H I GH L I GH T S O F CA M PU S SU STA I N A B I LI TY I N I TI ATI V ES
O ntario universities are not just going green – we are going greener.
In November 2009, the Executive Heads of Ontario universities
presented to the Ontario government a made-in-Ontario sustainability
pledge, Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World, reinforc-
ing our commitment to the environment and the future well-being of
We also developed a comprehensive survey to create an inventory of our
sustainability initiatives on 22 campuses (at 20 universities). For a list of
participating institutions, see the back cover.
From practising the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) to reducing our carbon
footprint, universities are invested in being environmentally sustainable
because we share responsibility for ensuring the continued good health
of all Ontarians and indeed the province, today and tomorrow.
The ﬁndings of the survey have been summarized in a report that is now
posted on the Council of Ontario Universities’ website (www.cou.on.ca).
The report details our wide-sweeping initiatives in nine key categories
and identiﬁes areas for future advancement.
The following pages contain highlights of green initiatives undertaken
by Ontario universities.
POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION
Ontario universities are leading by example:
17 campuses have formal declarations of commitment to environmental sustainability
in place, with 2 more campuses in the planning stages.
8 of Ontario’s universities are signatories to the Talloires Declaration, a 10-point international
action plan that incorporates sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research
and operations at universities and colleges. The plan has been signed by more than 350
institutions of higher learning worldwide.
Our students are also actively engaged in sustainability efforts, working with university
administrators to run committees and organizations that spearhead their own green projects:
MACgreen, McMaster’s environmental club, introduced a one-month “carbon diet” in 2009
to “shed” 5,000 pounds of CO2.
Nipissing’s Flip-a-Cup program provides reusable mugs to faculty, staff and students
in the cafeteria that can be returned to several locations around campus.
> Campus Diversion Rates in 2008
EnviroWestern’s GROW (Growing Roots Over Western) grows and harvests food in a local
York’s Las Nubes Student Association promotes awareness of conservation, ecological and
social sustainability issues in Costa Rica where the Las Nubes Rainforest exists.
SUSTAINABILITY CONCEPTS INTEGRATED
INTO CURRICULUM AND RESEARCH
Our institutions educate students for the new eco-nomy. We offer a wide range of courses and
degrees in environmental or sustainability studies to prepare students for emerging jobs that
advance both environmental goals and the province’s knowledge economy. Campuses that are diverting 51%
or greater waste from landﬁlls
17 campuses offer an undergraduate major or specialist in environmental or sustainability
Campuses that are diverting
13 offer a direct-entry master’s program in environmental studies. 21% to 50% of waste from landﬁlls
7 offer a direct-entry doctoral program in environmental studies.
Unknown / not measurable
We are also leading the charge in green research. The majority of our campuses are home to
world-class research encompassing an array of vital areas: climate change and its health effects;
wind and solar energy; forest ecology and management; green products and bioenergy; ﬁsh
and wildlife conservation; waste disposal and treatment; renewable fuels and chemicals; new
technologies for biomass, petrochemical and pharmaceutical applications; plant and soil
studies; environmental policy, law and administration; and more.
Across the province, our universities have established successful research parks or incubator
centres with business to help transfer this important research into commercial products and
services that beneﬁt the environment and support job creation.
100% Energy Conservation 92% Water Conservation 71% Natural Habitat Protection
> Percent of Campuses with a
Management Plan, Standards
BUILDINGS AND GREEN SPACE
University buildings increasingly reﬂect the teaching and research conducted within their
walls. Existing buildings are being retroﬁtted, and these renovations adhere to new standards
of energy efﬁciency. New buildings must comply with more rigorous standards of sustainability,
and many of them are being designed and built to LEED standards. (LEED, which stands for
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally accepted benchmark for
the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.)
12 campuses have LEED certiﬁcation for some new buildings.
14 campuses have green roofs on buildings.
Brock’s Plaza Building, which houses academic ofﬁces, labs, a book store and a research
centre, is certiﬁed LEED Silver.
Lakehead’s Orillia campus is being constructed to LEED Platinum standards, the ﬁrst LEED
campus in Canada.
Laurentian’s Vale Inco Living with Lakes Centre is targeting a LEED Platinum designation.
The new Queen’s Centre for students has been designed to LEED standards.
Western’s Claudette MacKay-Lassonde Pavilion, a teaching and research facility, is the
university’s ﬁrst LEED-certiﬁed building.
Windsor’s Medical Education Building is certiﬁed LEED Gold.
As Ontario increasingly protects green space and ecologically sensitive areas – most notably,
the designated Greenbelt – so do our universities. Many campuses are engaged in “naturaliza-
tion” activities, from growing indigenous ﬂowers and plants to transitioning from maintained
space to natural, bio-diverse gardens and areas.
13 campuses have implemented habitat restoration programs, protected natural areas and
relinquished the use of both indoor and outdoor pesticides.
Guelph’s Arboretum, which consists of 165 hectares of green space on campus, is a vital
teaching and learning resource as well as a reserve for wildlife.
Ryerson’s new perennial garden areas reduce the heat-sink effect of the university’s buildings
in Toronto’s downtown core.
Trent boasts over 1,460 acres of green space and over 30 kilometres of walking trails.
Western’s Sherwood Fox Arboretum, which encompasses all trees and shrubs on campus,
plays an important role in public education and scientiﬁc research.
Most of our universities have taken steps to considerably reduce their energy consumption.
Most also employ district energy systems – which produce steam, hot water or chilled water
at a central plant and then pipe that energy out to individual buildings, reducing the need for
costly and energy-inefﬁcient infrastructure such as boilers.
All 22 campuses have lowered their energy consumption in a number of ways, from IT
initiatives to lighting improvements to heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades.
10 campuses have renewable energy installations, and 2 campuses purchase credits from
Bullfrog Power™. (When organizations or homes purchase credits, Bullfrog’s generators
inject renewable electricity into the local or regional grid to match the amount purchased.)
All of Algoma’s academic and ofﬁce spaces use energy-efﬁcient CFL (compact ﬂuorescent
lighting) or T8 lighting systems. (T8s provide high-light outputs and longer life. Switching
from traditional T12s to T8s can reduce energy costs by as much as 40%.)
Lakehead has reduced natural gas consumption campus-wide by 40% and electrical
consumption by 18%.
OCAD’s Bullfrog-powered Student Centre reduced its one-year emissions by 24.2 tons of
carbon dioxide, 71.6 kilograms of sulphur dioxide and 30.9 kilograms of nitrogen oxides.
Queen’s co-generation units provide steam heat and electricity at over 80% efﬁciency to the
campus and three local hospitals.
Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management, using the Deep Lake Water Cooling System,
diverts water from Lake Ontario to cool its buildings before it is treated and used for drinking
Toronto replaced 17 chillers and retroﬁtted 86,000 lamps with T8 lights, and reduced energy
consumption by 12 gigawatts and greenhouse gas emissions by 3,100 tons.
Ontario is fortunate to have access to one of the largest fresh water supplies in the world,
and our universities are committed to research that will manage this precious resource more
19 campuses have implemented one or more water conservation strategies.
18 campuses have implemented a rain or storm water management technique.
Many of our campuses use low-ﬂow and water-saving plumbing ﬁxtures, motion sensors for
taps and rain water for irrigation.
McMaster’s David Braley Athletic Centre uses a rain water collection system as part of its grey
water system for the building. (Grey water is waste water generated from general activities
such as dish washing, laundry and bathing that is reused.)
UOIT uses detention pools, cisterns and bioswales to manage rain water and storm water.
Ottawa’s new aerated faucets and waterless urinals have reduced water consumption
by 13.3 million litres in one year.
Toronto (Mississauga campus) designated its Student Centre “Water Bottle Free.”
Trent decreased its use of potable water (safe water to drink) by over 20% in 2008.
Waterloo uses high-efﬁciency water softening systems to minimize chemical consumption
and water use.
RECYCLING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
Many of our institutions have already expanded traditional recycling programs to include
> Percent of Campuses Collecting batteries, printer cartridges and other forms of waste (such as construction and demolition
Various Items for Recycling waste). We also run campus-wide awareness campaigns and lead environmental initiatives
various ite – from offering reusable cloth bags at campus stores to promoting green behaviour.
ms for recycling
100% Corrugated cardboard
21 campuses have implemented one or more strategies to minimize or recycle solid waste.
18 campuses measure their diversion rates (which is the percentage of waste materials
95% Equipment and parts diverted from landﬁlls or incineration to be recycled, composted or re-used).
Bottles, cans and jars
Paper Examples of innovative activities:
Brock practices organic recycling in kitchens, food preparation areas and planning halls.
Carleton diverted 16 tons of electronic waste in 2008.
Landscape trimmings Guelph reclaims kitchen oils and grease for biodiesel production.
Laurentian composts and mulches its landscaping waste.
82% Grease and frying oils
Lighting materials McMaster is retroﬁtting water fountains to accommodate reusable water bottles.
Queen’s annually diverts 25 tons of interior furnishings from landﬁlls by making these
77% Construction waste furnishings available to members of the Kingston community.
68% Motor oils
Toronto operates a swap shop for such articles as furniture, electronics, books and clothing.
Scrap wood Wilfrid Laurier used composting to divert 68% of its food waste in 2008.
PURCHASING AND PROCUREMENT
The majority of our campuses have implemented strategies for sustainable purchasing and
procurement that include a focus on buying products that are local, environmentally friendly
and energy efﬁcient. This, in turn, can have a ripple effect by providing an incentive to suppliers
to go green or greener.
20 campuses have implemented at least one sustainable food strategy, including 18 that
support vegan and Fair Trade food options.
15 campuses have a strategy in place to serve local food where possible.
19 campuses have green cleaning programs; many specify that products must be veriﬁed
by independent third parties such as Green Seal and Environmental Choice.
Algoma has banned the use of Styrofoam coffee cups and paper plates in its cafeteria.
Nipissing’s bidding process for vendors now includes criteria for reduced packaging.
32% Coffee cup UOIT purchases toilet paper that is made of 100% recycled content.
Windsor purchases appliances and computers that conform to Energy Star standards
58% Food scraps
TRANSPORTATION AND FLEET
Ontario universities are also driving green initiatives, from offering discounted transit passes
and bike-share programs to purchasing hybrid and electric campus vehicles.
18 campuses offer free or discounted transit passes to students.
13 campuses have campus-wide car or van-pooling programs.
Carleton and Ottawa share a shuttle between the two universities that is free for all students For our work in advancing
and faculty. environmental sustainability—
Toronto (Scarborough campus) offers preferred parking spots for low-emission vehicles.
from energy conservation to
York partnered with local transit agencies to increase the number of buses servicing the
campus, from 575 in 1999 to 1,700 in 2008. recycling to green construction
— our universities are receiving
recognition and winning awards
PARTNERSHIPS AND OTHER INITIATIVES
locally, provincially, nationally
Our institutions believe that even more can be achieved, so wherever possible, we work
closely with local organizations, governments and businesses to help reduce our collective and indeed internationally.
19 campuses have established partnerships with community stakeholders to promote
Guelph, OCAD and York work with Zerofootprint to calculate, track and reduce their carbon
UOIT partners with organizations such as General Motors of Canada, Ontario Power
Generation and Atomic Energy of Canada to drive greentech research and innovation.
Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier are members of the Waterloo Region Partners for Clean Air.
>> Ontario universities are aware of the challenges that face both the
province and the world at large, from climate change to the degradation of
natural environments, and we are deeply committed to ﬁnding solutions
to these challenges. We are proud of our individual and collective initia-
tives to advance environmental sustainability, but recognize that there
is still much more to do. We will continue to strengthen our policies and
engage in best practices in all areas of sustainability and promote these
practices across our campuses. Together, with our students, faculty and
staff, we will continue to strive for a cleaner, greener tomorrow.
Visit www.cou.on.ca for a PDF of
this summary and the full report of
Ontario Universities: Going Greener
Institutions that Participated in
the Survey of Green Initiatives
at Ontario Universities:
University of Guelph
Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)
University of Ottawa
University of Toronto – St. George
University of Toronto – Mississauga
University of Toronto – Scarborough
University of Waterloo
University of Western Ontario
Wilfrid Laurier University
University of Windsor
Prepared November 2009 by:
Council of Ontario Universities
Conseil des universités de l’Ontario
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1100
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8
COU No. 821