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'Going Greener' highlights sustainability initiatives

Ontario’s university campuses are shrinking their environmental footprint by conserving energy, reducing waste and recycling, and students are driving the agenda, according to the fourth annual Going Greener report launched by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU).

“Queen’s is proud of our many green initiatives and is making continual progress towards greater sustainability,” says Aaron Ball, Queen’s Sustainability Manager. “The COU’s Going Greener report is an excellent way to showcase the environmental commitment of universities across the province.”

Queen’s University has undertaken a number of initiatives with the goal of becoming a more sustainable campus and is developing a Climate Action Plan with ambitious targets to reduce and eliminate green house gas emissions.

Among the many other initiatives are a pilot solar energy project, a bottled water ban across campus, a green office certification program to establish environmental friendly practices, an audit of lighting across campus, and a demand management program that will reduce energy usage by cooling systems during peak periods.

The Going Greener report, which highlights environmental initiatives of Ontario’s universities, was launched June 11 in Toronto. Overall, the report concludes that Ontario universities made significant progress on environmental sustainability in 2012, despite the challenges of budgetary restraints.

Highlights include:

  • Two-thirds of campuses in Ontario now have staff dedicated to environmental sustainability
  • The majority of Ontario campuses measure emissions and energy consumption
  • 86 per cent of campuses offer free or discounted transit passes
  • More than 85 per cent of campuses have installed low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets
  • Local foods are available at the majority of campuses

Queen’s and universities across Ontario signed a sustainability pledge - called Ontario Universities: Committed to a Greener World - in 2009, committing them to environmental sustainability, with measurable outcomes and mandatory reporting.

Read more about the Going Greener Report.