For a second year in a row the Vancouver School Board has made it to BC Hydro'sTop 10 list forelectricity conservation in the province. BC Hydro recognized the district for its ongoing work around the redesign of large scale school lighting system upgradesas well as the completion of a power management software system for all district personal computers (PCs), among other Power Smart conservation efforts. The BC Hydro Power Smart program awards organizations and companies with Power Smart credits for developing and completing energy conservation projects.
"Reducing our energy and carbon footprints are key priorities for the Vancouver School Board. We are delighted to be recognized again by BC Hydro as a leader in the Province for conserving energy [electricity]," said Kirthi Roberts, the VSB's Manager of Energy and Climate Action.
The net energy savings from all of this work is significant. Roberts estimates the energy savings is in excess of 1.7 Million kilo-Watt-hours (1.7 GWh) sufficient to power 170 homes in BC. "If you combine the electricity conservation efforts of the past two years the Vancouver School Board has effectively removed over 300 BC homes from the electricity grid", said Roberts.The electrical division within the Maintenance & Construction department and the Information Technology department were critical in implementing many of the electricityconservation projects.
Two secondary schools and two elementary schools had their lighting significantlyimproved with the installation of energy-efficient T-8 fluorescent tubes, which provide the dual benefits of better quality light and significant energy savings.On top of lighting and software power management, the district also implemented an energy system shutdown program for summer, winter and other break periods. Then there's the Refrigerator Energy Conservation Pilot program, which has now been implemented at four secondary schools and focuses on the removal of older, inefficient and mostly unused refrigerators.
The district has also installed solar thermal panels at five secondary schools in 2010. On top of this, Tupper Secondary recently received $20,000 in Provincial fundingthis year to install a solar-photovoltaic panel, which will generate renewable electricity to complement its solar-thermal panels generating renewable energy to heat water.
Energy isn't the only thing being saved at VSB schools. In addition to the wide-ranging energy efficiency initiatives that won the school district its Power Smart designation, there are a number of efforts underway across the school district to improve water conservation, reduce paper usage and solid waste and improve fleet fuel economy, to name a few. Secondary School students from a number of schools have also continued their engagement in the as BC Hydro Energy Ambassadors program to do their part to conserve energy.
According to Roberts VSB will continue to expand on its energy conservation and sustainability efforts to have an even greater impact in the coming years.