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Climate Action

Students just like you have been at the forefront of the climate action conversation over the past several years. People such as Greta Thunberg and Canadian youth lead initiatives such as Climate Strike Canada have proven that climate change is an issue that this generation understands as a real threat to our collective future.

It is important to understand that what we do as campuses and individually can and does impact the world around us. Internationally, researchers are beginning to understand the real-world implications of climate change and we as an institution need to make sure we are doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint and avoid a more than 1.5-degree global temperature rise.

In 2016 the United Nations officially released the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these goals are universal calls to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

One of the seventeen goals is Climate Action, which was in response to the drastic climate change that was happening across the globe. We recognize the devastating impacts that Climate Change is and will have internationally which is why Goal #1 on our Sustainability Action Plan speaks to how we want to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through creating a carbon reduction roadmap.

Carbon Reduction 

Climate Change is caused by the increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in the atmosphere. As such, we track our GHG emissions by participating in the Waterloo Regional Sustainability Initiative (WRSI), a voluntary program of the local non-profit Sustainable Waterloo Region (SWR). Laurier became a Bronze Pledging Partner of the WRSI in 2012 by setting a public GHG reduction target of 25% below a 2009 baseline year (intensity-based target GHG/f2). At the end of 2016, we exceeded our target by achieving a 34.8% GHG reduction (tonnes of CO2 equivalent / square footage).

As a Bronze Pledging Partner of the WRSI, Laurier publicly reports its annual emissions from the following sources:

  • Natural gas combustion (related to heating our buildings and water)
  • fleet fuel combustion
  • electricity consumption (related to lighting, electrical equipment loads, heating and cooling of campus buildings)
  • air travel
  • waste
  • water

In recent years, following the construction of Lazaridis Hall and a subsequent increase in our building square footage, we’ve seen a rise in our GHG emissions. Therefore, in 2019, we renewed our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint by setting a new pledge with WRSI in 2018 to commit to reducing our emissions by 25% between the years of 2018-2028. Ultimately, our goal is to achieve net-zero on all our campuses by 2050.

To achieve these ambitious goals, Laurier is developing a Carbon Reduction Roadmap and an Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan. These documents will outline our strategy for achieving the significant emissions reductions that are needed in order to meet our goals. The documents will be published during the fall semester of 2019.

Campus Buildings

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

As we continue to grow and develop, we are actively working to create the best spaces for you to work, study and learn in. One of the ways in which we do this is by working to certify campus buildings according to LEED standards.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a third-party, green certification system that encourages innovative strategies that minimize the quantity of resources and materials used during new construction and conserves energy and other resources needed during ongoing operation. 

We currently have two certified LEED buildings, the Research and Academic Centre (RAC) in Brantford (LEED Silver) and Lazaridis Hall in Waterloo (LEED Gold).

Some of the highlights of these building are:

  • In Brantford’s Research and Academic Centre (RAC):
    • Low-flow water filters
    • High-efficiency glass
    • No-irrigation vegetation
    • Natural daylighting with super energy-efficient light fixtures
    • Bike storage
    • Elimination of refrigerant coolant HCFC’s
    • Solar reflecting roof
    • Construction waste diversion
  • In Waterloo’s Lazaridis Hall:
    • Rooftop solar panels
    • Green roof with grasses and shrubs to absorb excess stormwater and provide insulation
    • Greywater system that collects and filters rainwater for use in toilets and landscaping
    • Energy-efficient heating and cooling systems
    • Electric vehicle charging stations
    • Carshare parking spots
    • Indoor bike storage with showers

Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP)

Another key way we are improving energy efficiency at Laurier is through our Laurier Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP). Launched in 2017, LEEP is a comprehensive, multi-phase program to transform Laurier’s building portfolio into a leading example of sustainable management.

LEEP has involved the implementation of energy conservation measures (ECMs) in 38 buildings across our campuses.

Two solar walls have also been installed at the Waterloo campus’ Library and Bricker Residence to reduce energy consumption during the heating season. Hundreds of solar panels have been installed on the roofs of 7 buildings across the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, generating enough power each month to charge 820 laptops for a month (lookout for the signs on each of the buildings to learn more).

And for storing energy to lighten our load on the electricity grid during peak periods, battery storage and a fully functioning microgrid have been installed on the Waterloo Campus. All these aspects of LEEP and the project overall are scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Highlighted Progress

  • More than 15,000 conventional lights have been upgraded to LEDs.
  • Over 1,300 low flow water fixtures have been installed across both campuses.
  • Two solar walls have been installed at the Library and Bricker Residence.
  • 550 kW of solar power have been brought online at the end of 2018 through solar panels located on Lazaridis Hall, Athletic Complex, Clara Conrad Residence, Science Building, Library, Peters Building, and Grand River Hall
  • 6MW of battery storage was installed and will be operational at the end of 2019.

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