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BC schools to receive energy-efficient upgrades

More northern and interior schools in British Columbia will benefit from energy-efficient mechanical upgrades as part of a $20-million investment by the province and school districts, according to the provincial government.


“These upgrades put student learning first while providing a more environmentally sound learning space with improved air quality and heating efficiency,” said Minister of Education Margaret MacDiarmid. “School districts will be able to keep more funds focused on learning through the cost savings the upgrades will bring.”


The government says these projects will result in an estimated carbon footprint reduction of almost 1,200 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 218 cars off the road. The overall cost savings for districts that result from this program will depend on the upgrade taking place at each school. For example, new condensing boilers can double fuel-to-heat conversion efficiency, and heat pumps typically triple the efficiency of existing heating systems, according to the government.


“The province is working with communities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by helping them move towards using cleaner, more efficient heating systems,” said John Yap, minister of State for Climate Action. “Making our schools models for progressive environmental practices not only helps save on energy costs, but will help us reach our goal of being carbon-neutral in 2010.”


The BC government is funding up to $500,000 for specific projects. Qualifying interior and northern school districts are making a minimum matching investment of 50% of the total project budget. Boards may invest additional funds to support local upgrades.


These projects are phase two of an investment by the province and school districts to improve energy efficiency and air quality in interior and northern B.C. schools. The government expects the $20-million initiative to create up to 128 direct jobs as part of BC’s $14-billion public infrastructure program. Through Budget 2010, the province is also providing $110 million to school districts across BC for annual facilities grants.

July 23, 2010  By  John Gilson

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