Elijah Smith Elementary School celebrates installation of clean, sustainable heating system

The Elijah Smith Elementary School in Whitehorse is home to a new biomass heating system, building on the Government of Yukon's commitment to support a strong and sustainable future for generations to come.

Biomass is a clean, renewable energy source that reduces fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Heat is created by burning organic matter like wood. This system will reduce the school's reliance on propane and lower its greenhouse emissions by approximately 180 tonnes annually.

This project contributes to action H17 and meeting goal area 2 of Our Clean Future, the Government of Yukon’s strategy for addressing climate change, building a green economy, and ensuring Yukoners can access reliable, affordable, and renewable energy. Action H17 directs Highways and Public Works to “install renewable heat sources such as biomass energy in Government of Yukon buildings,” while goal area 2 involves “undertaking energy efficiency retrofits and installing renewable heating systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Government of Yukon buildings.”

The system's construction contractor has taken on the additional responsibility of operating and maintaining the system, through a “build-maintain-operate” model. This innovative approach was developed through consultation with local industry and will create economic benefits by providing local operators with additional opportunities to support and service public infrastructure.

Using systems like biomass reduces the need for non-renewable heating fuels, further contributing to a clean, green and sustainable future for the territory.

Our government is committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Through projects like the Elijah Smith Elementary School biomass system, we are taking concrete action to achieve our emissions-reduction goals and supporting a strong, sustainable environment for future generations.

Minister of Highways and Public Works Nils Clarke

It is inspiring to see the integration of clean energy systems into our public buildings. The presence of a biomass heating system at the Elijah Smith Elementary School in Whitehorse is a testament to the exciting progress we are making towards a sustainable future. Biomass offers a strong solution, harnessing local renewable resources to provide heat while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker

Quick facts 
  • The biomass system will offset 180 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year – the equivalent of 65,000 litres of heating oil.

  • The Department of Highways and Public Works engaged with biomass contractors in July 2021 to discuss plans for the Elijah Smith School biomass project and to listen to their suggestions and feedback.

  • The contract for construction of the Elijah Smith Elementary School biomass system was awarded to Budget Plumbing and Heating in fall 2021. The total value of the construction work is $2.3 million.

  • The Elijah Smith Elementary School biomass heating system contributes to action H17 and meeting goal area 2, homes and buildings, under Our Clean Future.

Media contact 

Jordan Owens
Cabinet Communications

Brittany Cross
Communications, Highways and Public Works

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