Valley schools going green for fall

Students at J.A. Laird Elementary school will come back from summer vacation to find a shiny new solar wall gracing the south face of their building.

Work on a new solar wall at J.A. Laird Elementary School should wrap up by the time school starts September 7.

Students at J.A. Laird Elementary school will come back from summer vacation to find a shiny new solar wall gracing the south face of their building.

Work on the wall began three weeks ago, and School District 6 energy manager Craig Edwards says if all materials arrive on schedule the project will be finished by the time classes resume September 7.

The $100,000 project (funded by a grant from the Climate Action Secretariat) includes a solar-air preheat system and solar-thermal panels, which will help heat the school’s water supply. Together, they’ll save Laird an estimated $15,000 per year in propane heating costs.

“There’s perforated metal panels installed on the south elevation with about a foot gap between them and wall, and the air gets heated up behind them before it goes into the ventilation system for the school,” explains Edwards. “So it reduces the amount of heat we need to heat the air and provide ventilation for the students.”

Laird principal Jill Jensen says the environmental upgrades have already sparked interest, with members of the school leadership club teaching other students about the solar panels at a year-end assembly.

“They learned about how the panels work and then explained it to the rest of the student body in a visual presentation,” she says. “Eventually there will be a display created in the hallways so that students can track and monitor our energy use and consumption.”

The Laird project is one of two in the Valley funded by grants. At Edgewater Elementary School workers are currently installing high-efficiency heat pumps, to replace gas-fired rooftop units. Several district-wide upgrades are also underway.

“We’re basically upgrading the lighting in all the schools throughout the district,” Edwards explains. “We’ve been replacing boilers and installing new control systems in the buildings and increasing insulation and sealing them off from air leaks.”

Edwards estimates the Rocky Mountain School District has reduced its overall energy consumption by 20 per cent since it began rolling out its energy retrofits two years ago.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read