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UOIT tops international list for commitment to energy sustainability

University a North American post-secondary leader on energy and water management

Stormwater pond at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's north Oshawa location.
Stormwater pond at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology's north Oshawa location.

Long-established as a leader in environmental sustainability, conservation and green community-building, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) has earned the top ranking for energy sustainability in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index (SCI) as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

The SCI is a publication of the Philadelphia-based Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). The index recognizes top-performing North American universities and colleges in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability for the year ending July 1, 2016.

The Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability (OCIS) drives the university’s diverse efforts to be innovative as a future-driven institution.

Energy sustainability

The university is home to Canada's largest geothermal system (and the second largest in North America), a 1,500-ton Borehole Thermal Energy Storage System (BTESS) that sits hidden beneath the 7,500-square-metre quad at the centre of the complex. The installation is made up of more than 370 bore holes (180 metres deep), which are used to heat and cool the campus buildings. Water circulates through the underground network (150 kilometres of polypropylene piping). In the winter, the geothermal system takes heat from the earth and carries it to the buildings. In the summer, the same system removes heat from the buildings and disperses it into the ground. The innovative system links each building to a central heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) plant.

Water management sustainability

The university uses a 'greywater' collection and management system to enhance its water conservation efforts. The university knows that water is precious, which is why it looks for ways to use water smartly. It recycles the 180,000 litres of water used daily in its Aquatic Toxicology laboratory into ‘greywater’ that flushes toilets and urinals on campus. This system saves 32 million litres of water every year.

As well, to manage runoff at the university’s north Oshawa campus location, stormwater is directed to ponds, bioswales and storm ponds in a manner that demonstrates sustainable stormwater design while enriching the campus landscape.

Quotes

“This award demonstrates that our university truly lives its vision of innovation. This is just the beginning. We aim to cement our leadership status by continually embedding sustainable practices into our academic and operational processes.”Melissa Mirowski, Asset and Sustainability Planner, Office of Campus Infrastructure and Sustainability, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
“The institutions and initiatives featured in this year’s Sustainable Campus Index showcase the great work that higher education institutions are doing to lead the global sustainability transformation. I hope the contents of this report will inspire students, administrators, faculty and staff at colleges and universities to work together to implement innovative solutions to the challenges that we face today.”Meghan Fay Zahniser, AASHE Executive Director

Quick facts

About STARS

STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance developed by AASHE. With nearly 800 participating institutions, STARS is the leading tool for measuring higher education sustainability performance. 124 reports were submitted in the most recent calendar year, resulting in an 11 percent increase over the previous year and a third consecutive year of growth. All reports are publicly accessible on the STARS website (stars.aashe.org).

About AASHE

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world's future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit aashe.org. Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.


Media contact
Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)
905.721.8668 ext. 6709
bryan.oliver@uoit.ca

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