VICTORIA - Public hospitals, colleges and universities soon will be joining K-12 schools in receiving funding for capital investments dedicated to reducing energy costs, demonstrating clean technology and lowering carbon emissions.
The current Carbon Neutral Capital Program, which provides school districts with $5 million annually, will be expanded by the Province to include health authorities and post-secondary institutions. Budget 2014 provides $14.5 million in annual funding for the expanded program.
The program is being expanded to the health and post-secondary sectors because of the success in the K-12 education sector. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education will develop their portions of the expanded program and details will be announced when complete. The K-12 part of the program will remain unchanged, with $5 million continuing to be available to school districts from the Ministry of Education.
Public-sector organizations will continue to pay $25 per tonne of emissions as a concrete means to encourage efforts to reduce emissions and energy costs. Funds from school districts, health authorities and post-secondary institutions now will be directed through the expanded Carbon Neutral Capital Program.
Minister of Environment Mary Polak -
"Despite tight fiscal times, our government continues to demonstrate our commitment to climate leadership and a carbon neutral public sector. By expanding our Carbon Neutral Capital Program investment to include health and post-secondary institutions, more public-sector organizations will be able to finance energy reduction projects and, at the same time, dedicate subsequent savings from energy costs to improve public services."
Minister of Health Terry Lake -
"This is welcome news that will help health-care facilities throughout the province invest in energy saving upgrades that will protect valuable health dollars while also protecting the environment. It is also another example of our government's commitment to develop innovative ways to make our health care dollars go further."
Minister of Advanced Education Amrik Virk -
"Public post-secondary institutions continue to work towards being carbon neutral. Expanding the Province's carbon neutral program to include energy-saving capital investments in our universities, institutes and colleges demonstrates government's support."
Facts about the current Carbon Neutral Capital Program for K-12 schools:
- In April 2012, school districts throughout B.C. got a boost from the B.C. government to help reduce their carbon footprint and save money. A total of $5 million has been provided annually through the Carbon Neutral Capital Program so school districts can undertake electrical and mechanical improvements to their schools that will lower carbon emissions.
- From Carbon Neutral Capital Program projects undertaken in 2012-13 and 2013-14, school districts have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,000 tonnes and are now saving $75,000 in carbon charges as well as about $800,000 in additional operating costs every year.
- For example:
- The new heat pumps at Palmer Secondary school in the Richmond school district lower the school's GHG emissions by 76%. This new system allows SD 38 to save more than $19,000 on annual energy costs and $5,000 on annual carbon charges.
- By replacing the old boilers at Lake Cowichan Secondary school with a more-efficient model powered by wood waste, the Cowichan Valley school district cut the school's GHG emissions by 168 tonnes and its annual energy costs by more than $54,000, in addition to saving more than $4,000 each year in carbon charges.
Ministry of Environment