Canada’s First Retrofitted Carbon Neutral School - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, GHG Emissions, Microgrids, Solar  -  November 10, 2021

Canada’s First Retrofitted Carbon Neutral School

The  London District Catholic School Board’s (LDCSB) John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in Canada is the first retrofitted carbon neutral school in the country after completing a comprehensive microgrid and facility renewal project.

The school completed the commercial operation of its carbon reduction, energy savings, and smart grid project in May by working with Ameresco, Inc., a cleantech integrator specializing in eliminating the carbon emissions of buildings, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.  

The upgrades that were made to the school include the installation of 2,700 covered carport solar panels (providing 825 kW DC of power), piping for a geothermal heating and cooling system, a 2.2MWh electrical energy storage system and four electric vehicle charging stations.

These improvements will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero and remove 277 tons of carbon annually for the school to heat, cool and provide electricity.

The school became completely energy self-sufficient and saved 68% in baseline electricity costs because Ameresco implemented the Energy as a Service (EaaS) financial model. The school also received a $4.5 million investment from the Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program by working with Ameresco.  In addition,  the school also received funding from the Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) Grid Innovation Fund to demonstrate how the system could also provide both the local and bulk transmission grid with emission-free energy and ancillary support services to the electricity grid.

“This project embodies how the electricity system is evolving, allowing a school to use a suite of emerging technologies to save energy costs and reduce emissions,” says Katherine Sparkes, director of innovation, research and development at the IESO in a statement. “What’s really innovative about this project is that it will allow us as grid operator to test how John Paul II Catholic Secondary School can contribute to the reliability and affordability of the provincial grid.”

Ameresco has worked with the LDCSB on a variety of projects worth over $50 million across LDSCB facilities during the last 10 years.


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