School district improves carbon footprint

  • Mar. 31, 2014 2:00 p.m.

School district 50s carbon footprint has steadily been getting better, the board heard when it met in Sandspit Tuesday (March 25), but the reporting on it required by the province isn’t.The board has been required to file a report with Victoria on carbon neutrality with each year for the past five or six years, and superintendent Angus Wilson said “every year, they make it worse than the year before.” However, he also said that every year the school district has consistently reduced its carbon footprint, and he hopes that will continue. In the last year, the district has reduced its carbon footprint by about 1.5 percent just through installing solar panels at Sk’aadgaa Naay alone. The panels were installed a year ago, and have been making enough electricity to power the school’s computer lab, 4.7 megawatts. Other ways the district has reduced its carbon footprint include switching from oil heating to propane, which lowers carbon output about 15 percent and operating fewer, smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles. At one point, the district had seven vehicles in its fleet, while now it has four, most small and fuel-efficient. The district also is holding more meetings using the telephone or Skype, and is continuing to reduce the amount of paper it consumes. Mr. Wilson also said that it doesn’t look very good in the report that the district has no green buildings, but he would be delighted if the province would fund one here. Mr. Wilson also said that Port Clements is considering a biomass heating system for the Multiplex, and if that happens, the school district would “reap the benefit” as it would have a positive impact on the district’s carbon output. And having a very mild winter, as the one just passed, has a big positive effect on carbon emissions, Mr. Wilson said. The board passed a carbon neutral bylaw as required by the province. It allows the board to spend $9,000 on LED lighting in the Charlotte high schools gym and outdoors at Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary in Skidegate.

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