The province commemorated the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday with a carbon offset bill and a drive to retrofit schools.
At Dartmouth High School Conserve Nova Scotia Minister Bill Estabrooks revealed how $11.4 million budgeted for school improvements will be rolled out.
Projects range from more energy-efficient light bulbs and new windows to switching schools over from oil to natural gas.
At Dartmouth High a group of students have taken things a step further. Pupils in a grade 12 philosophy class have created the group Schools Appreciating Valuable Energy, or SAVE. The group will encourage students to conserve energy and as a bonus, the value of half of the energy saved is paid back to the school.
“They showed a great video of these kids commenting on, you know, turning off computers and turning off lights. But they did it in such an entertaining way,” said Estabrooks.
“When you can reward the initiatives of students and they have that sense of conscience then you’re all set.”
Estabrooks said the province isn’t sure exactly how much will be saved in operating costs when the upgrades are complete. But he said he eventually expects savings to outweigh the initial cost.
The province contributed $10 million to energy-saving construction last year.
Earlier in the day Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau introduced a bill to create a voluntary carbon offset fund to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
The bill will create a fund to support projects that reduce harmful air emissions.
Businesses, organizations and people will be able to purchase emissions credits from the fund.
One carbon credit will fund the removal of one tonne of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
An emissions credit is applied against the purchaser’s carbon footprint, which is the amount of greenhouse gas they produce.
The fund is expected to be in operation by next spring.