The Division continually strives to apply sustainability principles to all aspects of its operations including the design, construction, maintenance and renewal of its facility infrastructure. The following is a sampling of the Division’s facility and operational sustainable development initiatives.
Energy and Water Reduction
In early 2000, the Division embarked on a new strategy which utilized an energy performance based contract model as the basis for improving the learning environment for students and reducing the Division’s carbon footprint. Over a 10 year period, the Division engaged the services of energy service companies to undertake a variety of facility modifications under the premise that the cost of the facility modifications would be fully recovered through reductions to the Division’s utility costs. By the spring of 2014, 60 facilities will have received a variety of energy and water reduction modifications under this energy performance contract model.
Since 2008, the Division, with funding assistance from the Province of Manitoba and grants provided under Manitoba Hydro’s PowerSmart program has been upgrading its heating plants, roof and window assemblies to provide systems which will further reduce energy consumption and provide improved comfort for our students and staff.
During the period from 2003 to 2013 these energy improvements have resulted in avoidance of 26,143 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to 7,937 cars being removed from the road. In addition the energy improvements have saved 32,653,587 kWh of electricity or equivalent of powering 2,009 homes, 13,600,154 cubic metres of natural gas or the equivalent of heating 5,535 homes and 68,123 cubic metres of water or the equivalent to fill 27 Olympic sized swimming pools.
Status of Facilities and Operations Improvement Measures
New Construction and Maintenance
With the funding support and guidance provided by Province of Manitoba, all major additions to our schools are being designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental design) Certified or Silver rating. The Division is also striving to ensure that construction and maintenance materials utilized in the renovation and maintenance of facilities follow LEED resource re-use, recycled content, low VOC and durability criteria.
In September, 2007, Winnipeg School Division commenced a Division wide program to recycle paper and cardboard in all of its schools and departments. Each month on average 21,837 kilograms of recyclable materials—the equivalent weight of two fully loaded 66-passenger school buses-heads off to be recycled.
Green Manitoba, an agency of the Manitoba Government, estimates that the Division’s recycling program would have the following effects each month: 45 tonnes greenhouse gas mitigated; 77 kilowatt hours saved in electricity; 426,909 litres of water conserved (for paper recycling); 118 cubic yards saved in landfill space and 178 barrels of oil saved.
Since August, 2007, over 2,700 elms, maples and ash trees on Division properties and adjacent boulevards are banded each year to protect against cankerworms. Tree banding is an environmentally friendly, chemical free approach to protect the Division’s and City’s urban forest from attack by insects. Winnipeg’s urban forest of elm trees not only provides cooling areas of shade and a beautiful green canopy but also assists in the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Each year students and school staff participate in a division-wide projects to clean/beautify their communities. This school year, 19,459 students and staff members participated in community beautification projects.
The Winnipeg School Division was the first division in Manitoba to use biodiesel in all its school buses. The Division started testing biodiesel on four buses in February, 2007 to ensure that the buses could operate using biodiesel in extreme winter temperatures. Currently all 90 WSD school buses are using bio diesel. The Division’s fleet of buses also operates on an idle-free basis to reduce emissions at stops.
In June 2010 routing and scheduling software was purchased to help make routes more efficient and reduce the number kilometers travelled throughout the school year.
The Division is researching other measures to reduce fuel consumption and emissions including the purchasing of buses powered using propane, GPS equipment to help create further efficiencies in routing and monitor school operation to ensure they are being operated in a manner that reduces fuel consumption.
Custodial and Cleaning Operations
The Division’s purchasing practices always consider sustainability principles in its decisions regarding custodial cleaning operations. Some examples include: ensuring the product is ergonomically friendly; requires less resources such as water or power; emits less noise; has good dust collection or filtration and is made of material that has a recycled content.
The Division has found many ways to go “greener”. Concentrates are used in an effort to reduce waste. All wooden floor sealer/varnish is now an environmentally-friendly water-based product, replacing the former oil-based product. Zinc-free floor finishes and floor strippers are being used. Staff are also investigating and testing hand towel paper products and dispensers that are “green” certified.
Custodial staff started are also using micro-fibre technology for cleaning. This product has significant impact in the amount of chemicals required for cleaning sinks, counters, desks, telephones, drinking fountains and glass. The cloths also significantly reduce the amount of airborne dust created when cleaning dusty surfaces. The cloths stand up to being laundered many times and have been found to last a year or longer.