The Abbotsford School District was the second-lowest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) among B.C. school districts on a per-student basis in 2017, according to a new staff report.
But the district has a long way to go to meet its 2020 emissions reduction targets, according to that same staff report. Between 2010 and 2017, the school district reduced its weather-normalized GHG emissions by 19 per cent, 14 points shy of its goal of 33 per cent for 2020.
The district began efforts to reduce emissions in 2001, and in 2010 began tracking and reporting its emissions. By that point, the district notes that it had reduced its natural gas and electrical consumption by more than 30 per cent each.
“Both energy consumption and GHG emissions have continued to decrease in the years since,” a staff report says.
Carbon neutral schools report 2019: This graph shows the greenhouse gas emissions for Abbotsford School District and all other B.C. districts.
Abbotsford School District graphic
The district’s electricity consumption in 2018 clocked in at under 9.5 million kilowatt hours, about 12 per cent below 2010 levels. Meanwhile, its natural gas consumption has dropped to around 49,000 gigajoules, a drop of 30 per cent since 2010.
Staff noted that the district was the second-lowest emitter in the province in 2017, the latest available data.
“This is due largely to the fact that every year the district has made, and continues to make, investments in both the technology and the people needed to help foster a culture of conservation.”
That includes initiatives to use less paper, switching to LED lighting and buying electric vehicles.
Last year, the district completed a switch to LED lighting and a boiler upgrade at Robert Bateman Secondary School, which are estimated to save the district on electricity and natural gas each year.
Carbon neutral schools report 2019: This graph shows the greenhouse gas reductions for Abbotsford School District and all other B.C. districts.
Abbotsford School District graphic
The natural gas emissions reduced are the equivalent of 75,000 kilometres of city driving in a 2017 Ford F-150, according to the Carbonzero emissions calculator, while the electricity savings add up to a little over 10,500 kilometres of city driving in that same truck.
District staff also noted building envelope upgrades at Bakerview Centre for Learning and Dormick Park Elementary School were completed in 2018, which will save on natural gas heating.
As well, three vehicles damaged in the ice storm of January 2018 were replaced with electric vehicles, and 12 charging stations were added to district properties to support future increases to the electric vehicle fleet.
This year, the district is planning 18 small-scale LED lighting upgrades, while its maintenance yard will be entirely converted to LED lighting.
District staff wrote in the report that the maintenance yard lighting conversion would save about 35,000 kW-h, which based on B.C. Hydro’s 2015 estimation of nine tonnes of CO2 emissions per gigawatt hour, the district claimed would add up to a reduction of 315 tonnes of GHG emissions.
However, that calculation appears to have moved the decimal point over a few spots – in fact, 35,000 kW-h would equal 0.315 tonnes.
In total, the Abbotsford School District generated 3,993 tonnes of CO2. As part of the Ministry of Environment’s carbon neutral program, the district must pay $86,000 to the B.C. government, which will then invest that money into carbon offsets.