New audit will size up Brock University’s carbon footprint

The Campaign for a Bold New Brock

New audit will size up Brock University’s carbon footprint

Nov. 26, 2009

As Ontario university presidents went to Queen’s Park today to update ministers on the spread of green initiatives at their campuses, Brock University in St. Catharines stepped up its ongoing efforts to be more environmentally sustainable.

Brock announced it is launching a carbon audit of its operations, to provide the most comprehensive measurement to date of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the next four months the Toronto-based carbon management firm HR Carbon will collect energy consumption data and calculate the carbon footprint for University facilities, faculty, staff and students. A final report is planned for spring 2010.

Brock University President Jack Lightstone said universities share Ontario’s commitment to a greener world, and pursue that commitment with actions.

“The Brock community has shown itself to be a full partner in this responsibility, from emphasizing locally-grown food to buying hybrid vehicles,” he said. “We continue to shape our strategies and plan our actions in ways that protect the generations of tomorrow through sustainable approaches today.”

Prof. Richard C. Mitchell, co-chair of the University’s Sustainability Coordinating Committee, said the audit will review activities from water consumption to paper usage, garbage disposal and recycling. The audit, spearheaded by Mitchell and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, has been two years in the organizing. During that time, a cross-section of departments combined to cover the cost of the project including the Faculty of Social Sciences; Brock Food Services; Facilities Management; Student Residence Services; Recreation Services; and Brock University Faculty Association.

Mitchell said the broad base of sponsors reflects the Brock community’s commitment to environmental responsibility. “University stakeholders providing for this initiative in such a difficult financial climate show that they understand the importance of sustainability in a very meaningful way,” said Mitchell.

Tom Saint-Ivany, Associate Vice-President of Facilities Management and also co-chair of the sustainability committee, said the audit will lead to new ideas for green initiatives in a Brock community that has long been environmentally proactive.

“It’s up to us to get good knowledge on where we can go and what we can do better, whether it’s in facilities management practices or students learning sustainability and societal responsibility,” said Saint-Ivany.

Sustainability measures Brock has introduced in recent years include eliminating Styrofoam products in dining areas; using environmentally friendly tissues and biodegradable take-out containers and packaging; and using green cleaning solutions.