AUSTRALIA: AUS$500m (€320m) has been allocated for air conditioning in New South Wales schools – the largest investment of its kind in the state’s history.

The funding which is expected to benefit up to 1,000 public schools will be announced by the New South Wales government in next week’s state budget.

Announcing the funding, the NSW Government said its new Cooler Classrooms policy would provide improved learning environments for thousands of classrooms and libraries.

“This funding will ensure thousands of classrooms that previously did not have air conditioning will now receive it,” said premier Gladys Berejiklian.

As well as providing air conditioning for existing schools, the funding applies to all new schools and school upgrades.

The NSW government says it will ensure that the NSW Government responds to the needs of students in not only the hottest parts of the State, but also in other areas across NSW. It will look at other factors that influence how a classroom feels for students such as humidity, the local microclimate, design of the classrooms and schools, as well the impact of hot days on students with specific needs.

“Smart” systems that offer heating, cooling, humidity control and outside fresh air have been earmarked for installation. NSW says the power required will be offset by power generated by solar panels and, where possible, supported with battery storage.