By Luke Smeaton, Manager of Sustainability, Energy, and Environmental Planning
As "the Natural Place to Learn", the North Vancouver School District is committed to demonstrating leadership and providing the highest standard of education in environmental stewardship through programs, education and facilities that foster greater sustainability.
Over the past year, we have been running a range of sustainability initiatives to engage the NVSD community, working to develop a district-wide sustainability strategy to coordinate our efforts, and implementing innovative retrofits that will help us achieve our environmental goals.
Below, we share some recent milestone sustainability successes and discuss our plans for the future.
NVSD Green Tea Celebration
On June 7th, the North Vancouver School District (NVSD) held its third annual Green Tea Celebration at the Education Services Centre to recognize all the amazing work being done across the district to advance sustainability.
The event provided a great opportunity for staff, students, and partner organizations to mix, mingle, and share stories about the sustainability-related initiatives they are involved with. We were lucky to have a guest speaker, Amy Greenwood, from the Fraser Basin Council to talk about salmon-safe urban environments and the things we can all do to help our watersheds.
A big thank-you to all those who attended and made this event a success, and special thanks to our guest speaker Amy Greenwood. We look forward to doing it all again at next year's Green Tea.
After a multi-year consultative planning process, NVSD has recently formalized our district-wide Sustainability Strategy. The strategy will provide coherence, direction, and focus to our sustainability-related activities and is intended to complement and support the wide range of initiatives already underway across the NVSD. The strategy includes six strategic priorities within three broad areas of the NVSD community:
- Process: The structures that guide how we plan, act, share, and celebrate.
- Programs: Educational practices and partnerships that support a sustainable school district.
- Place: The natural and built environments that support the NVSD community.
The strategy will guide our efforts across the district and will constantly evolve to reflect the needs of the organization. We are currently laying the groundwork for the first phase of implementation. We will be sharing our progress along the way, so stay tuned for updates!
Sustainability Cup Results
In late 2016/early 2017, NVSD hosted a Sustainability Cup Challenge. Ten schools assembled teams to organize green campaigns and activities to proactively engage students in understanding and protecting the environment. We are pleased to recognize this year's winning teams, who received prize money to spend on something related to sustainability:
- 1st place: Upper Lynn Elementary - $1,000
- 2nd place: Brooksbank Elementary - $500
- 3rd place: Highlands Elementary - $250
Our first-place finisher, Upper Lynn, implemented a wide range of environmental initiatives over the course of the challenge, including:
- Walking Wednesdays, with over 60% of students participating
- Energy reduction campaigns including a spring break shutdown, lights out lunch, and sweater day
- Some great nature-based activities such as forest revitalization, pollinator garden planting, and salmon fry release
- Novel behavioral change initiatives such as giving "Lennie" the laminator a vacation for the month of January
Thanks to everyone who took part in the Sustainability Cup. We look forward to seeing more teams participate in the next challenge!
High Efficiency Boiler Replacements
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce energy consumption, utility costs, and greenhouse gas emissions, NVSD has installed new high-efficiency boiler systems at three elementary schools; Eastview, Montroyal and Dorothy Lynas.
Most of our schools use natural gas for space heating and in 2016 it represented about 55% of our total energy consumption, 30% of our energy cost, and 95% of our building-related CO2emissions.
The new boiler systems are about 35% more efficient than the previous ones and also include new "smart" pumps that automatically sense when they need to adjust hot water flow to save energy. These projects were funded with the Annual Facilities Grant, and each year are expected to save about:
- 1,465 Gigajoules of natural gas, more than enough to heat a large elementary school for a year
- 73 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to taking 15 cars off the road for a year
- $14,500 in utility costs
LED Lighting Upgrades
As part of our 2016/2017 facilities improvements, NVSD has completed interior lighting retrofits at four elementary schools; Dorothy Lynas, Westview, Canyon Heights, and Ross Road. The retrofit projects included the installation of new LED (Light Emitting Diode) lamps and wireless dimming controls that allow occupants to adjust light levels according to their needs.
The new lamps may look similar to traditional fluorescent tubes but are very different because they use about 40% less energy, provide better light output, and last longer. These lighting upgrades were funded with the Annual Facilities Grant, and each year are expected to save about 120,000 Kilowatt hours of electricity (enough to power a small elementary school for a year) and reduce utility costs by $13,000.
To stay updated about NVSD's current sustainability efforts, initiatives, and projects, be sure to visit the Sustainability Page.