(Windsor, Ont., Thursday, April 20, 2023) — The University of Windsor has implemented a range of initiatives that prioritize environmental responsibility and social equity, taking bold steps to pave the way for a more sustainable future.
Expected to be completed by the end of 2023, the Campus Carbon Neutral Master Plan strives to transform the university into a carbon-neutral campus by 2050, with a 45 per cent reduction by 2030. It has already completed a variety of carbon reduction projects including LED lighting retrofits and insulation, roof, building automation system and HVAC upgrades. These updates alone have totalled more than 1,500 tonnes in annual savings.
Within the walls of the university’s Energy Conversion Centre on Patricia Street, work is underway to replace the steam-driven chiller with an efficient, dual-electric model. Once operational, it is expected to reduce the equivalent of 8,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and an estimated operating budget savings of $1.3 million per year.
“The positive environmental impact of this new chiller cannot be overstated,” said Nadia Harduar, the University of Windsor’s first-ever sustainability officer, adding that this critical piece of equipment is used to cool buildings across campus.
“To put things into perspective, that annual C02 reduction is equivalent to emissions from 2,400 return flights from Detroit to Tokyo.”
Also new this spring is the Zero Waste to Landfill six-month pilot project which will see organic waste collection in all campus kitchens and select public areas. In partnership with Davidson Environmental, Harduar said the collected organic matter will be converted through an anaerobic and biogas process into electricity and will be fed back into the power grid or into biogas to fuel trucks. The remaining residual compost will be returned to the ground.
Environmental research is also critical to the university’s sustainability goals. One of the many ongoing projects is The Amherstburg Piroli Map & Grow initiative. Researchers from the Faculty of Science have partnered with the Town of Amherstburg and the Piroli Group to help increase the municipality’s tree canopy and offset the negative impacts of climate change. Starting at 9 am on Saturday, April 22, 2023, participants can pick up one free sapling of their choice with the agreement that university researchers can visit the resident’s home to map the tree and monitor its growth.
In addition to creating a greener campus, work has begun to install 20 electric vehicle charging stations at the Toldo Lancer Centre, Faculty of Education, Assumption Hall, Centre for Engineering Innovation and the Wyandotte Street parking structure this year.
University of Windsor President Robert Gordon said sustainability is one of the key components of the university’s new strategic plan, Aspire: Together for Tomorrow. To help support this priority, the university has created a campus sustainability steering committee to provide oversight, expertise and guidance for all projects and related activities.
“As a university we have a responsibility to lead by example and educate ourselves on how we can make real changes within our own communities through sustainability practices aimed at leaving a healthy world for future generations,” Dr. Gordon said.
To learn more about the university’s ongoing efforts, visit the campus sustainability website.
Acting Executive Director, Public Affairs and Communications
University of Windsor
519-253-3000 ext. 4046