schools are used to setting performance goals and measuring student outcomes. A similar analytical approach can be applied to school buildings. Following baseline analysis, it should be clear whether system changes are necessary. You’ll also be able to discuss potential steps that will yield the best results in terms of cost, comfort or sustainability, depending on district priorities. Each goal starts with developing a plan and implementing a means to track the results on a regular basis. Make plans to carry out the work, too.

  3. Understand what can, and what can’t be controlled.
    Some things are simply beyond control. For example, if you helped a school district customer reduced its energy use by making system upgrades, but then utility rates increase, their costs may rise anyway. Tracking energy use trends and costs can show the customer that their costs increased because of variables outside of your (or their) control. You can demonstrate how the upgrades are, in fact, saving them money. Without them, they would have paid even more. Working with a trusted energy service provider like Trane can help you uncover insights like this for your customers.

Trane can help you stay on top of HVAC trends and what they mean to your K-12 school customers. By continuously introducing innovative solutions and revising contractor favorites, we can help you help your customers operate cost effectively and sustainably to achieve better educational outcomes.