Ideas from students implemented

  • Jun. 8, 2007 3:00 p.m.

School district staff are already implementing some of the energy-saving ideas three Queen Charlotte Secondary students presented to them in April. Maintenance supervisor Paul Allen said workers were rewiring the lighting in the downstairs hallway at QCSS last week, which costs almost nothing to do and will save money on hydro bills. “This is very practical and inexpensive,” he said. “Most of that light is wasted, there were really too many lights in there.” Reducing the hallway lighting was the first of four suggestions made by students Ian Benoit, Tauren Collinson and Jessica Reid, who studied the school’s energy efficiency with the help of BC Hydro. Overall, the Queen Charlotte school, built just a few years ago, is efficient compared to other school buildings. The students’ other recommendations for saving energy and money were to install fluorescent fixtures in the gym that will only come on when there are people using it, to improve the ventilation system in the gym, and to install heat exchangers to save on heating costs. Mr. Allen said he hopes to start work on the gym lighting this summer, and will be installing a half dozen fluorescent fixtures. He’s also planning to improve the ventilation system in the gym this fall by adding occupancy control to shut down the gym fans when the room is not occupied. “Presently the fans run on a computerized schedule,” he explained. “By installing occupancy control, we can save 15 horsepower of electrical energy by simply shutting the fans down automatically when they are not required. We will also save on direct heating costs, because we will not be exhausting heated air when the gymnasium is not in use.” However, Mr. Allen said the district will not be acting on the students’ suggestion to install heat exchangers. This technology, he said, does not work well in our wet climate and is also not practical to install after the school has been built.