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K-12 schools

Learning requires energy. In BC, elementary and secondary schools use a large portion of their annual energy consumption for space heating. Additional energy is needed for water heating and other uses such as cooking.

While BC schools tend to use less energy per square meter than many other types of buildings, there are still opportunities to cut energy costs and emissions. Schools that have joined BC’s Public Sector Energy Conservation Agreement have a head start. By taking action to reduce their carbon footprint, they’re also reducing their energy expenses, leaving more money for services.

Saving energy is a project everyone at your school can be involved in, and the effects will be felt throughout your community.

First steps: simple ways to get started

Reduce use

Post signs that encourage everyone to turn things off when they’re not needed.

Let in the sun

On sunny winter days, open blinds to let in natural light and warmth. In warm weather, close or tilt them upward to keep rooms cooler.

Windows and doors

Look for leaks

Regularly maintain and replace worn caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doors.

Install double-glazed windows

Reduce noise and heat loss and improve comfort with energy efficient double-glazed windows.

Boilers

Replace older boilers

High-efficiency condensing boilers use less gas and take up less space. FortisBC's financial incentives can help make switching easier.

Use electronic controls

Set boilers and heating pumps to operate only when needed.

Maintain and measure annually

Regularly maintain boilers and associated systems, and measure boiler efficiency at least once a year.

Retrofit with economizers

If boiler replacement isn’t feasible, consider adding an economizer to increase efficiency. This heat exchanger captures waste heat from the boiler’s flue gas to preheat water going into the boiler.

Insulate properly

Insulate valves, flanges, and pipes in mechanical rooms and unheated areas. Insulate expansion tanks and heat exchangers.

HVAC

Annual maintenance

Inspect all access panels and gaskets in HVAC units.

Quarterly maintenance

Clean or replace air filters and dampers to ensure proper air flow. Check for leaks in rooftop HVAC units. A leak can waste up to $100 of energy per unit per year. Inspect rooftop units to ensure they’re secure, with all screws in place.

Check condenser coils

Check for debris quarterly and clean annually, or as required. A dirty coil that raises condensing temperatures by just 12°C can increase energy consumption by 10 per cent.*

Inspect and insulate ducts and pipes

Ensure pipes and heating ducts are sealed properly with approved foil tape.

Install variable-frequency drives (VFDs)

VFDs save energy by adjusting motor speeds to the building’s changing heating and ventilation needs.
*Source: E Source™ Companies

Thermostats and controls

Install programmable thermostats

Set back the temperatures in rooms when they are unoccupied (e.g. nights, weekends and holidays).

Install CO2 sensors

CO2 sensors can monitor if a room is occupied and will automatically adjust the amount of fresh air to draw in for heating or cooling a large area. When no one is in the room, the fans run slower to ease the heating system’s load.

Invest in Digital Direct Control (DDC)

DDC systems use sensors installed in the HVAC system to continuously monitor and adjust conditions, such as vent fan speeds. Combined with software, DDC can be controlled remotely by facilities staff.

Water heating

Invest in high-efficiency water heaters

Replace older water heaters and supply boilers with high-efficiency models. New water heaters are up to 95 per cent efficient and can reduce energy consumption, and incentives from FortisBC can offset costs.

Insulate tanks and pipes

Insulation reduces heat loss.

Fix leaks promptly

One leaky faucet or dripping tap can waste a significant amount of water each month.

Go low-flow

Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in washrooms and changing areas to save on hot water.

Turn off taps

Post signs reminding staff and students to turn off taps, and consider installing motion-sensor activated taps.

Cooking and cafeteria

Run full loads in dishwashers

For additional energy savings, turn off the heated dry feature on the dishwasher and let dishes air dry instead.

Turn off unneeded equipment

Turn off cooking equipment when not in use (e.g. overnight hours or morning start-ups), as a significant amount of energy used in cooking is for standby heating.

Limit preheating time

Preheat fryers for only as long as necessary. Cover them during slow periods to retain heat and turn them off completely when not in use.

Install low-flow spray valves

Low-flow units use 6.1 L of water per minute to rinse dishes. Older spray valves may use more per minute.

Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment

When purchasing new kitchen equipment, choose energy-efficient models. Incentives from FortisBC can offset costs.

Upgrade vending machines

Look for ENERGY STAR vending machines, which are up to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional ones.

Install “vending misers”

This device uses an occupancy sensor to power down vending machines and coolers when no one is around. It saves energy without affecting product temperature.

Explore your energy options

Invest in an energy efficient future

Geoexchange and district energy systems are being implemented in many large complexes today, especially new facilities. They save energy, produce fewer emissions and demonstrate your facility's commitment to sustainability. Contact an Energy Solutions Manager to learn more.

Fix leaks promptly

One leaky faucet or dripping tap can waste a significant amount of water each month.

Go low-flow

Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in washrooms and changing areas to save on hot water.

Turn off taps

Post signs reminding staff and students to turn off taps, and consider installing motion-sensor activated taps.

Contact us

Natural gas

Call us at 1-866-884-8833 or email us at commercialrebates@fortisbc.com.

Electricity

Call us at 1-866-436-7847 or email us at powersense@fortisbc.com.

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