School District No. 27 Carbon Neutral Action Report

Every year the School District produces a report on the actions taken to reduce our Carbon Emissions.  To view the whole report, choose the button below.

Questions and Answers on Energy Management

What is Energy Management?

Energy Management (EM) is the deliberate reduction of energy consumption through the investigation, identification and elimination of wasted energy. In order to provide a structure for the EM program in the District we have formed a team called the Quantum Team. The team meet meets regularly and reviews the use of energy in our School District along with efforts to reduce that use.

EM is not about the reducing the energy used to zero.  That would have a terrible impact on classroom comfort and the learning& working environments for our students, teachers and staff.  What EM Seeks to do is reduce the energy use to only that which is necessary – as we say “Making Every Joule Drive a School.”

What Kind of Energy is Reviewed?

Everything that uses energy is reviewed such as Electricity, Natural Gas, Propane & Gasoline/Diesel. Other items such as Paper use and Recycling Initiatives are also in scope.

The main focus right now is on the biggest energy uses which are lighting and heating but we are also targeting big wasters of electricity such as refrigerators (when empty) and computers (when left on unnecessarily).

What is the Goal of the Quantum (Energy Management) Team?

As a Province, we have been mandated to reduce our Carbon emissions by 5% every year for the next number of years. The primary goal of this committee is to reduce our use of energy thereby meeting these targets.  The secondary goal is to reduce our overall energy expenses resulting in cost savings to the School District and freeing more resources that may be applied to the classroom. To see how our targets have already being met, please view our Carbon Neutral Action Report.

Who is on the Quantum Team?

As a committee of the School Board, the committee has representatives from:

  • Operations
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers Association
  • Principals and Vice Principals Association
  • Superintendent
  • Secretary Treasurer
  • External EM consultants
How Does Quantum Affect Me?

Depending on which school you attend or work in the impact of the Quantum Team and the EM program will vary.  Some schools have already received new boilers, lighting changes and have had changes made to overnight lighting policies.  Others have those kinds of changes yet to come.

Each school will soon have an EM plan established for it and this will be shared with the teaching staff.  There is the opportunity for the school to use these plans as learning projects and content if the timing works for the teachers and students.

Some schools have real-time access to their energy consumption, even separated by building, which will allow students and teachers to create their own investigations into energy use and the potential for savings.

It is an exciting time for schools as we not only redirect money that was being wasted into the education budget but simultaneously open up exciting new learning opportunities for students from K-12.

Who Do I Contact About Quantum/Energy Management?

Energy Management is a joint responsibility, but the main contact is:

Alex Telford
Manager of Facilities and Transportation
765 North Second Avenue
Williams Lake, BC   V2G 4C3
T: (250) 398-3875
F: (250) 392-2202

Energy Myths

It Takes More Energy to turn on a Fluorescent Bulb than to Leave it Running So You May as Well Leave It On

False – Although it is accurate to say that there is an energy spike when a fluorescent tube is started up that spark takes about 1/120th second.  It is always more energy efficient to turn off lights, even for 5 seconds.  However, we need to be aware that excessive turning on and off of lights will shorten their lifetime so do not turn them on and off in quick succession.  Normal everyday good habits of turning them off in the course of the day will not cause them any significant harm and will reduce the amount of energy that we waste.

Did you also know that by turning off your lights at lunchtime you can save the school a lot of money due to the Demand Charge which is measured from our peak demand in the week which is always around lunchtime.  From 10am-1pm please be particularly vigilant on wasting electricity and turn anything off that can be turned off.  It may save just pennies in electricity consumers but it costs many dollars in avoidable demand charges.

For more information on how you can help your school to save energy and to find out how to turn an energy investigation into a learning opportunity for your class or personal project please contact Alex Telford, Manager of Facilities and Transportation at (250) 305-7964.

It will Damage a Fluorescent Bulb if you Turn it On and Off Too Many Times in a Day

False – To be fair to whoever told you this one, this used to be true.  In the past the means of starting fluorescent tubes required a method that did have a limited number of cycles and so turning them on and off meant that the starter mechanism (known as the ballast) would eventually wear out and need replacing.  It is also fair to say that sometimes the cost of replacing the ballast was more than the energy saved by turning the lights off.  BUT THAT WAS YEARS AGO!   The engineers at the lighting companies have now created ballasts that do not wear out and that start the light gently enough that turning lights on and off a reasonable number of times per day does not materially shorten the lifespan or either the bulb or the ballast.

If your school has recently had a lighting upgrade you will have some LED light bulbs.  These are even more robust and have longer lifespans than conventional or fluorescent bulbs.  If you have an LED light, even though it consumes comparatively little energy compared to other types it is still important to turn it off when it is not in use.

In the past few years electricity prices have risen significantly in BC.  It has even been announced in advance that this is set to continue. For instance 2018 prices will be about 25% higher than they were in 2013).  This means that we save more money each time we save some electricity and the savings add up faster.  Or looking at it the other way, any waste that we continue to allow costs us more every year.

Did you know that we estimate that a typical classroom lights will be on for twice as many hours as is necessary for education purposes?  This can happen when your class is out of the room during PE, workshop, music,  breaks, lunchtimes and after school hours.  That is all energy and money that is being wasted.  So next time you leave your classroom “will the last person out please turn off the lights?”  It won’t do any harm.  Even by doing this for a few minutes at a time will start to make a big difference to how efficient your school is at using energy for education only.

Together we can make “Every Joule Drive a School”.

As Spring arrives and the days get lighter, why not experiment by turning off the lights even during class time and see if the daylight is enough light for you to read easily?  Does the answer differ depending on where in the room you are sitting?

For more information on how you can help your school to save energy and to find out how to turn an energy investigation into a learning opportunity for your class or personal project please contact Alex Telford, Manager of Facilities and Transportation at (250) 305-7964.

Moving Towards Carbon Neutral

In 2010 the provincial government started their carbon neutral action plan. Our school district has been involved since inception. The goal is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.   All School Districts in the province are mandated to achieve a target of 5% reduction per year.

In five years of reporting, School District 27 has achieved an overall greenhouse gas emission reduction of 30.69% – which is better than our target.

This has many positive consequences. Firstly we have significantly reduced the amount of greenhouse gas which everyone benefits from. Secondly there is a tax that is levied proportionate to the amount of Carbon Dioxide that we generate.   The first year of reporting we paid $104,175 in carbon tax, in 2013 we will have paid $72,200. Over the five years of reporting, we have saved the School District a total of $67,900 in carbon tax.

We have achieved this in a number of ways and are continuing to bring the energy that we consume down. For instance we have made changes to many boilers across the district, installing more efficient systems to heat and cool the buildings much better than in the past.  We ahev also reviewed the times that the buildings are heated to make sure that schools are not wasting heat when no-one is present.

Green House gases in Tonnes 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Scope 1 (Direct) Emissions
Mobile Combustion (fleet) 1539.16 1568.81 1754.48 1744.58 1609.57
Stationary Combustion 3516.21 2823.23 3589.37 2897.24 2362.15
Scope 2 (Indirect) Emissions
Purchased Energy 265.14 210.53 208.49 202.52 105.77
Scope 3 (Business Travel & Office Paper) Emissions
Office Paper 50.68 88.44 82.65 85.19 74.37
Total Emissions 5371 4691 5635 4930 4152
Carbon Neutral or Offset Exempt 1204 1292 1446 1454 1264
Total for Offsets 4167 3399 4189 3476 2888
Carbon Tax Paid $104,175.00 $84,975.00 $104,725.00 $86,900.00 $72,200.00
Reduction From Previous year 18.43% -23.24% 17.02% 16.92%
Reduction from 2009 30.69%


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions also has a direct relationship with energy cost reductions. In the last five years School District 27 has reduced its annual total energy consumption from 101,619 (GJ) to 69,180.5 (GJ). This has created a cumulative savings from 2009 to 2013 of 91,819.3 (GJ) which equates to more than one full year of free energy based on 2013 energy consumption rates.

In 2009 School District 27 paid $1,699,501 in energy cost. Despite rising energy costs, in 2013 our district paid only $1,274,967 in energy cost. Over the past five years our district has achieved a total cumulative savings through good energy management practices and space reduction of $1,137,539 and we are getting better every day.