Sign In

A healthier learning environment

​In Elkford, BC significant snowfall is not unusual. So it’s safe to say that a reliable space heating system is essential.

But when Tom Walkley, the now retired facilities manager with School District #5 was faced with an aging, unreliable, multi-zone furnace system at Elkford Secondary School, he knew a solution was needed.

Not only were the furnaces breaking down, requiring the school to supplement with electric heat,  the air in the  building was so stagnant that it wasn’t a healthy learning environment for the staff and students. “We were probably bringing in about 10-15 per cent outside air and codes of today say you must have 20 cubic feet per minute of outdoor air,” said Walkley.

Acquiring the funding to replace the 50 per cent efficient furnaces was helped by knowing that the school would qualify for a rebate through FortisBC’s Efficient Boiler Program. “The best motivator for us to go with high-efficiency boilers was the grant being offered by FortisBC,” adds Walkley.

During the winter of 2010/11, the retrofit began. The furnaces were replaced with three high-efficiency boilers with a total input of 5,000 MBH. As well, all the ceilings were opened up and the old insulation and vapour barrier was replaced. By the time classes were back in session in the fall, the school had already noticed a significant drop in natural gas use. By the end of March 2011, the savings were more than 40 per cent, compared to the same time period in 2009/10.

Better yet, the students now have a healthier environment in which to learn, and because of the savings Walkley was able to give them a few surprises. Like a new topping for their track.

To learn more about this and other rebates for commercial buildings visit the business offers.