Carleton University released a new five-year sustainability plan today, setting ambitious targets for emissions reduction, water consumption and waste on campus, while increasing sustainability research, teaching and community engagement.

The Strive for Sustainability goals are a key part of the university’s Strategic Integrated Plan released in late September.

“As the world faces increasing environmental challenges, the university has a key role to play at the nexus for sustainability research, education, and leadership,” said President Benoit-Antoine Bacon. “It is our responsibility to explicitly and strategically integrate sustainability into everything we do, and to lead the way towards impactful solutions locally and globally.”

Carleton is among the most sustainable universities in the world. It has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 35 per cent and ranks as the second most sustainable university in Canada. In 2019, the university was honoured with the Emerging Excellence Award from Carbon 613, Ottawa’s Sustainable Business Network.

“Our previous sustainability plan was very much facilities-based.” said Philip Mansfield,  sustainability program manager in Facilities Management and Planning. “It was built around recycling, waste and energy. We wanted to make the new plan broader and more holistic, and we sought feedback from the community to do that.”

“Our community doesn’t only want to know what we are doing to reduce energy consumption. They want to know the overall impact and how we are collaborating with the wider community.”

Some of the plan’s specific goals include:

  • Achieve a Gold STARS rating by 2021.
  • Expose all students graduating from Carleton to sustainability principles through their degree programs or wider initiatives.
  • Achieve a 50 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 2030, 100 per cent by 2050 (based on a 2005 baseline).
  • Increase the number of renewable or alternative energy projects on campus.
  • Maintain a minimum 4 Green Globe rating (or equivalent external third-party sustainable certification) for all new builds or major renovations.
  • Achieve a zero-waste campus (over 90 per cent diversion rate).
  • Achieve a zero construction waste campus (over 90 per cent diversion).
  • Increase the number of university-owned electric vehicles.

For the last decade, Carleton’s campus has been a kind of living lab, where researchers have collaborated with building staff to develop more efficient ways of managing large buildings. Civil engineers and architects have worked with systems and computer engineers to gain insight into how buildings are actually being used – and how they can be managed more efficiently.

The products used by the university also contribute to its overall environmental impact, and the new plan aims to make purchasing greener by buying more local and sustainably-sourced food, and growing the university’s fleet of electric vehicles.

Media Contact
Brenna Mackay
Communications Co-ordinator
Department of University Communications
Carleton University

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