Strategy for School Boards to Save Energy and Money

Students, influenced by Greta Thunberg, are participating in unprecedented global-wide protests. On September 27, 2019, building on Fridays for the Future, thousands of school-age children are expected to demonstrate for urgent action on climate in Ontario. Young people are dismayed by the lack of action on the part of governments and others on the most critical challenge facing civilization.

That means school boards, which have numerous buildings and physical plants that contribute to carbon emissions, can be an important actor in mitigating climate damage. The recently created Joint Management Labour Environment Committee (JMLEC) at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is made of up representatives from management and labour and works to reduce the carbon emissions emitted by the 584 buildings of Canada’s largest school board. The committee urges the TDSB to add “sustainability” to the mission statement, in addition to equity, well-being and achievement.

School boards in Ontario are facing financial challenges including aging buildings in need of repairs and upgrades, high utility costs, and a limited budget for repair and maintenance. Investing in energy efficient retrofits, repairs, preventative maintenance, and greener transportation will reduce operating costs and put the savings back into energy retrofits, and other areas.

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