Schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States are using natural gas technologies to improve IAQ and cut down on energy costs, according to the American Gas Cooling Center (AGCC) and the American Gas Association (AGA).

“American schools spend more than $6 billion each year on energy. By using efficient natural gas technologies to generate electricity, as well as to heat and cool school facilities, educational institutions can cut their energy spending and devote the savings to hiring more teachers or buying more books,” said Tony Occhionero, executive director of the AGCC.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one out of every five U.S. schools has IAQ problems such as an inadequate flow of fresh air and mold contamination. This poor air quality can lead to drowsiness, headaches, and lack of concentration among students.

“Many educational facilities that use natural gas for traditional uses such as space heating, water heating, and cooking are now examining integrating building cooling systems fueled with natural gas,” sad Walter Woods, managing director for marketing development at the AGA.

According to the AGCC and the AGA, Congress is considering energy policy legislation that contains provisions to help schools use energy more efficiently. The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved national energy policy legislation (H.R. 4) that contains a pilot energy-efficiency program for schools.