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saveONenergy incentives helped Bradford high school install new energy- efficient lighting and reduce annual electricity consumption by 19%

Built in 1976, Bradford District High School is one of the Simcoe County District School Board ’s largest consumers of electricity.

A $27,652 saveONenergy incentive from the local electric utility PowerStream and funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education to retrofit the school’s lighting system has helped to reduce the school’s annual electricity consumption by 19 percent.

“Energy savings is critical in our schools,” says Kayla Kalalian, the school board’s environmental systems coordinator. “When we save energy costs, we are able to complete more maintenance projects, which means more funding for the classroom. The savings directly benefit the students.”

The retrofit project, which was completed in January 2012, involved replacing thousands of older, inefficient T8 32-watt fluorescent bulb fixtures with T8 25-watt fixtures in the school’s classrooms, cafeteria and gymnasium. In addition, older ballasts were replaced by more efficient ballasts.

“Occupancy sensors, LED lighting and high-output T5 fixtures also were installed to further reduce electricity use,” says Mrs. Kalalian.

“The savings have been better than expected,” she says. Before the retrofit was completed, average monthly electricity consumption at Bradford was 594,000 kWh. After the retrofit was completed early this year, consumption dropped to 510,000 kWh.

“The installed lighting demand in the 154,000 square foot school following the retrofit was reduced by more than 40 percent,” says Ron Leal, Technical Director with Enerlife Consulting. Before the retrofit, electricity demand was .93 watts per square foot; after the retrofit it was reduced to .53 watts per square foot.

The RETROFIT PROGRAM is one of several saveONenergy FOR BUSINESS incentive programs available to institutions such as school boards when they invest in energy-efficient equipment and upgrades that produce energy savings. The program provides up to 50 percent of the cost of installing high-efficiency lighting and other equipment that reduces electricity use.
The saveONenergy programs are delivered across Ontario by local electric utilities such as PowerStream.
In 2009, Enerlife Consulting was hired by the Simcoe County District School Board to access the electricity usage across all of the district’s 106 schools and to set up a process to prioritize the maximum energy savings possible through investing in energy-efficient technology.

“Even at an older school like Bradford we can do a relatively simple retrofit to the lighting and achieve significant savings,” Mrs. Kalalian says.

The Bradford project cost $131,042. With the saveONenergy incentive, the payback period for the project was reduced to 4.1 years from 5.2 years.

“saveONenergy incentives help pay for the incremental cost of buying energy-efficient equipment that goes beyond the minimum required in Ontario’s Building Code,” says Robert Smith, Incentive Program Advisor.

“‘The incentives help offset the higher cost of more efficient equipment and allow decision makers to focus on energy savings,” he says.

“With schools and other public institutions facing ever tighter budgets, the RETROFIT PROGRAM results in significant reductions in electricity costs,” says Michael Pardal, PowerStream’s Conservation Demand Management key account specialist.

“Incentives from the saveONenergy RETROFIT PROGRAM and the annual savings from reduced energy costs are
now directed to a separate energy-efficiency fund to pay for energy savings projects at more schools,” says Mrs. Kalalian. “The goal is to have a self-generating fund that continues to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades year after year.”

The Simcoe County District School Board is one of the largest school districts in Ontario, with nearly 50,000 students living in its 4,800-square kilometre region. PowerStream is Ontario’s second largest municipality-owned electricity distribution company, delivering power to more than 350,000 customers in communities north of Toronto in Central Ontario.
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