Ottawa Promises $40M in Carbon Tax Cash to Upgrade 172 Ontario Schools

Making School More Comfortable and Energy Efficient

Published in The National Post (March 10, 2021)

The federal government says it’s spending more than $40 million of carbon tax revenue to make Ontario schools more energy efficient.

The money will go to 172 schools across the province, funding projects such as replacing roofs and increasing insulation.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the investment will make classrooms more comfortable and healthier for students and teachers.

Minister Wilkinson says the upgrades will help schools save on energy costs, while improving air quality — a hot-button issue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the government, up to 90 per cent of the cash generated by the carbon tax is doled out to individuals on their annual income tax returns, while the remaining 10 per cent is spent on projects geared to reducing pollution and energy consumption.

While the dollar value on the investments may still change, the initial scope of school upgrade projects range in price from $660K to nearly $2 million.

Impact and Implications

NAIMA Canada welcomes tangible, cost-effective projects that prioritize energy efficiency through the building envelope, such as this initiative for schools across Ontario. 

Energy efficient upgrades have the power to transform schools. On top of increasing the sustainability of the province’s educational infrastructure, the retrofits could have a positive impact on the classroom – healthier, more comfortable spaces provide a much more conducive learning environment for students, staff, and the surrounding communities. 

Energy efficiency in schools, as in virtually all buildings, begins with a well-insulated building envelope. Combined with proper air tightness measures, creating a tight envelope is the first step in the march toward energy efficiency. 

This announcement is especially timely considering the implications of COVID-19 and the impact of indoor air quality (IAQ) on students and staff. With a balanced strategy between a properly insulated building envelope and air tightness, the result can lead to improved indoor air quality, as well as a more comfortable environment for the building’s occupants as they experience fewer drafts and fewer temperature fluctuations. 

Air tightness also plays a large role, going hand-in-hand with insulation and energy efficiency. Often, airtight buildings are more durable, more comfortable, and consume less energy.

Through these investments, students and staff can enjoy a cleaner, more comfortable learning environment.