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Environmental Stewardship

One of the five pillars in our 2015-2019 Strategic Plan is Sustainability. Within this pillar, one of three key strategies is to model sustainability, smart energy use and sound environmental practices for students. And we’re well on our way!

The OCDSB is committed to sustainable initiatives across the Operations, Maintenance, Design & Construction, and Energy Management and Conservation divisions.  The following is a brief overview of the areas that support the District’s goals. To read more in depth, please view our Multi-Year Energy Management Plan 2017-2020.

Energy Management

Since 2009 we have been aggressively implemented energy reduction measures through various retrofit projects and changes in operational procedures. You can see evidence of this in our Multi-Year Energy Management Plan. Since the baseline year of 2009, our energy saving initiatives have resulted in a cost avoidance of $8.7M in utilities costs. The OCDSB is recognized as one of the top performing school boards in the province. Energy use at all facilities is monitored and controlled centrally through our building automation system (BAS). The BAS allows us to effectively manage our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions while providing a tool for improved thermal comfort and indoor air quality.

Green Energy

Green EnergyThe OCDSB has been a leader in solar power generation with green energy installations at 50 locations. There are 13 small (10 kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) MicroFIT arrays on the roof of 13 individual schools. We also have larger solar PV systems under a lease agreement at 28 schools through the FIT program.  These arrays generate 35 to 250KW depending on the size of the installation.

In 2018 five sites had net-metering solar power generation systems installed with another four sites coming online in 2019. These net-metering systems allow the power generated to be consumed by the school, with any excess being sent to the electrical grid. On a sunny spring day we have schools that draw all of their power from their solar system and draw no power from the grid!

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Despite having grown in size by 71,000 m2, the District’s overall emissions have been reduced by 12.5% since the 2013 baseline year. We continue to meet and exceed our reduction targets each year as more GHG reduction measures are implemented.

Waste & Recycling

Through ongoing promotion from Facilities and increased efforts by the schools in the recycling and composting programs, we are able to divert approx. 25% of waste collected away from the landfills. Our diversion rate peaked in 2017 at 27.2%.

Green Clean

The District continues in its efforts to use green cleaning products so as to minimize the adverse effect cleaning products can have on the environment. Permissible products are “EcoLogo”, “Green Seal”, or “Environmental Choice Program”.

Trees

We continue our struggle to overcome the devastation caused by the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. In the last year four years we have had to cut down over 1000 dead trees. We have inoculated approximately 400 Ash trees to keep them healthy. The District has planted over 350 new trees of various species at 49 different sites. Another 300 new trees have been planted through donations and programs from The City of Ottawa.

In addition we have an ongoing ‘Adopt-a-Tree / Create-a-Forest’ program. Seedlings are provided to the schools who care for the seedlings until they are of size suitable for planting. They are then planted at a location at the MacSkimming Outdoor Education Center. Last year 300 seedlings were delivered to the schools which resulted in approx. 180 new trees being planted at MacSkimming in 2018.

Fleet Vehicles

compact work vanEfficiency improvements within the fleet started with the replacement of 20 leased compact cars with Hybrid subcompact cars cutting the fuel consumption in half. The process of right-sizing of vehicles for the individual trades is now ongoing. Instead of simply replacing large old vans with identical newer ones, large old vans are being replaced with more efficient mid-size work vehicles. The new work vehicles consume approx. 40% less fuel than the traditional work vans. Considerations are being made on the use of electric vehicles in the future.

Electric Vehicles (EV) Charging Stations

With the introduction and public acceptance of Electric Vehicles, Facilities is initiating some trials on EV Charging stations at the Facilities Stittsville Depot and at 133 Greenbank. Future sites will be considered as trials are completed.

Plastic Water Bottles

In support of the environmental initiative to reduce the amount of single use water bottles consumed within our schools, water bottle filling stations were installed throughout the District in 2011. To date an equivalent of over 5.9 million 16 oz. water bottles have been filled using the water bottle filling stations.

Carbon 613

Carbon 613Carbon 613 is a made-in-Ottawa target-based sustainability program where member organizations are plugged in to a local network, supported in setting a green gas reduction target, and celebrated for progress made towards environmental results. As a key member of Carbon 613, the District is recognized as an environmental leader in the Capital Region. We received the ‘Best Sustainable Project’ award in 2018 for our five net-metering solar installations.


Energy Evolution

The District is working in collaboration with The City of Ottawa and other major stakeholders on the development and implementation of the Energy Evolution initiative to reduce city-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

New Construction

New buildings and additions continue to be designed and constructed to LEED-like standards. The District receives energy efficiency rebates through programs like the High Performance New Construction (HPNC) program with incentives for investments into upgraded building components. We continue to focus on improving new building construction designs to move towards net-zero energy performance.

Environmental Stewardship Program

As part of the environmental stewardship program, many schools are actively participating in the Ministry of Education’s EcoSchools program. This program promotes a wide range of activities for teachers and students with an opportunity to become a certified EcoSchool. Last year we had 53 schools achieve certification. We will continue to promote participation in the EcoSchools program with the expectation that more schools will come on board each year.

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