Saluting sustainability successes

- May 15, 2015

From Ecolympics to campus energy, it was another busy year for the Office of Sustainability.
From Ecolympics to campus energy, it was another busy year for the Office of Sustainability.

If sustainability is a journey, Dal’s Office of Sustainability is still making strides, year after year.

The office — which works to incorporate sustainability concepts and criteria into university policy and planning, building and retrofit projects, and ongoing operations — hosted its sixth-annual year-end celebration last month, inviting members of the Dal community to learn about progress over the past year.

In attendance were faculty, staff and students from across the university, from Facilities Management to the College of Sustainability. Director of Sustainability Rochelle Owen led a talk through the progress and innovations Dal has made this year.

The first order of business was a matter of national recognition: earlier this year, STARS (which stands for Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) awarded Dalhousie a gold ranking this year, up from the silver Dal received in 2011. The elements that contributed to that upgrade included the new use of mini-trucks around campus, the academic course simply called “Bike,” Dal’s TREEHouse AC, and the biomass replacement initiative, among many others.

Collaborations across campus

The next matter of discussion was transportation. Focus on transportation and sustainability this year included a cycling symposium, bike corral implementation, and continued use of the Campus Bike Centre. The Employee Bus Pass initiative also continued this year, with an increase in participation.

Other topics included sustainable food — this year, Dalhousie, through Aramark, became the second university in Canada to receive MSC certification for fish in its dining halls and launched a new partnership with local fishermen through Off The Hook.

The office’s work simply isn’t possible without Dal students. Over the past year, over 60 students have worked with the Office of Sustainability in some capacity. Many are volunteers, who help with initiatives such as the parking lot and bus shelter studies or the bike centre, while others are part-time employees.

Often, though, great sustainability ideas come from outside of the office. Jess Topple, a postgrad in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science, was awarded this year’s “Brightest Idea” award for suggesting vestibule doors in the Dunn lobby to keep warm air inside while preventing colder air from making its way into the building’s interior.

Ecolympic ran for another successful year with a number of events and activities. For the first time, all residences reduced their electricity use during the competition. Electricity reduction winners were: Trueman House (AC residence), Risley Hall (medium to large residence), and Lyall House (mini-rez). Water reduction winners were: Gerard Hall (medium to large residence) and a tie between 1400 Henry St. and Colpit House (mini-rez). The overall Halifax Ecolympics winner for water and electricity reduction was Howe Hall.  

For more on the Office of Sustainability’s ongoing projects, visit its website.


All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus