By Lisa Kopochinski
BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada—The government of British Columbia recently announced it is putting $217.7 million of annual maintenance funding to school districts across the province to increase energy efficiency in schools.
This year’s funding is more than $32 million higher than four years ago. Also included this year is an additional $12.2 million from CleanBC that will provide school districts with more resources through the province’s Carbon Neutral Capital Program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This extra funding will also create operating cost savings from energy efficiencies such as adding solar panels, high efficiency boilers and LED lighting upgrades, a government release stated.
“Tackling climate change is critically important for all of us, and our school system can play a part in helping cut carbon pollution,” said B.C. Minister of Education Rob Fleming in a statement. “That’s why we’ve significantly increased maintenance funding to help districts better maintain schools, improve energy efficiency and work to provide the best possible learning environments for students,”
CleanBC is the government’s plan to reduce carbon pollution through approximately $1.3 billion in provincial funding over four years.
Said B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman in a statement, “We’re working with school districts throughout the province to create healthier learning environments for students and modeling a more secure future through energy efficient buildings and transportation options.”
In addition to new CleanBC funding the Carbon Neutral Capital Program is providing approximately $17 million to nearly 70 different energy efficient projects.
There will also be the option for school districts to purchase electric school buses through the 2020-21 Bus Acquisition Program, which provides $13 million for 31 school districts to buy 101 new buses including up to 15 electric buses. Districts that purchase electric buses will also have access to provincial funding for charging station infrastructure.