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UNB taking strides in green initiatives

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Feb 20, 2018

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The University of New Brunswick showcases its efforts to make its campuses even more environmentally friendly with the third annual The Green Review by UNB Sustainability.

The publication highlights initiatives, projects, practices and research that departments and faculties are implementing across UNB’s Fredericton and Saint John campuses as well as surrounding communities to reduce their ecological footprints.

The Green Review is a wonderful way for UNB to showcase the diversity of the sustainable initiatives that are contributing to making a world of difference at UNB and in our communities. Everyone was eager to share their sustainability story. Hopefully, The Green Review will inspire our students, staff, and faculty to increase their own personal commitment to sustainability,” says Barbara Nicholson, UNB’s associate vice-president of capital planning and property development.

The Green Review focuses on areas where UNB is taking action to help the planet, featuring information on food waste and sustainability, education, reducing your ecological footprint and how the community can make a difference with small changes to their daily lives.

UNB has been working on green initiatives since 1997 when it implemented an energy management program on the Fredericton campus. Since that time, UNB has saved $15.7 million with $1.9 million being saved last year alone.

“Early on, we were making moves toward a greener campus by adding gardens, recycling and adding low-flow toilets and urinals. But by 2012, we began looking more into sustainable projects and tracking the effectiveness of the projects as well as focusing on what projects would produce the best results,” says Kevin Simpson, director of facilities management at the Saint John campus.

As one of the initiatives to decrease energy usage, UNB’s Saint John campus participated in an energy efficiency audit of buildings and where improvements could be made. Seventeen out of 20 buildings on the campus have had the audit completed.

The audits reveal areas, that if improved, will provide a return to the university over an eight-year period. UNB is also registering the buildings under NB Power’s Commercial Building Retrofit Program, which provides incentives for improvements made to the buildings.

This year, six buildings on the Fredericton campus have been retrofitted with LED light bulbs replacing their inefficient counterparts. Accompanying the changes, automatic sensors have been installed in low-traffic areas to shut off lights when they are not necessary. Saint John has already swapped 55 per cent of its interior lighting to LED, and all of its exterior lighting.

And all of this is just a beginning, says Jill Pelkey, acting sustainability coordinator with UNB Sustainability.

“We are in the process of creating a Climate Change Action Plan and an Institutional Sustainability Plan that will help guide the university’s path forward. The first installment of the Climate Change Action Plan will be a five-year plan, between 2019 and 2024, which will allow the university to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions even further,” says Ms. Pelkey.

In 2007, UNB set emission reduction goals that were in line with the province’s Climate Change Action Plan. But by creating its own action plan, the university is striving further.

“Through the development of UNB’s Climate Change Action Plan, the institution will set higher reaching goals in aims to achieve or exceed the newest targets established by our governments while reducing our emissions and operating more sustainably. Collaborations and alignment on climate action within our province is crucial for combatting this very serious issue,” says UNB President Dr. Eddy Campbell.

Media contact: Cody Peters