Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district spending $544,000 on heating and cooling at Cedar Secondary

SD68 spends money from annual facilities grant and environmental upgrade fund

A $540,000 expenditure will replace a south-end high school’s heating and cooling system and assist Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools with carbon neutrality.

Cedar Secondary School saw a cooling tower malfunction last October and while the heating systems didn’t suffer damage, the district is replacing the device with a 37-tonne air-to-water-heat pump, according to a staff report. The project has a price tag of $544,200, with $203,200 coming from the district’s annual facilities grant and $341,000 from the district’s environmental upgrade fund for carbon-reduction projects.

Trustees were given an update by staff at a Sept. 15 business committee meeting.

The pump is expected to complement the “boiler loop” as the main source of heating and cooling, said the report, and in turn, will decrease “load on boiler and roof-top units” and lessen its carbon footprint.

The Cedar Secondary money represents the bulk of $400,000 of environment fund money for the 2020-21 school year. An allocation of $23,000 will go toward a heat pump for a band room at the old Woodlands Secondary School site, which houses the learning alternatives program and is serving as a swing space for students as Cilaire Elementary undergoes seismic upgrades.

The district will spend $28,000 for four furnaces at Rutherford Elementary, serving as a Pleasant Valley school swing space this year. It also spent $2,100 on a cooling tower energy study and $5,100 on a carpentry shop energy study, stated the report.

The district is not expecting to meet a Government of B.C. target of 40-per cent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030. The total greenhouse gas reduction for the environmental upgrade fund projects is expected to amount to 1.9 per cent of the district’s annual target, according to the report.

More money will be needed to help the school district reach its goals, Mary Zuccaro, SD68 energy manager, said at the meeting. The province wants the district to “electrify” in the future and “tapping into the boiler loop” with the pump will reduce GHG by a lot, she said.

“That means using more heat pump technology, but of course, what comes along with that is extra cost,” said Zuccaro. “Unfortunately heat pumps are a lot more expensive than boiler upgrades, so having the additional funding really helps the school district achieve their GHG target every year and helps get to that target a lot faster.”

Work at Cedar Secondary is expected to be completed in December, said the district, while work at the Woodlands and Rutherford sites were completed March and August respectively.

RELATED: Nanaimo-Ladysmith students ‘swing’ to new schools

reporter@nanaimobulletin.comLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ladysmith Chronicle