Dalhousie has been involved in environment and sustainability issues in its operations and curriculum for over 20 years. In recent years, though, these efforts have been expanding, becoming more coordinated and more central to the university’s mission.
Accordingly, Dalhousie’s grade in the College Sustainability Report Card has been improving, earning a ‘B’ this year with an ‘A’ rating in the categories of administration, food & recycling, student involvement and investment priorities. Dalhousie also received a silver seal from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS).
College of Sustainability
Launched in 2008, Dalhousie’s College of Sustainability offers a common place for the study of sustainability-based problems at Dalhousie University. It offers a range of exciting lectures, seminars and activities through the school year, building a shared sense of community around environment and sustainability-related issues.
Most notably, it is the host of Dalhousie’s degree program in Environment, Sustainability and Society (ESS). The first of its kind in Canada, the program allows students to take a double major or combined honours program in ESS and a host of other disciplines, from Arts and Science to Management and Community Design.
Office of Sustainability
The Office of Sustainability works to incorporate sustainability concepts and criteria into all major university functions. It also works to engage and enhance students, staff, and faculty in sustainable living and operation. The office offers hands-on programs such as ReThink! Sustainability on Campus and promotes student-led events such as Green Week and the annual Dump and Run.
A sample of sustainability initiatives
- The university publishes a Green Guide [PDF] for students and staff to learn more about ways to be sustainable on campus.
- Dalhousie is a signatory on the University and Colleges’ Climate Change Statement for Canada. The university has a comprehensive climate change plan [PDF], with goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 per cent by 2020 below the 2008-09 baseline.
- Dalhousie’s newest building, the Mona Campbell Building, is the greenest on campus, with rainwater used to flush toilets and a solar wall to preheat ventilation air. In 2011, Dalhousie passed a new green building policy which states that all new buildings should be LEED gold.
- Dalhousie diverts 65 per cent of its waste from the landfill, with a target of increasing this number to 75 per cent.
- Dal is upgrading all lighting on campus beginning earlier this year, which should reduce the overall lighting energy consumed by 20 to 30 per cent.
- The university has made the switch from Bunker C heating oil to natural gas. Since the change began in October 2010, Dal’s sulphur emissions have been reduced by 35 per cent over 2001 levels, with carbon emissions also reduced.
Learn more at the Dalhousie Office of Sustainability’s website.