Green Schools Grants

To date, 14 solar installations and 52 other green schools projects have been funded under our Green Schools Grants Program. Climate Cycle’s Green Schools Grants provide schools with the opportunity to inspire students to green our world through a variety of programming. See below for more information.

Curie HS solar array

12kW Solar Array at Curie Metro High School © E. J. Rublev


Solar Energy Arrays: With solar arrays, schools can begin meeting their energy needs with renewable sources of energy. Not only does this provide clean energy to school buildings, but, more importantly it is an opportunity to teach our next generation about the importance of sustainable living. These grid-tied systems begin as 1KwH demonstration systems that allow any person on an internet-enabled device to monitor the output of the system in real time and retrieve archival data.

Pedal-powered Classrooms: These bike generator systems allow riders to power devices in their own classrooms and learn about energy while connecting to the environmental movement. Specifically, the program provisions two to ten pedal powered systems, which can be used in one classroom or in several classrooms across a school. These systems use regular bicycles, pedal-a-watt systems to transfer energy, and 51 amp-hour AGM batteries which can supply 1500W of electricity.

Waste Reduction: Waste reduction programs focus on reducing consumption of non-renewable products, disposing of classroom and lunch materials appropriately, and understanding how the materials we use affect our planet. Successful applicants will determine the right mix of recycling and composting for their school, as well as whether the balance of the program should be mainly in classrooms or in lunchrooms.

School Gardens: School garden programs help students understand the natural landscape of Illinois as well as the food production process by experiencing it firsthand. These raised-bed gardens can be native plants, food gardens, or a mix, depending on the school’s needs. Climate Cycle will work with applicants to determine the size and scope of the gardens, and in some cases may suggest starting with classroom herb gardens in order to introduce students to the precepts of botany before the larger garden is planted.

Bike Clubs: School bike clubs help bring the clean energy movement to schools by allowing them to have a fleet of bikes that students can use for group rides as well as support in learning about bike maintenance and safety. As Chicago becomes a more bike friendly city, applicants will want to think about possible routes and how those routes help students develop a deeper understanding of sustainability in Chicago.

Innovation Challenge: This is a special type of grant to allow innovative schools to develop interesting programs to address school greening and understanding of climate and energy science. These ideas are far beyond what is represented in the program descriptions above and demonstrate a school’s deep thinking about how to take their green initiatives to the next level.