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West Kelowna students benefit from green upgrade

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 | 4:30 pm

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Submitted by Ministry of Education Students at Helen Gorman Elementary will benefit from cleaner air and more efficient heating, thanks to a $650,000 investment from the Province and school district, announced Ben Stewart, Minister of Citizens’ Services and MLA for Westside-Kelowna.

“Ensuring schools use the latest heating and cooling technology means more money for educational services,” said Stewart. “This project is an investment in our facilities, as well as an investment in the education of future students.”

Helen Gorman Elementary students will see their existing primary- boiler system replaced with a ground source heat pump system. The existing heating system will be retained for backup during extreme cold weather. The project replaces failing equipment and improves the controls system. The estimated carbon footprint reduction is 83 per cent or 84 tonnes per year due to increased efficiency.

The Province is funding up to $500,000 for specific projects. Qualifying Interior and northern school districts are making a minimum matching investment of 50 per cent of the total project budget. Boards may invest additional funds to support local upgrades.

“These geothermal upgrades will produce much-appreciated cost savings over time,” said Central Okanagan board chair Rolli Cacchioni. “More importantly, they will help ensure a healthy and comfortable learning environment for our students. The district is extremely pleased about the upgrades and we are happy to be contributing to a green future for British Columbia.”

The project is part of an investment by the Province and school districts to improve energy efficiency and air quality in Interior and northern B.C. schools. This investment is part of a measure that is expected to create up to 128 direct jobs as part of the Province’s $14-billion public infrastructure program. Through Budget 2010, the Province is also providing $110 million to school districts across B.C. for Annual Facilities Grants.

Since 2001, the Province has spent more than $1.7 billion to complete 80 new and replacement schools, 148 additions, 26 renovation projects and 22 site acquisitions across B.C. All new and replacement schools have been constructed to meet the latest seismic and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold or equivalent standards.

By the end of 2009-10, the Province committed more than $3.8 billion in school capital and maintenance projects across B.C.

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