Helping Canadian Schools Get Greener!

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Simone Skopek
Energy and Sustainability Services, Canada

Jones Lang LaSalle is partnering with Canada’s largest school board to take a fresh approach to sustainability.

We want to cut carbon emissions of almost 600 Toronto schools by 40%. Faced with aging buildings, a limited budget and a large bureaucracy, this will be a 10-year challenge!

Unlike the typical approach, which is to develop a top-down high level strategy, we will instead do a holistic, integrated carbon reduction pilot project on eight to ten schools with the full engagement of head caretakers, principals, eco-school coordinators as well as facilities teams from the school board.

Carbon reduction strategies may include capital upgrades and solar energy for heating pools, but will largely focus on improving operations and a strengthening the current student “Ecoschool” program. As we work through each strategy in consultation with the stakeholders, many issues will bubble to the surface. Some of these may be technical; others may be financial or related to social challenges or organizational issues.  We will tackle them all.

The pilot projects will include numerous facilitated discussions with representatives at all levels of the organization. From our findings, we will extrapolate an overall strategy for the entire portfolio to meet the 40% reduction goal.

While there are bound to be many challenges, we are heartened by the enthusiasm we are already seeing for this bottom-up-meets-top-down approach to sustainability.

Who knows? Maybe other organizations will learn something from what the Toronto schools are doing.

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