Students from Ottawa-Carleton DSB Lead the Community in Caring for Our Earth with Launch of EarthCARE™

Published Date: 
Wed, 10/08/2003

Ameresco LogoOctober 8, 2003, Ottawa, ON -- Students, staff and parents in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) are busy preparing for this week’s official launch of EarthCARE™, An Environmental Education Partnership, the Board’s new environmental curriculum. The theme for the event, 'Caring for Our Earth', will be underscored by a number of student-led presentations, guest speakers, booths and student displays for the launch celebration.

The launch will take place on Thursday, October 9 at South Carleton High School, 3673 McBean Street, Richmond, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Students will be proudly showcasing their knowledge of conservation gained through EarthCARE’s activity-based, curriculum-aligned program focusing on energy conservation, waste reduction, and water conservation.

The purpose of the program is to empower students to become environmental stewards at their school, and to put their conservation practices to work in their community, including furniture recycling, CD and other re-usable goods trading posts, yard clean-up and many other environmental initiatives. EarthCARE is the academic renewal component of the Better Schools Partnership™ (BSP) program.

The BSP is an innovative initiative that has allowed this district and other districts across Canada to fund essential school renewal programs through energy savings. Through the BSP and its strategic partnership with energy company Ameresco Canada, the OCDSB has been successful in reducing waste and operating costs.

“Thanks to lower utility bills, the school district has been able to invest the resulting cost savings in key school upgrades,“ reports Diane Jeudy-Hugo, Superintendent of Physical Facilities.”These typically include purchasing and installing energy-efficient boilers, improving lighting and bathroom fixtures, and implementing programs like EarthCARE."

Since becoming a Better Schools partner, the district has saved $2 million per year in utility costs on its $12 million annual energy bill. The ongoing energy retrofitting has not only resulted in a utility cost savings, it has reduced the district's greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30%.

The implementation of EarthCARE will improve its energy efficiency by an additional five to 10% through effective conservation behaviours. For example, if 50% of all computers at the district are turned off when not in use, that results in a savings of $57 per computer or almost $700,000 in total energy cost savings. Shutting lights off when not in use will add even more savings. In turn, these savings translate into more dollars for the classroom.

“EarthCARE is designed to ensure that students, teachers and staff continue to engage in long-term conservation efforts that benefit their schools," states Laura McAlister, Superintendent of Instruction. OCDSB secondary student Andrea deBruijn believes “EarthCARE is about many things. It is about teamwork, about cooperation and relationships. It is about getting involved, or saying ‘yes’ and finding a way. More than anything, however, EarthCARE is about making small changes in our own homes, our own schools, our own communities, and spreading our love and respect for the environment throughout our global community."

The launch will include an opportunity for guests to learn more about the OCDSB and EarthCARE on-line. Student and district guest speakers will round out the event.

Release Date: 10/8/2003