New lights brighten schools, save money

Classrooms at Carihi are gradually getting brighter. That’s because the high school is one of five local schools undergoing lighting retrofits to make them more energy efficient.

Classrooms at Carihi are gradually getting brighter.

That’s because the high school is one of five local schools undergoing lighting retrofits to make them more energy efficient.

“We’re expecting to achieve an annual electrical savings of 127,500 kilowatt hours per year (at Carihi),” said Steve Woods, the district’s operations manager. “We will save money in utility costs, reduce our carbon footprint, update old fixtures and, when you do retrofits, you have an opportunity to improve the lighting.”

At Carihi, every light in the main building is being replaced. Woods said you can already see the difference.

“If you compare an old classroom to a converted one, you’ll really notice the difference in light quality,” he said.

The lights will also be equipped with night-time setbacks and motion sensors to conserve energy.

The Carihi retrofit is a $206,000 project while replacing the most of the light fixtures at Sayward, Pinecrest, Ocean Grove and Discovery Passage will cost a combined $235,000, and will save 196,500 kilowatt hours per year.

Grants through BC Hydro Power Smart and Natural Resources Canada are helping the school district fund the projects.

Woods said retrofits at are either nearly and should be finished by March 23.

The next schools include Robron, Phoenix, Sandowne and Penfield this summer but Woods said he can’t guarantee the upgrades will go ahead because “the dollar values are pretty substantial.”