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Deer Lake School reduces energy costs through extensive lighting improvement project

The school and its students will reap the benefits for years to come as lighting upgrades are expected to save $5,600 on energy costs each year

With the help of an incentive from BC Hydro, Deer Lake School—a kindergarten to Grade 12 academy in Burnaby, B.C.,—completed a series of lighting improvements in the spring of 2013. In total, the school installed more than 700 T8 energy saver lamps, 350 T8 fluorescent lamps, 65 LED bulbs, 20 LED exit signs and over 50 motion sensors in its classrooms, storage areas, hallways and gymnasiums.

“We’re very proud of the energy and cost savings we’ve been able to achieve,” says Gaileen Woytko, the school’s director of development and operations. “Savings of this size and kind aren’t easy to come by, especially at a school built in 1965.”

The result of such a large lighting improvement project, which took about one year to complete with all the work being done after school, is an expected savings of 62,405 kilowatt-hours annually, or about $5,600 a year, on its BC Hydro bill. Money, that Woytko says, will be put to good use elsewhere.

To ensure all the objectives of this project were achieved efficiently, Woytko says that early on in the process, the school’s 20-member board made a wise decision by assigning a project manager to oversee the lighting improvements. The project manager—a volunteer member of the board’s facilities committee—assumed a number of the project’s day-to-day responsibilities.

“The project manager worked directly with a member of BC Hydro’s Alliance of Energy Professionals,” says Woytko. “Having a point person really helped streamline communication. They evaluated the Alliance member’s proposed technologies, managed the budget and supervised the installation, communicating changes, delays and successes back to the board as needed. It allowed our school’s administrators to stay focused on students and staff.”

The lighting improvements qualified for an incentive of $13,426 from BC Hydro and the school expects to recoup its up-front costs in four years — which is the blink of an eye, says Woytko, for a school that just celebrated its 50th anniversary.