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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
the province.
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 (
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.

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
  community garden.
 York’s Las Nubes Student Association promotes awareness of conservation, ecological and
  social sustainability issues in Costa Rica where the Las Nubes Rainforest exists.

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
   and/or Policies

                                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.
       91% Batteries
           Non-construction metal
                                       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.
               18% Polystyrene
                                       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.
               Hand towels
                                       Windsor purchases appliances and computers that conform to Energy Star standards
                                        or equivalent.
         58% Food scraps
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
                                                                                                   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.
carbon footprint.
 19 campuses have established partnerships with community stakeholders to promote
  environmental sustainability.
 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 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:
                                       Algoma University
                                       Brock University
                                       Carleton University
                                       University of Guelph
                                       Lakehead University
                                       Laurentian University
                                       McMaster University
                                       Nipissing University
                                       Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
                                       University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)
                                       University of Ottawa
                                       Queen’s University
                                       Ryerson University
                                       University of Toronto – St. George
                                       University of Toronto – Mississauga
                                       University of Toronto – Scarborough
                                       Trent University
                                       University of Waterloo
                                       University of Western Ontario
                                       Wilfrid Laurier University
                                       University of Windsor
                                       York University
Prepared November 2009 by:
Council of Ontario Universities
Conseil des universités de l’Ontario
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1100
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8
Tel: 416.979.2165
Fax: 416.979.8635

ISBN: 0-88799-439-3
COU No. 821

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