Johnson Controls Collaborates with More Than 125 Canadian School Districts in 2021 to Address Deferred Maintenance and Support Healthy and Sustainable Learning

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March 9, 2022

Johnson Controls has collaborated with more than 125 school districts in Canada in 2021 to address deferred maintenance through future-ready infrastructure improvements. The resulting school facilities are better equipped to help deliver safe, healthy, connected and sustainable learning experiences.

“Hundreds of schools across Canada are contending with an intimidating backlog of building updates that simply cannot wait,” said Maureen Blase, vice president and general manager, Performance Infrastructure at Johnson Controls. “Through creative funding and years of experience, our expert team makes it possible for school district leaders to make critical improvements right now so they can reap the benefits as soon as possible.”

Innovative funding procurement methods like OpenBlue Net Zero Buildings as a Service, a turnkey portfolio with a full spectrum of sustainability offerings, as well as government relief funds, can finance facility updates without impacting already limited budgets. Johnson Controls collaborates strategically with school district leaders across Canadian provinces and territories to audit existing infrastructure, identify funding opportunities, align updates with net zero and healthy buildings goals, implement and integrate solutions and deliver long-term resiliency through ongoing optimization and maintenance.

“Through creative funding and years of experience, our expert team makes it possible for school district leaders to make critical improvements right now so they can reap the benefits as soon as possible.” – Maureen Blase, vice president and general manager, Performance Infrastructure at Johnson Controls

Canadian Rockies School Division, Alberta

To reduce its infrastructure improvement backlog and standardize building systems, Johnson Controls collaborated with Canadian Rockies School Division leaders under a performance contract. The division-wide updates will include lighting upgrades as well as air conditioning and heating improvements. For better management and more efficient maintenance, Johnson Controls will overhaul the buildings’ controls system to an upgraded building automation system (BAS) and install smart water metering systems for optimized energy and water consumption. The project is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 726 tons and save approximately CA$105K annually.

“Working with Johnson Controls has allowed us to address deferred maintenance while making sustainability a priority,” said Mike Guindon, secretary-treasurer at Canadian Rockies School Division. “And by engaging through a performance contract, we can make these critical updates without diverting from our budget.”

Lethbridge School Division, Alberta

The Lethbridge School Division partnered with Johnson Controls for improvements in five facilities, with upgrades that include LED lighting fixtures and heating and cooling equipment, all of which can reduce maintenance and energy costs. In addition to ensuring best-in-class asset performance, upgrades will enhance the learning environment so students and teachers can focus on their curriculum. The two-phased project will be funded by energy and operational savings through a performance contract. The division is expected to generate approximately CA$224,600 in energy savings and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 1056 tons annually. The healthier environment will aid in community wellness, job creation and deliver long-term economic impact of CA$12.4M for Lethbridge.

“We’ve seen how a comfortable learning environment helps students reach their full potential,” said Christine Lee, associate superintendent at Lethbridge School Division. “We’re excited to see how our investment in infrastructure supports academic achievement throughout the division, and we’re proud to support a greener community through sustainable upgrades to our facilities.”

Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education, Alberta

With its buildings unoccupied in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education (MHCBE) seized the opportunity to address deferred maintenance while taking bold steps toward decarbonization in its nine schools. Through a performance contract with minimal capital required from MHCBE, Johnson Controls made CA$2.9M in improvements, including the implementation of LED lighting, heating and cooling replacements and an emergency lockdown system. Through the integration of a new, interoperable BAS, the schools are now connected within a single platform, enabling greater energy optimization. The project was completed in time for the 2021 fall semester, and MHCBE is now on track to generate CA$86,700 in savings every year and reduce GHG emissions by 448 tons annually.

“After previously working with Johnson Controls within another jurisdiction, I wanted to bring that same success to MHCBE,” said Dr. Dwayne Zarichny, superintendent at Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education. “Operating under a performance contract allowed us to act quickly to take advantage of our unoccupied buildings to welcome our students back for the fall semester with modernized facilities. Johnson Controls creative funding options gave us the flexibility to accelerate updates and continue to put students first.”

Brandon School Division, Manitoba

To improve energy efficiency within five of its schools, the Brandon School Division engaged with Johnson Controls under a performance contract to implement extensive lighting retrofits. After performing a detailed audit of existing fixtures, Johnson Controls experts installed LED lighting in two phases. The project is estimated to generate more than CA$50,000 in savings annually while reducing energy consumption by more than 876,000 kWh per year. The energy conservation measures will make for a greener school division while freeing up capital that can be diverted to student learning and wellness.

“We have a responsibility to our students, faculty and the surrounding community to prioritize sustainability and wellness” said Caroline Cramer, director of facilities and transportation at Brandon School Division. “Partnering with Johnson Controls gave us the tools to help meet our energy efficiency goals while remaining cost-effective.”

Johnson Controls works with K-12 schools to enable better environments for improved student education and achievement. To learn more, visit


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