Going green

Barbara Nicholson, UNB associate vice-president, capital planning and property development, poses with the university's City of Fredericton Mayor’s Environmental Award.

Efficiency, sustainability, and green – three words that have become synonymous with the University of New Brunswick as of late.

UNB has received a Premier’s Award for Energy Efficiency under the Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project Commercial Retrofit category. It has also recently been recognized by the City of Fredericton with the Mayor’s Environmental Award.

Dr. Eddy Campbell, UNB president and vice-chancellor, said he’s pleased to see the university becoming more widely known for its green efforts.

“In our strategic plan we committed to building a better university and a better province. Becoming a leader and environmental steward is an important part of that,” Campbell said. “We have made tremendous strides in this area thanks to the efforts of our faculty, students and staff. Work is ongoing; we have a number of initiatives underway, including a multi-year program for capital improvement.”

Barbara Nicholson, associate vice-president, capital planning and property development , said the university has been investing in energy conservation methods for close to two decades. These investments have reduced energy consumption, utility costs, and CO2 emissions while improving operational efficiencies and creating a more comfortable work and learning environment for staff, faculty and students.

 “UNB launched a proactive sustainability program in 1996, and since that time, our buildings have undergone substantial upgrades,” Nicholson said. “Our energy efficiency projects, for example, are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25,000 tonnes.”

Community recognition

The university’s most recent project involved investing $1.6 million on significant energy efficiency measures in Head Hall, including a comprehensive lighting retrofit and a major rebuild of the facility’s ventilation system.

Efficiency NB chose UNB Fredericton’s Head Hall complex for the Outstanding Energy Efficiency Project because it ranked first for greatest energy savings compared to all other buildings in the program this year. It also had the greatest percentage decrease in the Energy Utilization Index.

The Mayor’s Environmental Award was given to UNB for its efforts in protecting the city’s drinking water supply.

UNB’s Fredericton campus is located in the Fredericton Wellfield Protected Area. UNB has taken extra steps to protect the city’s water supply by improving chemical and petroleum storage on campus as well as implementing operational best practices.   

“It’s certainly nice to be recognized for our work related to energy efficiency and sustainability,” added Nicholson. “UNB’s efforts on this front extend beyond these two awards, and we’re extremely proud of all the work we’ve done and will continue to do, to advance our sustainability efforts make UNB a greener institution.”

UNB's green projects and initiatives

The University of New Brunswick has a number of green initiatives to make help its campuses more environmentally friendly. Here is a sample:

  • Energy Management Program: This $14-million program has identified over 100 energy projects, and has, to date, saved UNB more than $6.6 million and reduced carbon dioxide production by 25,000 tonnes. 
  • Outreach: Information and education events have been held to explain UNB’s green initiatives and get students, faculty and staff engaged. UNB also initiated an awareness campaign to promote energy conservation.
  • Smart fountains: Fountains at The Richard J. CURRIE CENTER have a feature that tracks the number of plastic bottles kept out of the landfill. 
  • Sustainability Network: UNB’s residences take part in the Atlantic Universities and Colleges Sustainability Network’s Regional Residence Energy Challenge.  Aitken House came in first in 2010 and most recently, UNB Saint John earned second place.
  • LEED standards: The Hans W. Klohn Commons building on the Saint John campus is designed to a silver-rated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard and UNB’s first green facility. The Currie Center was also built using green guidelines as the standard for design and construction.
  • Student-lead: Participation in Earth Day activities; introduction of 'green' frosh kits; active student-run organizations; recycling programs in residence and other campus buildings; and active participation in receiving a positive 'green' ranking from the Sustainable Endowments Institute College Sustainability Report Card.
  • Other initiatives: a bicycle rental program available to staff and students; the use of green cleaning products; the replacement of appliances and equipment with Energy Star qualified products; and promoting green conferences.