Students keep their cool as air-conditioning program rolls out

Penrith MP Stuart Ayres with Kate Harrison, Jamison High School P & C Vice President. Photo: Melinda Jane.
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Summer days are a little easier for students in Penrith with confirmation that all schools in the city have had air-conditioning installed through the State Government’s Cooler Classroom Program.

Penrith MP Stuart Ayres visited Jamison High School on Monday, saying “cooler classrooms mean a better education environment”.

“Investments in air conditioning and the other school upgrades you have seen in Penrith can only happen if you manage the economy well,” he said.

“These upgrades are an educational dividend on that good economic management.”

The five-year program is delivering heating, cooling and fresh air ventilation in NSW public schools. This is the first time there has been a dedicated program to install air-conditioning in schools with those in the hottest part of the state prioritised.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the program is ahead of schedule for the existing schools receiving the system and she was thrilled to add more schools to the program.

“We know how important it is to provide students with a comfortable learning environment and this investment has seen works completed at more than 780 schools, with another 200 underway,” she said.

The systems installed as part of the Cooler Classrooms Program incorporate ‘smart systems’ technology that offer heating, cooling, and the provision of outside fresh air. The units will automatically shut-down after hours and will be powered by solar technology and battery storage to off-set energy usage at more than 700 schools.

In addition to air-conditioning, Jamison High School is also part of a pilot program with solar power and battery energy storage to promote sustainability.

As a pilot – the solar and battery system will test the most effective way that solar energy can be safely generated, stored and consumed on site at the school.

Ayres said the battery and solar installation had been a raging success for the school.

“Jamison High School now makes more energy than it uses. This means money that would go to paying a power bill is now being invested in educational outcomes,” he said.

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