Upgrades at Catholic schools will help meet province's climate change requirements

The London District Catholic School Board has started a $9.9-million dollar program that will take a large step towards making its 54 schools in the London area more environmentally friendly.

The move is part of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), which mandates that businesses and organizations across the province, including school boards meet Ontario’s targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The board's schools are being renovated through a partnership with an energy solutions company called Ameresco Canada. The board says its partnership with Ameresco will reduce energy costs while at the same time meet the requirements of the CCAP and avoid cap-and-trade penalties.

The renewal program will replace all fluorescent lighting with LED lamps. Some schools will have upgrades done to their heating/cooling/ventilation systems, building controls, boilers and water heaters, in addition to other electrical and mechanical retrofits.

The board expects the initiative will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 per cent. Ontario's climate change action plan requires all ministries to reach a 15 per cent reduction by 2020.

The project will be complete by 2018, and is expected to save the board over $500,000 each year in utility costs.