Rainbow District School Board is working with Ameresco Canada on Walden Public School near Sudbury, Ontario, which will have a photovoltaic rooftop system, wind turbine and geothermal heating and cooling.
By the end of summer 2011, Sudbury’s Walden Public School will draw a portion of its energy usage from a 100-kilowatt rooftop photovoltaic solar power system.
With it in place, as well as the wind turbine currently spinning in the school’s yard, the school will be producing about 60 per cent of its energy requirements.
Solar capacity is the last stage in efforts by the Rainbow District School Board, working with Ameresco Canada, to produce a school with a healthier, greener environment for students with lower operating costs.
The school, located in the small town of Lively, just west of Sudbury, has been in operation since January of 2010 following construction that began in 2008.
The 48,000-square-foot building had many local companies involved in construction.
Ameresco acted as general contractor and construction manager.
Participants in the project included Castellan James + Partners Architects Inc., mechanical and electrical engineering firm LKM Engineering, structural engineer Genesis and civil consultants Trow Associates.
Total construction cost of the project is $14 million.
In addition to the photovoltaic rooftop system, the school is outfitted with a 20kW-wind turbine and a 60-tonne geothermal heat pump system for heating and cooling that incorporates a solar hot water system. A fresh-air ventilation system supplies the entire building through a high efficiency air-to-air energy recovery system.
Other energy-saving measures include high-efficiency lighting with occupancy-sensor control.
Sustainable design features are cutting operating expenses by an estimated 50 per cent.
Installation of the solar system became a teaching point for students, who took a major interest in the project during installation.
Parents and staff say that features of the school design — such as an abundance of natural light, excellent air movement and a chemical-free environment, thanks to the use of low VOC-emitting materials used in construction — seem to be aiding learning by keeping students more alert.