Media Releases

University of Toronto going greener this year

August 23, 2010

TORONTO, ON – From heat­ing show­ers with solar ener­gy to reduc­ing green­house gas emis­sions by decreas­ing elec­tri­cal loads, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s wide-rang­ing “green” ini­tia­tives are advanc­ing sus­tain­able prac­tices on cam­pus.

Last year UofT joined with the exec­u­tive heads of 20 oth­er Ontario insti­tu­tions and made a pub­lic com­mit­ment to con­tin­ue prac­tic­ing the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recy­cle) and to invest in being envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able. The Uni­ver­si­ty is grow­ing its sus­tain­able prac­tices with the expan­sion of a num­ber of impor­tant ini­tia­tives – both big and small – that will have pos­i­tive impact on the envi­ron­ment.

One of the University’s most ambi­tious projects is the instal­la­tion of 100 solar col­lec­tor pan­els on the roof of the Ath­let­ic Cen­tre at Har­bord Street and Spad­i­na. The instal­la­tion, which became oper­a­tional this year, is cur­rent­ly the biggest ini­tia­tive of its kind in the GTA and the largest known sys­tem at a Cana­di­an uni­ver­si­ty. The pan­els will sup­ply near­ly 25 per cent of the heat for the build­ing’s show­ers and laun­dry facil­i­ties dur­ing peak sun­shine months, sub­stan­tial­ly reduc­ing nat­ur­al gas use – and con­se­quent­ly green­house gas (GHG) emis­sions – through­out the year.

The ongo­ing paper con­ser­va­tion pro­gram com­bines tech­ni­cal changes to print­er set­tings with com­ple­men­tary tools and mes­sages that encour­age indi­vid­u­als to reduce and reuse. More than 100 mil­lion sheets of copy paper are con­sumed on the St. George Cam­pus annu­al­ly and are asso­ci­at­ed with green­house gas emis­sions of about 1,500 tonnes. This year the Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Office aims to expand the paper con­ser­va­tion pro­gram, pilot­ed at Ger­stein Sci­ence Infor­ma­tion Cen­tre, to over 15 addi­tion­al libraries, reach­ing an esti­mat­ed 20,000–30,000 more stu­dents and reduc­ing paper use at par­tic­i­pat­ing sites by up to 50 per cent – or as much as two mil­lion sheets each year.

On a small­er scale, stu­dents are engag­ing in sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives includ­ing the cam­pus agri­cul­tur­al project that brings togeth­er stu­dents, staff and fac­ul­ty to grow, eat and local­ly dis­trib­ute their own food from green roofs and gar­den plots across all three cam­pus­es.

“Stu­dents are a dri­ving force behind sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives at UofT. Stu­dents con­ceived of many of the ini­tia­tives that con­tin­ue to ben­e­fit the entire uni­ver­si­ty com­mu­ni­ty year after year includ­ing Rewire, Bikechain and the paper reduc­tion pro­gram. Their imag­i­na­tion and enthu­si­asm keep us all inspired and ener­gized, which is why pro­vid­ing stu­dent oppor­tu­ni­ties is a core com­po­nent of the Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Office’s mis­sion,” says Dr. Beth Savan, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Direc­tor.

More exam­ples of how U of T is pro­mot­ing the envi­ron­ment include:

•The office of real estate oper­a­tions and facil­i­ties and ser­vices was award­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty’s first LEED gold cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by the Cana­di­an Green Build­ing Coun­cil. The office is locat­ed at 255 McCaul St.

•The award-win­ning Rewire pro­gram is build­ing a cul­ture of con­ser­va­tion in cam­pus offices and stu­dent res­i­dences while reduc­ing user-medi­at­ed elec­tric­i­ty demand by an esti­mat­ed 10–13 per cent. This suc­cess has inspired the cre­ation of Start Green, an ener­gy edu­ca­tion pro­gram that launch­es in Sep­tem­ber 2010 and will engage over 2000 more stu­dents.

•UofT is a leader in waste diver­sion, cur­rent­ly divert­ing 65.7 per cent of all the non-haz­ardous waste pro­duced on cam­pus.

For more infor­ma­tion on UofT’s var­i­ous sus­tain­abil­i­ty ini­tia­tives, vis­it


For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Joy­ann Cal­len­der
Media Rela­tions Offi­cer
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to