Heat will only be turned on Nov. 1 instead of mid-October
By Tina Comeau
Students attending Tri-County Regional School Board schools may want to consider adding a particular line of clothing to their wardrobes this fall – sweaters.
In an effort to cut back on some of its oil consumption, the Tri-County Regional School Board has informed its schools that unless something drastic happens beforehand, the board won’t be turning on the schools’ heating systems until Nov. 1.
Normally the furnace boilers are fired up in mid-October. “This could save a lot of money,” explains Steven Stoddart, the board’s director of operational services, who says not only was the cost of fuel and oil up last year, but so too was the number of litres used. Part of the problem, says the board, is once the boilers are fired up, they can’t be turned on and off. They have to stay on. “We actually used 1,484,992.9 litres of furnace fuel last budget year. You can see the potential savings here if everyone makes an effort,” Stoddart says, suggesting if they could save $1,000 or more at each school, the savings would add up since this measure will affect 24 of the 26 schools operated by the board (it does not include P3 schools.)
Stoddart’s department has also notified schools that any cabinets or shelving units that are blocking radiators have to be removed by Nov. 1 so that the heating system runs more efficiently. “I know a lot of the elementary schools aren’t happy, but any radiators blocked by book cases, I want them all taken down,” Stoddart says. “We’re looking at any little thing we can do.”
During the last budget year, the high cost of fuel and heating oil hit the Tri-County board hard, putting its fuel and oil budget in a deficit position. And the Tri-County board wasn’t in a unique situation. As a result the province provided fuel and oil funding relief for all boards in the province. The Tri-County’s share was $301,791.
Asked whether there is anything the board can do with its busing routes to save on fuel, Stoddart says no because the routes can’t be adjusted.
Meanwhile, as for when the board intends to turn off the heating system in its schools on the flip side of the school year, it will keep on eye on the weather in the spring to decide when that will happen.