SD72 meets emissions target five years early

The Campbell River School District (SD72) says it is showing it practises what it teaches when it comes to sustainability with the announcement that it has met a provincial target for emissions reduction a full five years early.

The provincial government had assigned a target of a one-third reduction in greenhouse gas emissions — relative to 2007 levels — by the end of 2020, and SD72 says it has already attained that target.

The district’s reduction also surpasses the city’s Community Energy and Emissions Plan target of a 25 per cent reduction in community greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The district says it attained these goals by adopting an environmental responsibility policy, developing sustainability guidelines and renewing a strategic partnership with BC Hydro to conduct an energy management assessment to identify priority reduction areas.

The district also developed a strategic energy management plan, which identified a wide variety of infrastructure projects, initiatives to engage students and staff and community outreach efforts.

This included the formation of an environmental awareness focus group to provide teachers and support staff with an opportunity to learn of projects, identify new initiatives and receive feedback on progress towards carbon neutrality.

Seeing where energy was being wasted was possibly the most important factor in getting a handle on how to reduce its footprint, the district says in its announcement, “and by developing and using energy consumption reports, Energy Star labelling and Statistics Canada commercial and institutional energy use survey results, school administrators could see where their school’s biggest energy draws were and share this information with staff and students,” bringing everyone on board with their plans to reduce their energy usage.

Once staff and students were on side, the district says, the district then focused on its relationship with the City of Campbell River, BC Hydro, North Island College and the University of Victoria as other avenues to reach reduction target.

SD72 is not done looking for efficiencies now that it’s met the provincial goal, however.

“Both the provincial mandate and the city target gave us a renewed focus on our carbon reduction journey,” says Steve Woods, SD72’s manager of operations. “This was a natural extension of initiatives we already had in progress and the result was improved learning conditions at all schools and significant reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”