Lakehead Schools Celebrate Green Shift

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THUNDER BAY – Through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Research and Innovation’s Green Schools Pilot Initiative and the Ministry of Education’s Renewable Energy Funding for Schools Grant, Lakehead Public Schools continues to take bold and innovative steps to reduce the overall system carbon footprint.  The two grants will allow three Lakehead Public Schools sites to have the opportunity to test and investigate green and renewable energy systems.  The programs will also allow for the monitoring processes to provide curriculum opportunities for students.

“The projects will provide opportunities for Lakehead Public Schools to strengthen our commitment to the environment and to our efforts to reduce our overall carbon footprint,” says Randy Haber, Lakehead Public Schools Manager of Maintenance and Capital.  “We expect that these initiatives will provide the venue to investigate further opportunities in the areas of green schools and renewable energy efforts.”

The Green Schools Pilot Initiative invited companies to submit proposals to the Ministry of Education for energy conservation technologies to be tested in Ontario schools.  The proposals were reviewed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Research and Innovation for implementation in schools.  School boards across the province formed partnerships and approved projects were available for school boards to apply for funding that would allow for the installation of one of the Ministry approved energy saving technologies.

In a partnership with eleven boards, Lakehead Public Schools received funding to install and test SolarWalls, a product developed by Conserval Engineering Inc at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute and Kakabeka Falls District Public School.  The product is installed on the roofs of buildings to produce both solar heat and electricity from solar panels.  Lakehead Public Schools and Conserval will monitor the performance of the panels and report the results to the Ministry of Education.  The systems will be installed this coming summer.

Through the Renewable Energy Funding for Schools Grant, Lakehead Public Schools worked with energy partner Honeywell Limited to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Education for a project that utilizes renewable energy sources.  Conditional approval for the installation of a solar photovoltaic system at Hammarskjold High School has been received from the Ministry of Education.  Full approval will be granted following the successful completion of a feasibility study and cost consultant report.  Following final approval, the systems must be installed no later than August 2011.

The photovoltaic project will include the installation of roof mounted solar panels for the production of electricity.  In addition to the roof mounted panels, a comprehensive monitoring tool known as a Sustainability Information System which will provide numerous curriculum opportunities for students. The system is monitored through a kiosk that displays real time and logged energy data along with informational tools required to monitor and analyze the energy saving information.

“Energy savings and carbon footprint reductions are the main goals of this initiative, but at the same time, we will be working with both product providers to develop curriculum opportunities for students associated with this project,” says Haber.  “As the world moves to more renewable and green energy initiatives, our current and future students will benefit from the experience that these projects will provide.”

The Green Schools Pilot Initiative and the Renewable Energy Funding for Schools Grant will compliment the current Lakehead Public Schools energy management investment strategy.  The strategy, a partnership with Honeywell Limited, received $2,944,000 to be spent on energy management improvements in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.  This funding was from the Ministry of Education’s Energy Efficient Schools Funding Program.  The program is designed to improve the energy efficiency of Ontario schools.

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