Hot schools are a hot topic across the province, and right here in the Rainbow Board as well according to Trustee candidate Richard Eberhardt, a former classroom teacher.
“I’ve been there. I know how draining hot classrooms can be on students and staff alike,” said Eberhardt. “While our older schools are important community and educational infrastructure, the heat particularly on their upper floors can be extreme.”
In speaking with educational professionals about the first days of the school year, Eberhardt has heard a smooth start has been made more challenging when the temperature is hovering around 30 degrees. Beyond a comfort issue, learning and even health can be affected.
“Hot days will continue to come earlier in spring and stretch later into the fall, so overheated classrooms will remain a hot issue,” he said. “This is a problem the newly elected Rainbow Board will have to tackle, even without promised provincial funding.”
A $100 million retrofit fund for Ontario schools was cancelled in mid-summer by the new government.
“Those funds could be making our school system cheaper to operate, solving some of these issues using new and emergent technology that could work even in older buildings built for heating not cooling,” said Eberhardt.
As the Program Director for the non-profit Green Economy North program, Eberhardt leads an expert team dedicated to identifying and solving efficiency and space heating challenges. With a goal of cost saving while fighting climate change, the program works with many of Sudbury’s largest employers to address similar concerns.
“The solutions exist. While there are no quick fixes to the board’s facility needs, we know that efficiency retrofits pay back over time, making them the most attractive improvements to older buildings. Those retrofits can include addressing excessive heat in the classroom, an urgent need which can’t be ignored,” he said.