November 8, 2021A new report from a Berlin-based think tank ranks Canada’s per-capita carbon emissions among the highest in the world. This is not the record we want to be setting. We need to get serious about reducing emissions, in a big way, now. Canada needs leadership and colleges and institutes are stepping up. At more than 670 locations, we pledge to achieve net-zero emissions on campus by 2050!
With the largest post-secondary footprint in the country, our collective engagement goes a long way. Zero emissions on campus is an ambitious goal, but not out of reach. In fact, many examples of net-zero and LEED-certified campus facilities, learning environments, and research centres already exist!
- At BCIT, the Zero Energy Buildings Learning Centre and High-Performance Building Lab is the go-to resource for the local construction industry. It was created to support the transition to British Columbia’s new energy codes and Vancouver emissions bylaws.
- At Okanagan College, the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence is LEED-Platinum certified. It also boasts the largest photovoltaic solar array on a non-utility institutional building in Canada.
- The Joyce Centre for Partnership and Innovation at Mohawk College features a high-performance building envelope that minimizes heating and cooling demand, an all-electric geo-exchange system, and a rooftop photovoltaic system.
- In 2018, it was the first building in Canada to achieve Zero-Carbon Building certification in both Design and Performance categories from the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)!
- At Humber College, Building NX is the first existing building retrofit in Canada to achieve the CaGBC’s Zero-Carbon Building Design certification.
- The Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation is also net-zero. It features thermal chimneys to passively heat and cool itself, a high-performance roofing system, and 1,832 400-W solar panels on the adjacent parking structure.
- At Centennial College, the country’s first zero-carbon, mass timber higher-education building is set to open in 2023. The building design is also based on the concept of “two-eyed seeing” and brings together Indigenous and Western cultures in both the form and function.
- Red River College Polytechnic is on track to open a new Innovation Centre with a near net-zero footprint. Among the energy efficient technologies featured in the design: power-over-ethernet (POE) lighting, Smart long-short-instantaneous (LSI) breakers, and building-integrated photovoltaics.
- “TheConfluence” at SAIT is an environmentally-friendly home that produces more energy than it uses, captures water on site, and incorporates biophilic design, a design that connects humans and nature through the architecture and landscape!
- 19 SAIT students and five graduates gained experience sourcing sustainably-certified wood, researching non-toxic cleaning products, and creating architectural renderings during its construction.
- In April, the Institut du véhicule innovant (Innovative vehicle institute) at Cégep de Saint-Jérôme broke ground on a new facility that better reflects its values of sustainability and innovation.
- From architecture to building materials, everything about the building is designed for energy efficiency and to continue developing low-carbon solutions for the transport sector!
These buildings practice what they preach, quite literally. They are real examples of energy efficiency. And, they give students the opportunity to learn skills in real environments and practice their skills with real technologies on the leading edge of sustainable design.
- Know another net-zero campus building not listed here? Be vocal! Share your examples and our pledge on social media using the hashtag #ClimateAction.
As a country, we are heading in the net-zero direction. As a sector, we are standing out. We are future-proofing industries, skills, learners, and the economy; and there is no future without net-zero.