Thames Valley Energy Management Initiative Saves $2.7 Million Per Year

The Thames Valley District School Board has invested $36-million in energy conservation measures to ensure a sustainable, environmentally-friendly future across the District. The Energy Management Initiative focuses on some 10 million square feet of space in 197 Board buildings and 229 portables.

The program focuses on lighting, HVAC, water, building envelopes, and controls as part of the process. In addition, the changes will create an estimated $2.7-million in utility savings each year.

“The investment is part of a proactive approach to building renewal throughout the system,” says Director of Education, Bill Bryce. “We are in the process of upgrading facilities with the ultimate goal of creating the best possible learning environments for students. Investments like this one will also result in significant cost savings across the District, which will help us make more resources available in classrooms in the future.”

To date, some typical yearly energy savings on electricity include:

  • $668,153 saved with 30 to 40 per cent efficiency improvement in lighting at 74 schools
  • $53,500 saved in variable speed drives (cooling towers and pumps) at five schools
  • $56,114 saved in improved air conditioning systems at six schools

Originally launched in 2002 (in partnership with energy specialist Ameresco Canada Inc.), phase I of the program focuses on capital expenditures for energy conservation measures estimated at $36-million, with a payback period of between 10 to 12 years. Phase II consists of preparing to implement the new “Good Places to Learn” funding as it relates to potential energy saving measures to fund additional renewal projects. This phase also involves the implementation of interval electricity metering, as well as electricity procurement contracts.

“This exciting Board initiative is a significant step forward both in terms of saving money and protecting the environment,” says Kevin Bushell, Manager of Projects and Maintenance. “We continue to use cutting-edge technology to create comfortable places of learning for our students by making the lighting, water, and other building systems more efficient.”

Significant yearly savings continue to be achieved in the areas of natural gas, water systems, and portable upgrades:

  • $159,893 saved in replaced boilers at 30 schools
  • $58,380 saved in steam to hot water conversion at four schools
  • $132,926 saved in upgrades to building envelopes (caulking and weather stripping) at 76 schools
  • $112,000 saved in new building automation systems at nine schools
  • $103,630 saved in water system improvements at 35 schools
  • $314,000 saved in upgrades (lighting, ventilation, sensors) for 229 portables

“Thames Valley’s annual utility budget is $17.8-million or 28 per cent of our School Operations Allocation,” Bushell adds. “Our energy program will decrease waste and allow us to put increased funds into sustainable areas where our schools need it most.”

In addition to making an immediate difference in our classrooms, the energy conservation program continues to have a significant environmental impact. To date, the program has reduced carbon monoxide emissions by 14,632 tonnes which translates into the equivalent of 2,438 cars being taken out of use.

Environmental details include:

  • 2,275,709 m³ of reduction in natural gas usage
  • 21,688,649 kWh of reduction in electricity usage
  • 131,117,000 litres of reduction in water usage

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Ameresco: CarolAnn Hibbard, 508-661-2264, [email protected]