Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Data on Energy Use by Schools to Made Public after Call by Environment Watchdog

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Data on Energy Use by Schools to Made Public after Call by Environment Watchdog

Article excerpt

School energy data to be released by July 1

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TORONTO, Cananda - Hours after the release of a report by Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, the Ministry of Education said late Tuesday that data on schools' energy use would be made public by July 1.

Ontario school boards could save a lot of money with conservation programs if the government would publicly release data on schools' energy usage, Miller said.

The Liberal government had to abandon its goal to reduce school energy use by 10 per cent after some schools could not measure consumption, so it collected data on the electricity and natural gas usage at every school in the province, but refused to make the data public.

"Why not release it to the public," Miller asked as he released his annual report on conservation.

"There's no shame here. This was not done deliberately. Releasing it to the public allows the public to engage with the boards of education to say where can we find savings."

The Simcoe Country district school board in Barrie cut energy use by 16 per cent and saved $500,000 a year by replacing windows and boilers and improving heating and air conditioning equipment in just one-third of its schools.

More money could be spent on in-class education if the government and school boards used the data that shows different levels of energy efficiency in different school buildings to improve efforts to reduce their electricity and natural gas bills, said Miller.

"We're talking, across the province, boards of education spend $300 million a year on energy, so those kinds of magnitude are serious money," he said.

"And that's just the education facilities. It's not hospitals, not other government buildings or commercial buildings."

Private companies could use the school data to spot opportunities for their services that reduce energy consumption and save boards money, added Miller. …

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