Sustainability at Brock

  • Exciting Scholarship Opportunity for Brock’s Environmental Sustainability students!

    By: Shanen D’Souza

    Toromont CAT Scholarship Presentation

    Photo: Cheque presentation by ToromontCAT representatives to Scott Johnstone, AVP Facilities Management and Dr.Ingrid Makus, Dean of FOSS at the reopening of Theal House in February 2018.

    The Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) along with Brock Facilities Management is offering $5,000 in scholarships for the upcoming year! ToromontCAT Construction donated these funds to the University to encourage and foster sustainability education and research at Brock.

    For students enrolled in the Master of Sustainability program, three scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to students in good academic standing. The three designations are as follows: one current student in Scheme A, one current student in Scheme B and one incoming student who will begin studies in the Fall of 2018. For students who have declared a Minor in Environmental Sustainability, two scholarships of $1,000 each will be awarded to students in good academic standing.

    For more information on the scholarships and applications please visit our website.

    This scholarship is another indicator of the quality research and education that is carried out through these Environmental Sustainability courses. It also displays Brock’s commitment to becoming a national leader in sustainability, while striving to create beneficial educational opportunities for its students. According to Ryan Plummer, Professor and Director of the ESRC, these scholarships recognize as well as support excellence in Environmental Sustainability.

    Applications include an essay question to be answered in 1500 words or less and the applicant’s unofficial transcripts. All completed applications must be submitted via email by August 22, 2018 by 11:59pm to sustainability@brocku.ca. Successful recipients will be notified via email by September 7, 2018.

    Categories: Awards, Innovative Partnership, Minor in Sustainability, SSAS Program, Sustainability at Brock

  • Milestones achieved by Facilities Management at Brock!

    Blog Contributor: Shanen D’Souza

    Brock Engine Room at the CUB

    Photo: Engine room at the Central Utilities Building, Brock University

    Facilities Management (FM) is the department responsible for all activities related to the maintenance, operations and development of Brock’s facilities and grounds. The department is heavily focused on sustainable development and the functioning of the campus. FM is always looking to reduce its impact on the environment and community around us. The recent grant of $75,000 awarded to Brock by the Ontario government to install 10 new electric vehicle charging stations is a testament to FM’s continued work towards Brock becoming a more sustainable campus.

    In the past year, the efforts of Facilities Management have reduced the energy consumption of the university as well as its greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts have also created thousands of dollars of yearly savings for the university. Installing new Variable Frequency Drives to two return fans in the Schmon Tower has led to over $86,000 in savings and 456,000 kWh in energy saved! These frequency drives coupled with a new high efficiency motor reduce the energy consumption of the Tower, the most used building on campus. Even a simple change in the LED lighting in both the 1st and 5th floors of the Tower have resulted in annual savings of over $3,000 and 17,000 kWh in energy.

    Another notable initiative by FM was the recommissioning of the Chiller in the Plaza building. A chiller is a machine that is used to cool the various buildings on campus. By using the Central Cooling Loop on campus instead, FM was able to shut down the Plaza chiller, as the Central Loop provided the necessary cooling on its own using innovative engineering methods. This has resulted in over $82,000 in annual savings and 435,000 kWh saved of energy. Subsequently, recommissioning the electric boilers in Decew Residence is now saving the university $140,000 annually and reducing energy consumption by 75,000 kWh!

    These proactive projects, along with several others in the last year, have cumulatively saved 1,750,000 kWh of energy and $332,000 on an annual basis! As the Facilities Management department leads Brock’s structural initiatives towards sustainability, the campus as a whole, can reduce its environmental impact and continue to be a good social citizen in the community.

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • SSAS Students Take Stock of Sustainability Initiatives at Brock

    Blog Contributor: Lydia Collas

    SSAS 5P03 Group Photo 2018

    Photo: SSAS Student Presentations in SSAS 5P03 (from left to right) Salima Medouar, Leaya Amey, Zach MacMillan, Ben House, Yuka Kataoka, Quratulain Shahzad, and Sylvia Hussein

    Earlier this year, three Master of Sustainability students got a taste for project management providing a consultancy-type service to Facilities Management at Brock University. Project Manager, Leaya Amey, and her two teammates Sylvia Hussein and Qurat Shahzad, were tasked with carrying out a needs assessment of sustainability initiatives at Brock. The team spent a semester compiling an inventory of current sustainability initiatives whilst identifying areas for improvement. Based on best practices at other universities, the students provided guidance on how best to design initiatives to fill these gaps. In this blog post, Qurat shares how the project transpired and what the group learnt from the experience. Instalment

    1. Qurat, this sounds like quite a large project – how did you go about achieving your goals?

    During the first phase of the project, we held several meetings with our main clients Amanda Smits (ESRC) and Scott Jhonstone (Facilities Management), which were moderated by our Project Co-ordinator Bradley May. This allowed us to understand the needs of the clients and clarified any doubts that we had as a team going forward in the project. The second phase was research intensive and focused on compiling the inventory and identifying any gaps where Brock could be doing more. The third phase included coming up with key recommendations for Brock University; our action plan included targets which can be used to track Brock’s progress with their sustainability endeavors in the coming years. The final phase was to complete a project report and present our findings to our clients.

    2. This must be one of your first experiences of this sort of work – what did you learn about project management?

    This experience allowed us to understand the dynamics within a team project and what project management looks like in the real world. Often, it’s more about getting everyone on the same page and communicating the ideas clearly to avoid misunderstandings. We applied what we’d learnt in class out in the real world which saw us improve several key skills such as professional presentations, handling clients, communication skills, team work and time management. This made the course a really beneficial part of the Sustainability Science & Society (SSAS) Program. While all the other courses are mostly theoretical and research based, this course provided us with an opportunity to experience practical work and also showcase a possible career path in the future.

    3. What impact do you think your work will have?

    Our project is being used as the foundational work to be built on by two co-op positions, Special Project Assistant-Sustainability and Communications Assistant, in the ESRC this summer. These co-op students will work with the ESRC to continue this project in an effort to promote and enhance sustainability on campus.

    4. Is there a moment that stands out as a highlight of this experience?

    Scott was kind enough to take us on a tour of the Central Utilities Building which showed the inner workings of the Facilities Management Department and how they are working to incorporate sustainability into their daily operations. The highlight of the tour was getting to see the generators that produce enough electricity to make Brock energy independent and able to work off the grid.

    Many congratulations to the two groups of SSAS students that completed the Projects Course – you can read about the experience of the other group who worked with the Town of Lincoln here

    Categories: Blog, Experiential Education, Innovative Partnership, SSAS Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Ready, Set, Charge!

    Blog Contributor: Shelby McFadden

    Electrical Vehicle Charging Station - International Centre, Brock University

    Photo: Electric vehicle charging station located at the Brock University International Centre.

    We have exciting news to share, as Brock was just approved for the installation of 10 new level 2 electric vehicle charging stations, which are to be installed by November 2018. Brock was generously given $75,000 through the Ontario Government’s Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program to carry out the project.

    To date, Brock has three electric chargers on campus, all of which are used frequently. The first charging station was installed at International Centre in 2013, through the partial gifting from Sun Country Highway. Then in 2016, two additional stations were added. There is one charger at the Central Utilities Building, and one in Lot H behind the tower.

    These chargers are available to be used by the Brock community, but also by people in the community and visitors to the Niagara Region. Currently, these chargers are free to use for permit holders, with non-permit holders only needing to pay a small amount for parking.

    With the student population sitting at around 18,000 students, and electric vehicles rising in popularity, these new charging stations will make it easier to accommodate electric vehicles on campus.

    This is really exciting, especially as someone who hopes to buy her own electric vehicle one day soon.

    While not perfect, electric vehicles have less impacts on the environment, as the only emissions are associated with electricity production, which is less of an issue with coal having been phased out in Ontario. By driving an electric vehicle, the average Canadian can reduce their car’s gas emissions by 60 to 90% (Plug ‘N Drive, n.d).

    This is a step in the right direction for helping to reach Brock’s emission reduction target of 20% by 2023.

    I am personally quite excited to see these chargers pop up around campus in the upcoming months, and am looking forward to future initiatives contributing to sustainability on campus.

    References:

    Plug ‘N Drive. (n.d). Electric vehicle benefits. Retrieved from https://www.plugndrive.ca/electric-vehicle-benefits/

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • Sustainability Committee Workshop

    Blog Contributor: Kaitlin James

    The Brock Sustainability Coordinating Committee serves as a forum for discussion of sustainability related information, practices, actions and initiatives, with a goal to enhance and promote sustainability at Brock.

    Today we had our first sustainability committee workshop of the new year. It was great to meet everyone and hear about all of the different initiatives going on across the university campus. Bringing together such a diverse group of individuals is integral to be able to facilitate and sustain sustainability campus wide, and allowed for an all-encompassing, active discussion of what we would like the future of sustainability to look like at Brock, including potential challenges in implementation.

    Myself and the other summer interns were excited to share with the group what we have been doing over the last couple of weeks and engaged in meaningful conversation to help build our list of current initiatives taking place across campus, ensuring that our list is as comprehensive as possible. It was great to see all that is being done across the school to make steps towards a more sustainable campus. I’m excited to see what the future of sustainability at Brock has in store for us!

    To learn more about Sustainability at Brock visit: brocku.ca/sustainability

    Categories: Blog, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • First week at the ESRC: An introduction to what we’re working on this summer

    Blog Contributor: Shelby McFadden

    Summer Student Assistants 2018

    Summer student assistants (from left to right): Kaitlin, Shanen and Shelby working in Theal House.

    From the moment my parents and I pulled up to the quaint wonder that is Theal House during a tour of campus, I knew that I would get along perfectly at Brock. I immediately decided to accept my offer for the Masters of Sustainability program for fall 2018. I made the important decision in Swiss Chalet over lunch, as my family and I went over all the benefits of attending Brock.

    Little did I know then, but I would later be offered the Special Projects Assistant position within the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre (ESRC) for the summer. And so on the evening of May 6th, I moved to St. Catharines, and by the next morning, I was sitting in Theal House and starting training. Some of you may have a vague recollection of hearing about how the ESRC renovated and moved into Theal House back in February and how the Centre is partnering with Facilities Management on sustainability initiatives through a formal charter.  These milestones mark an exciting time for sustainability at Brock, and this summer is no exception, as we are working hard in the Centre on sustainability planning.

    To help carry out this new work on sustainability at Brock, three students, including myself, have been hired for the summer to work on both sustainability planning and communications. This is a really exciting opportunity for me, as I get to familiarize myself with Brock and the ESRC before I start my Masters in the fall. I will be able to gain valuable and relevant experience in the field of sustainability, and help contribute to something meaningful and positive in the Brock community.

    To be able to have a job you enjoy often feels rare to find, and so I am beyond thrilled to be joining the passionate and skilled staff dedicated to sustainability in the ESRC. I think the most amazing part is that staff, faculty, and students are all coming together to share their insights and skills, to engage with issues surrounding sustainability, and help to share Brock’s future directions.

    In the week and a half I’ve been at the Centre, I feel like I’ve gotten a good grasp on what’s currently happening at Brock in regard to sustainability, and I am optimistic for what is to come in the future. I am convinced there is a lot of good work being done at Brock, but that there is also a lot of room for growth and improvement. I want people to be aware that even though the Centre is tucked away in its own private space on campus, we are very much an active part of campus, and that there’s a lot of good and promising work being done here. I encourage faculty, staff, students, and visitors to pay attention to sustainability initiatives and efforts throughout the year, and to come visit us at Theal House and see what the ESRC is doing. We will be around all summer working hard on these exciting initiatives. Stay tuned to find out additional information and initiatives in our weekly summer blog series.

    Categories: Blog, Innovative Partnership, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock