Investments in energy-saving initiatives are paying off for the university and the planet, as Western has cut its carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by almost 12% per cent over the past four years.
Since quantifying Western’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for year 2009, the campus has continued to grow. The development of new buildings across campus means mitigating greenhouse gas emissions is increasingly difficult. However, new buildings are being designed with energy efficiency in mind, which represents significant benefits for the environment and for Western’s operation costs.
The success is also a result of energy efficiency and conservation projects, such as the installation of insulation on steam and condensate systems to prevent heat losses, the installation of energy-efficient equipment, a hot water conservation program, control upgrades and a steam trap audit and replacement program.
Between 1999 and 2009, Western’s GHG emissions increased by 20% due to an expanding campus. Without any significant action, that figure was projected to continue growing. However, due to a large number of measures, this has not been the case. Western has avoided almost 31,000 tonnes of carbon emissions going into the atmosphere in just four years. The avoided emissions are equivalent to removing 6,078 cars from the roads or planting 27 million trees.
“The 31,000 tonnes of carbon emissions Western has avoided might not sound like much on a global scale, but they show without a doubt that Western is truly committed to the global fight to mitigate climate change," commented Mary Quintana, Western's energy and water projects compliance coordinator. "If more organizations worldwide were to achieve results like Western’s, we would be on track for reaching the UN’s objectives for limiting global temperature rise.”
Everyone at Western can continue contributing to reducing the University's footprint by:
- Using less energy (turn off the lights, unplug unused electronics, set computers to energy saver mode, etc.)
- Recycling, composting and reducing waste production
- Driving less or walking/cycling more
- Minimizing air travel
- Choosing environmentally friendly products (high efficiency lighting, FSC certified paper, etc.)