With energy costs rising, we are taking the initiative to find ways to improve system comfort, create budget savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In April 2016, we began working in partnership with energy-solutions company Ameresco Canada Inc. to meet these goals.
Through these measures, we are already on our way to meeting Ontario’s targets for its five-year Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), which was announced in 2016. The partnership with Ameresco allows us to reduce utility costs while at the same time meeting the requirements of CCAP and avoiding cap-and-trade penalties. School renewal makes a difference to the learning environment – and the planet
We have embarked on Board-wide renewal measures to replace fluorescent lighting with LED and TLED fixtures at 45 elementary and nine secondary schools. The new fixtures are brighter, require fewer replacement bulbs over their lifespan, and are more energy and cost-efficient.
Other key measures at select schools include:
- new rooftop air handling units, for healthier classroom environments
- upgrades to a high-efficiency boiler plant, designed to improve reliability and reduce operating costs
- building controls re-commissioning, for greater classroom comfort
- building automation system upgrades, to reduce energy use and enhance comfort
- domestic hot water heater replacement, for more efficient water heating
- variable speed drives for fans, to enhance conservation and comfort
The program will reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 10 per cent, a key step towards meeting the Ontario Ministry of Energy’s target of a 15 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2020.
Once fully implemented, the program will reduce GHG emissions by approximately 220 metric tonnes, which equates to taking over 1,300 cars off the road. The entire retrofit program for all equipment is expected to be completed in 2018.
LDCSB students will also benefit from watching their schools take a leadership role in environmental stewardship – a win-win for the Board and the community.
A number of schools are involved with the environmentally focused Ontario EcoSchools program, while others continue to find their own way of reducing their footprint through simple day-to-day actions. You can help increase recycling in your school by supporting take-it back, litter-less lunches and composting programs. Every action adds up to helping to care for Creation and the planet.
Here are some activities that can help make a difference:
- Litter-less Lunch
- Gently Used Toy Sale
- Go Veggie Week
- Use Tupperware
- LOCO (Lights Off / Computers Off)
- Use LED lighting at home
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Walk or bike to school or work
- Use a refillable water bottle
- Use a cloth bag instead of plastic
- Do your laundry after 7 pm
- No Idling Campaign
- No paper or plastic plates/cutlery at events
- Online Newsletters
- Organic Fair Trade Coffee Houses
- Planting Trees and Flowers
- Register participation in Earth Hour
- Lights Off and Electronics Off Day
- Organize a Spring/Fall Clean at your school
- Organize and participate in Earth Day activities