The geothermal upgrade project at Summerland Secondary School can be seen as a lesson in forward thinking.
The upgrade involves using the constant temperature underground to heat and cool the school building.
This results in lower operating costs and a reduction in the amount of carbon being put into the environment.
While the carbon cost, at $25 a tonne, is small when weighed against the school district’s total annual budget, the savings in fuel and heating or cooling costs will be much more significant.
Geothermal technology also allows for better temperature control within the building.
While a geothermal installation is a significant undertaking, it should be seen as a long-term investment, not an immediate expense.
The savings in heating and cooling costs will mean more money will be available for other uses within the school district.
And when the geothermal work is being done along with a full mechanical upgrade inside the school building, the improved efficiency can result in further savings.
A project of this nature is significant, and as a result, only the larger schools are being considered for geothermal plants.
This is not the first effort to improve efficiencies in Summerland.
Solar panels are in place at the Summerland Aquatic Centre and the design of the police station was done to keep heating and cooling costs low.
Wind and solar energy projects are also being considered in the community, as ways of developing alternative energy sources.
As conventional fuel costs continue to increase, initiatives such as these and other energy alternatives will make more and more sense.
Efforts made today will pay dividends in the years to come.