Allocations earmarked for school energy retrofits are now being released from the federal Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF). Approximately $60 million has been promised for the MUSH (municipalities, universities/colleges, schools and hospitals) sector this year, drawn from carbon pricing proceeds the Canadian government redistributes to four provinces — Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick — that have not adopted their own carbon pricing programs as set out in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
Thus far, 164 projects in Saskatchewan and 127 projects in Manitoba, collectively valued at $17 million, have been confirmed. Since provinces’ share of the CAIF is prorated to the amount their residents pay in carbon pricing, Saskatchewan receives a larger funding allotment due to its heavier reliance on coal-fired electricity generation.
The MUSH stream accounts for a small percentage of collected carbon fees, 90 per cent of which are returned to residents of the four provinces via personal income tax credits. There is also a fund offering grants to business operators for energy-saving and emissions-reducing capital projects, including: building retrofits and/or fuel switching; cogeneration or renewable energy systems for their own use; hook-up to district energy; industrial or agricultural process improvements; heavy-duty or marine vehicle retrofits; and energy efficiency in waste management.
School energy retrofits were specifically targeted for the first round of the MUSH stream. In Saskatchewan, approximately $12 million will go toward building envelope, lighting and HVAC system improvements in 27 school divisions. That includes extensive undertakings like the $571,000 boiler and roof replacement at Evan Hardy Collegiate in Saskatoon, as well as many lower-cost initiatives.
In Manitoba, $5 million will be distributed to 35 school divisions. A sampling of planned projects include $300.000 for window replacement at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate in Winnipeg and $110,000 for door and insulation upgrades at La Verendrye School in Portage la Prairie.
“The average age of school buildings in Manitoba is more than 50 years old,” reports Alan Campbell, president of the Manitoba School Boards Association. “School boards in the province have been able to undertake projects to upgrade this ageing infrastructure, to increase efficiencies, lessen their environmental footprint and improve the environment for teaching and learning.”