Memorial University President Dr. Christopher Loomis (pro tempore) signed a declaration further committing the institution to a greener climate on campus Oct. 6.
The Sustainability Declaration, an overarching statement intended to define Memorial’s commitment to sustainable principles, was signed by Dr. Loomis and other senior officials at 1 p.m. at The Landing on the third floor of the University Centre.
The document signing coincided with the completion of the construction phase of the Honeywell International Energy and Facility Renewal Program contract. The program consists of infrastructure upgrades that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 15 per cent per year and generate significant savings for the university.
"The sustainability declaration commits Memorial to minimizing its adverse environmental impact while supporting the realistic needs of those who work and study here,” Dr. Loomis said. “We are going to do this by examining the way we operate, and by developing a comprehensive and collaborative action plan with outcomes we can measure. We want to integrate sustainable policies and systems into our operations, to encourage academic curriculum, research and outreach on sustainability and to create sustainable working and living environments across all of our campuses.”
“Congratulations to the staff, faculty and students of Memorial University for their continuing commitment to a greener, more sustainable institution,” said Charlene Johnson, minister of Environment and Conservation. “Today’s signing allows Memorial to continue working diligently to reduce the adverse impacts on climate change and the environment overall while building a better environment and a brighter future.”
To mark the occasion, Dr. Loomis was joined by Luis Rodrigues, vice-president of energy solutions for Honeywell Building Solutions and Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, who attended today’s function on behalf of Minister Johnson. The declaration — in the form of a large banner -- was filled in by dozens of signatures as students were invited to sign the declaration as well. The declaration will next travel west to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College for additional signatures and to the Marine Institute in St. John’s.
“The energy savings and emissions reduction tied to the facility improvements we implemented will provide a solid foundation for other sustainability initiatives,” Mr. Rodrigues said. “We applaud the university’s dedication to creating a greener, cleaner planet. And we look forward to helping university officials meet their commitment.”
Memorial is financing the facility renewal program from the energy and operational savings the improvements will generate. Honeywell guarantees those savings — projected to be approximately $1.5 million per year over the next 14 years — under a performance contract with the university. This ensures the program will be self-funded and will not place a burden on the university’s budgets.
The program focused on the central heating and cooling plant, and seven buildings on the university’s 250-acre campus. Specifically, Honeywell installed new high efficiency controls and burners on three boilers in the central plant, which will allow the facilities staff to respond to load changes caused by weather or equipment malfunctions more efficiently.
The university also installed Honeywell Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI) — a facility management platform that helps lower energy and operating costs — for the seven other buildings. The installation includes an enhanced metering solution to accurately track where energy is being consumed on campus, making easier for the university to evaluate conservation strategies and identify additional efficiency measures.
The improvements are expected to reduce annual electricity and heating oil use by more than 22.9 million equivalent kilowatt-hours, enough energy to power approximately 2,300 homes per year. In addition, it will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 15 per cent or 7,300 tonnes per year. According to Environment Canada, this is equivalent to removing 1,150 cars from the road.
Kent Decker, Memorial’s vice-president (administration and finance) said at the event that the Sustainability Declaration is a tangible statement that Memorial University is devoted to an eco-conscious culture in the execution of all facets of the university – whether it be paper reduction, restricted use of bottled water or idle-free zones across the university.
As well as the signing, exhibitors from more than 20 companies and organizations dedicated to sustainable living took part in the event. Displays featuring energy reduction tips and government rebates were on hand, prizes such as home energy efficiency kits and power cost monitors were up for grabs, bikes were repaired and ballots were filled in to win a new bike.
The full declaration is available online at www.mun.ca/sustain/sustainability_office/Sustainability_Declaration.