UWinnipeg achieves significant GHG reduction

summer scene of Wesley Hall

summer scene of Wesley Hall – staff photo

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg today announced that UWinnipeg has reduced greenhouse gas emissions to 30% below 1990 levels, due in large part to a significant reduction in the last year alone.

The drop in GHG emissions is particularly significant as reduction results are taking place within the context of a major campus expansion which has added 38% to UWinnipeg’s space since 1990.

UWinnipeg surpassed its GHG emission reduction target primarily through a comprehensive energy retrofit, installation of a hybrid heating system and the development of a comprehensive building controls system that allows for smart building operations.  The construction of high performance buildings that target a minimum LEED Silver Certification ensured that the impacts of campus growth were minimized.

“The UWinnipeg community has worked hard to develop practices that make us an international sustainability leader, which we know is critically important to all of our health and well-being,” said Dr. Annette Trimbee, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “Our campus is a model of how we can work at the local level to combat climate change by taking realistic and measurable actions.”

UWinnipeg is poised to go further. The University is currently working on the next sustainability strategy, which will take the University to a  new level. Our new target is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 50% below 1990 levels by 2020 with the ultimate plan to be carbon neutral. These targets position UWinnipeg as a leader in implementing the Paris Pledge.

“I find tremendous hope in UWinnipeg’s achievement.  It demonstrates that strong targets, strong accountability mechanisms, and innovative approaches to building management can deliver significant results,” said Alana Lajoie-O’Malley, Director, Campus Sustainability Office.   “We know from our experience that there is tremendous opportunity for old buildings in Manitoba to achieve very significant greenhouse gas emission reductions using existing technologies”.

UWinnipeg has installed “energy dashboards” across campus to create environmental awareness by showing real-time building efficiency and consumption information, sustainability initiatives on campus, environmental tips and more. This data help identify peaks in energy consumption and pinpoint when a building is not operating at optimum efficiency.

UWinnipeg has made significant strides in incorporating sustainability into its governance structures. It created a Vice-President (Human Resources, Audit & Sustainability) and a Director of Campus Sustainability, who provide leadership for ongoing improvements in sustainability governance and action. The University also supports academic research related to climate change through the Richardson College for the Environment and the Prairie Climate Centre.

Electric boiler helps save energy - staff photo

Electric boiler helps save energy – staff photo

Sustainability initiatives on UWinnipeg campus

  • $2 million energy retrofit to main campus buildings to reduce GHG emissions. Installed a hybrid heating system to replace higher-emitting natural gas with lower-emitting hydro electricity during off-peak times.
  • Our new energy management systems enables us to implement smart scheduling to ensure that we only direct as much energy to areas as required.
  • First cosmetic pesticide-free campus in Manitoba (2013).
  • Partnered with the Forks Renewal Corporation in fall 2011 to send all campus food scraps, containers and cutlery to the Forks to be turned into compost for landscaping, allowing for a neighbourhood-level solution to waste management.
  • Completed major water retrofit project so all bathrooms on campus will have low-flow toilets and sinks (2013).
  • Opened the UWSA Bike Lab to promote active and sustainable transit options for students, staff and the surrounding community. The Bike Lab offers free year-round programming including bike maintenance and safety workshops.
  • Introduced phosphate-free detergents and environmentally friendly cleaning products for use on campus.
  • Became the first University in Canada to ban the sale of bottled water, an initiative led by students that spread quickly across the country.
  • Introduced double-sided printing as default on all copiers and printers on campus.
  • New construction projects are built to LEED Silver standards or better.  Both McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence and The University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Daycare Centre joined an elite group of eco-friendly buildings in Manitoba by achieving LEED Silver status (November 2011) and the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex achieved LEED Gold in 2015.
  • Established Diversity Foods as the main campus food service provider, a social enterprise sourcing a significant amount of its food from local producers and using compostable cutlery, cups and to-go containers.

UWinnipeg’s sustainability initiatives have been supported by Manitoba’s Council on Post-Secondary Education (COPSE), Manitoba Climate Investment Pilot Program, Manitoba Housing, the federal government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), and numerous private donors.

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MEDIA CONTACT

Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca

3 Comments

  • Michelle Owen said...

    Great initiatives, but why is the bike lab closed? Why isn’t there a sign on it explaining when it will reopen?

    • Communications said...

      The UWSA bike lab is presently closed while we plan for and begin to make the needed facility adjustments and programming preparations in order to re-open in its new location adjacent to Wesley Hall at a date TBA this summer. The UWSA will post updates on http://theuwsa.ca/uwsa-bike-lab and its Facebook page as this process continues.

  • Bill Elliott said...

    Annette et al.

    Congratulations on your inspiring achievement! You’ve set a great example for FortWhyte Alive’s pending upgrades and expansion. Love the energy dashboard idea.

    Bill