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VSB looks to conserve gas in schools as B.C.'s natural gas supply disrupted

| Categories: Schools & Students, Sustainability

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As the natural gas shortage in British Columbia continues due to a natural gas pipeline break near Prince George in October, the Vancouver School District continues efforts to conserve energy. Earlier this month, the following memo was sent from Superintendent of Schools, Suzanne Hoffman, to all VSB School Principals.

November 1st, 2018

To: All School Principals

Please Communicate this information with your school.

Following a natural gas pipeline break near Prince George on October 9, 2018, natural gas supply to the lower mainland is disrupted. During and after the repair process (estimated mid-November), supplies will be limited. This supply limit has real consequences to BC communities. Some industries have reduced operations or have substituted more expensive alternatives. As the weather turns colder, the impacts of the shortfall will increase.

FortisBC is asking that customers take voluntary measures to conserve natural gas usage – including the VSB. We use natural gas to heat most of our schools and buildings, therefore the VSB community can play a significant part in conserving natural gas during this shortfall. I encourage our school communities to increase their efforts to reduce energy consumption until the ruptured pipeline resumes full service. Natural gas is a resource we should always use wisely, especially during a shortage.

To support this conservation effort, VSB Operations will aim to keep room temperatures set to 20-21° C from 8:30am – 3:00pm in elementary schools and 8:00am – 3:00pm in secondary schools. Specialty programs (e.g. childcare spaces or parent conferences) will be supported outside of these times. I am optimistic that we can implement these measures with minimal inconvenience to school operations. We want warm, comfortable schools for the core educational hours.

I encourage all our staff to view the current situation as an opportunity to improve the efficiency of our operations, and as a learning opportunity about the importance of using our valuable resources wisely. As a District, we can lead by example, and demonstrate the power of the combined actions in each of our hundreds of classrooms and schools. We can also help take that message to the thousands of homes within our community.

To assist staff, we have provided fact sheets outlining tips for reducing natural gas use – both in the school and at home.

Our hope is that in a few weeks, the pipeline repair will be complete and gas supplies will be more plentiful. Until that time, we encourage everyone to contribute as best they can.


Suzanne Hoffman

Superintendent of Schools

VSB Sustainability Factsheet - Saving Natural Gas at School (PDF)

VSB SustainabilityFactsheet - Saving Natural Gas at Home (PDF)

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