In a report recently issued by Sustainable Schools, a program sponsored by the Climate Challenge Network, the Superior-Greenstone District School Board was announced as the 2020 Top Energy Performing School Board in the Province. The report which is issued annually to rate Ontario School Boards’ Energy Efficiency, uses energy data and building information for Ontario’s 5,000 schools and education centres as publicly reported to the Ministry by the 72 school boards.
Established in 2007, the Sustainable Schools Program has been working with school boards across Canada, establishing the magnitude of energy savings potential in individual schools, highlighting where those saving are to be found, and providing tools and training to help boards achieve high performance energy targets. In 2008, the first annual Top Energy Performing Schools Report was issued, which identified and recognized some of the most energy efficient schools in North America.
Superior-Greenstone District School Board is proud to be a recipient of this esteemed acknowledgement as the Top Energy Performer for 2020. The board is in its third year of their five-year strategic plan and environmental stewardship has been a key part of their strategic focus. Their aim is to optimize learning opportunities that will make a significant contribution to improving the social/environmental/digital fabric of our environments and society through responsible stewardship.
The school board has become a champion of energy conservation through the leadership of their Manager of Plant Services, Marc Paris, and his team, which includes Plant Services Coordinator, Matt Legacy, Coordinator of Plant Operations, Karen Patock, and many Maintenance Workers and Custodial Staff across the school district. The school’s energy savings were reached through operational and controls improvements and cost-effective building system retrofits implemented by the Plant Services department. In addition, the school board has continued to invest capital funds annually into energy saving solutions such as automated controls for heating and lighting systems, as well as the installation of solar panels.
Director of Education, Nicole Morden Cormier expressed her gratitude to Marc Paris and his team, along with the collective efforts of staff and students, for the commitment to environmental conservation. She noted that, “the energy savings achieved allows the school board to focus its funds in the classroom; available funding is used to enhance school spaces through the creation of outdoor classrooms, student focused areas and rich learning environments. Students and staff collaboratively work to reduce the overall waste generated by the schools and to minimize energy consumption for utilities, thus allowing everyone to positively impact the environment of their school and global community.”
Through initiatives such as the development of an Environmental Committee and the Plant Department Energy Conservation Contest, the school board has successfully promoted energy conservation and fostered student engagement in the reduction of utility costs. Last year they held a competition that was based on the highest percentage of utility reduction during the same period of two calendar school years. Manitouwadge Public School was the proud winner and was recognized as the lowest energy consumer of the board’s 15 schools.
Board Chair, Pinky McRae, announced at their Regular Board meeting held on May 25, 2020 that the School Board had been rated as the Top Energy Performing Board. McRae expressed her excitement that the school board has been recognized provincially for its energy conservation efforts and leadership. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Chair extended congratulations to the staff and students “for once again proving that small schools make a difference”.