The Vancouver School Board has been conducting energy saving projects for many years, with a big focus on electricity conservation. 2018 was a record year for the District – being recognized by BC Hydro for saving 1.28 million kilowatt hours! That is enough power to run 8 elementary schools for a year, or 116 houses for a year! Any way you look at it, these significant energy savings will result in cost savings of almost $112,000 annually that will continue for years to come.
Half of these savings came from upgrading inefficient lighting systems in schools. In the 2017/18 school year, 13 different schools received such upgrades - improving the classroom environment, enhancing safety, replacing aging infrastructure, and of course saving a lot of energy. The other half of these savings are due to energy efficient features in new school buildings including modern LED lighting, and heat pump technology for low carbon heating systems.
"The energy management program has a lot of moving parts" says Ron Macdonald, VSB's Energy and Sustainability Manager. Coordinating the project initiation is up to Macdonald and his colleagues, located at the VSB Education Centre. Implementing projects brings a lot of VSB staff together including electricians, operations staff, the heating department, outside consultants. Even the utility companies are involved as they provide incentives for conservation.
In the next few of years, more schools will receive lighting upgrades. The District's next energy saving priorities include retrofitting heating systems, improving the functioning of existing buildings, and promoting energy-efficient new schools through the seismic mitigation program. These will save energy as well as reduce the District's carbon footprint.
The VSB Energy Management program is a part of the VSB Environmental Sustainability Plan (PDF).
Learn more about VSB Sustainability.
Support for energy conservation is provided by incentives from BC Hydro and Fortis BC.