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UWindsor Launches Several Sustainability Priorities

Saturday April 22nd, 2023, 2:57pm


The University of Windsor has been working on various initiatives prioritizing environmental responsibility and social equity for a more sustainable future.

The Campus Carbon Neutral Master Plan is currently under development with the goal of transforming the university into a carbon-neutral campus by 2050, with a 45% reduction by 2030. It has already completed various 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. The full plan should be ready by the end of this year.

Work is underway to replace the steam-driven chiller at the university’s Energy Conversion Centre on Patricia Street 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 annually.

“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 into electricity through an anaerobic and biogas process and fed back into the power grid or into biogas to fuel trucks. The remaining residual compost will be returned to the ground.

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.

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