Photo courtesy Cole Carruthers
One of Canada’s most environmentally friendly buildings is set to get a little greener in time for the 2014 Alberta Winter Games.
Canadian Rockies Public Schools announced to students last week that Banff Community High School will see a new array of solar panels installed on the school as part of an Alberta Winter Games legacy project.
Teacher Maya Capel and the BCHS Green Team, who originally approached the Town of Banff with a wind turbine project in mind, spearheaded the project.
Research proved that a number of factors would make a turbine impractical, and the idea of solar panels to be installed on the roof of the school came up shortly after.
With the help of a $5,000 grant from the Banff Community Foundation and a recent $20,000 grant from BullFrog Power, BCHS will move forward with the installation of 36 solar panels on the roof of the school, which will complement the existing array that currently produces around two kilowatt-hours of power per day.
Those 36 panels will produce roughly 10.5 kWh of electricity per day on average and together with the existing array, the school’s solar panels will produce, on average, roughly 12.5 kWh per day.
The average household uses around 28 kWh of electricity per day, so while the 12.5 kWh to be produced by the school’s solar panels may seem like a drop in the bucket, that amount could shoot up to around 85 kWh or more per day in sunny months like July when the school is unoccupied.
Canadian Rockies Public Schools have contracted Enmax Power to install the solar panels at a cost of $31,900, plus an additional $1,800 for a monitor display that will indicate energy production by the solar panels to passersby in the school’s Purkis Hall.
The new set of solar panels represents the latest step for one of the country’s most environmentally friendly buildings.
When the school was remodeled and upgraded in 2002, a number of steps were taken to reduce its footprint, including the installation of new insulation, energy-efficient lighting and boiler systems, and low-emissivity windows.
The building was also the first LEEDS certified school in Canada and one of the first buildings in Canada to receive the certification, an indicator of a facility’s commitment to sustainable operations.