• How to Reduce Waste During Online School

    Blog Contributor: Mikellena Nettos

    Waste reduction is difficult and becomes increasingly more difficult when paired with a global pandemic. Being home all day without routine can bring out old and unsustainable habits. Therefore, here are five tips on how to reduce waste during online school or even working from home. Keep in mind these are only suggestions, and it’s okay if you are unable to follow them. Don’t be too hard on yourself, everyone is only doing what they can in hard times like these.  

    Invest in reusables  

    If you don’t already have one, invest in a coffee maker instead of ordering delivery Starbucks delivery every day. This will not only save you money long term, you can help reduce the amount of non-reusable coffee cups that go into the landfill because they can be difficult to recycle. 

     Did you know that it takes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water to make one ton of paper towels?. Instead of buying paper towels, buy reusable/washable cloths. Since you are home more often, you might use more paper towels than you used to. However, since you have the extra time why not invest in cloths that you can wash instead?! If you want to go the extra mile, just you can make cloths out of old tattered clothing, or if you don’t want to do the extra laundry, try to only buy paper towel made from 100% recycled paper!   

    Try and reduce food waste  

    Bulking buying can save money, but it can also waste money if the food isn’t eaten before it expires. A way to combat this is to buy more non-perishables or freezer items; examples are canned foods, dried meats, or grains. Additionally, you can put the food that is close to expiry at the front of your fridge to remind yourself to eat it first! Another food saving tip is learning how to properly store fresh produce. Also, don’t forget to compost when you are done with food scraps! 


    Leaving your phone or laptop chargers plugged in all the time can end up using a lot of energy over time. Additionally, it can be a safety hazard in the case of power surges. A quick solution to this is a power-bar with an on/off switch if you don’t want to go through the trouble of unplugging all the time.  

    Additionally, not only does unplugging save energy, it can also increase mental health. Instead of watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through social media between classes, go on a walk or bike ride! Research shows that exercise (especially exercise within/around nature) increases perceived mental well-being, so don’t skip the walk!  

    Go for walks instead of drives 

    As previously mentioned, walks outside can significantly increase mental well-being. So, when you need a change of scenery from being stuck in your house, opt for a walk instead of aimlessly driving around. It’s better for your body and the planet because walks thankfully don’t require the combustion of greenhouse gases.  

    Make food with loved ones instead of ordering take-out 

    Making food can be particularly hard as a student, especially if you share the kitchen with multiple people. Instead of all creating individual meals, or all ordering takeout, try and cook meals together. This can increase well-being because you are spending quality time with roommates or family and creating a dish for you all to share. Eating together can also reduce the sense of isolation that some can feel due to this new virtual world. If you do order takeout, remember to opt out of receiving plastic cutlery, and use utensils from home instead!  

    Don’t forget little changes go a long way! We hope everyone if adjusting well and staying safe during this difficult time.  


    Canadian Produce Marketing Association. (2020, June 30). How to Store Fruits and Veggies. Half Your Plate. https://www.halfyourplate.ca/fruits-and-veggies/store-fruits-veggies/ 

    Kender, D. U. T. (2020, January 29). Myth vs. fact: Unplugging devices when you leave the house. USA TODAY. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/2019/11/27/unplugging-devices-when-not-use/4192100002/ 

    Hasselberger, L. (2015, January 6). 13 Facts about Home Paper Products that May Inspire You to Hug a Tree. DrGreene.Com. https://www.drgreene.com/perspectives/13-facts-about-home-paper-products-that-may-inspire-you-to-hug-a-tree 

    Maas, J. (2006). Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation? Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health60(7), 587–592. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2005.043125 

    Reducing Waste: What You Can Do. (2020, September 4). US EPA. https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-waste-what-you-can-do 

    Categories: Electricity, Student Contributor, Waste

  • Brock’s Commitment to Environmental Sustainability Continues with Completion of DEEP 

    Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly 

    On Friday February 21st Brock University celebrated the completion of Brock’s District Energy Efficiency Project (DEEP). This project was a multiyear process that took extensive planning, collaboration, an effort in order to reach completionThe aim of the project was to reduce Brock’s carbon footprint and increassustainability on campus by replacing the 25-year-old co-generation engines with state-of-the-art energy efficient units. These units provide a reliable source electricity, cooling and heating on campus. This project was made possible through federal and provincially funded upgrades to the co-generation plant that consisted of replacing eight engines with four new high-efficiency models as well as the installation of a new lithium-bromide absorption chiller and new magnetic-bearing electric chiller.  

    The first phase of the DEEP project saw Brock receive nearly $5.2 million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment as well as $5.4 million from Brock University. In Phase 1, Brock replaced half othe existing natural gas-powered co-generators with state-of-the-art, high efficiency electronically controlled units. DEEP Phase 2 started in March of 2018 and was entirely funded by the Ontario government’s $7.9-million investment as part of the Greenhouse Gas Campus Retrofits Program (GGCRP) Innovation Grant Fund, which was designed to help post-secondary institutions reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. In this second phase the remaining co-gen engines were replaced, and a new high-efficiency electric chiller unit was installed. Through the completion of the DEEP project Brock University has significantly improved its energy efficiency, lowered its carbon emissions, and assists Brock in continuing in its commitment to meeting environmental sustainability targets. 

    The new engines are roughly 20 per cent more fuel efficient than their older counterparts and will consume roughly two million cubic metres less fuel to power the campus. The reduction is the equivalent of removing 720 small passenger cars from the road! The now completed project will result in Brock’s annual NOx (nitrogen oxide) gas emissions dropping from 55 tons to just eight tons, and non-methane hydrocarbons reducing from 15 tons to four. These new co-generation engines also consume 26 per cent less fuel per kWh produced, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility cost savings each year. 

    This a huge step forward for Brock in its efforts to become more environmentally sustainable and be a leader amongst universities in reducing carbon emissions. To read more about the completion of the project or to learn more about the savings associated check out the Brock News article and the Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan below!  

    Completion of DEEP Project articles 

    Brock LINC opening signals new era of community engagement for Brock University  

    $7.9 million in provincial funding means green light for Brock’s green energy project 

    Brock University Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan 

    Energy Conservation and Demand Management Plan 

    Reference made to article originally published in the Brock News which was written by Dan Dakin. 

    Photos: DEEP Project Launch – February 2020

    Categories: Electricity, Energy, Student Contributor, Sustainability at Brock

  • It’s Cool to Carpool to School!

    Blog Contributor: Nolan Kelly

    The Canada Games Park being built on Brock University’s campus opens the door for manexciting possibilities as it will be an invaluable athletic and research asset that will benefit thousands of lives both now and in the future. While this is great news for Brock University and the Niagara Region as a whole, the construction of the Canada Games Park means that there will be significant changes to campus over the coming years. One of the areas that is currently undergoing construction on campus is the Zone 2 Parking Lot and this has resulted in a decrease in parking availability. Due to the loss of parking availability students have been encouraged to take advantage of the buy-back program offered by Brock. While many are understandably upset and frustrated by this situation, this change has the potential to encourage students, staff, and faculty to make a more sustainable transportation choice moving forwardOne of the most sustainable and under-utilized methods is carpooling.  

    While carpooling has been around forever, the St. Catharines and greater Niagara region have not been taking full advantage of the benefits that come with this method of transportation. Due to urban sprawl and car ownership growth, traffic, pollution, and health risks are all on the rise. When it comes to most car trips, including those taken by students, most are done so by one person, which is not a sustainable mode of transportation (Demissie, de Almeida Correia & Bento, 2013). Unfortunately, the Niagara Region is not an exception to this and in in 2016, the region had the lowest overall proportion of commuters using sustainable transportation in Canada with only 20.8% of residents doing so (Statistics Canada, 2017). This is kind of surprising because according to Statistics Canada, the Niagara region had the lowest average commute time in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area in 2016.    

    With the parking changes on campus, there is no better time to consider carpooling. The benefits of carpooling are far ranging and evident as they include environmental, social, financial, convenience and health related benefits! Carpooling takes more cars off the road and as mentioned above many of these vehicles are single person commuters, this will help to reduce carbon emissions and also decrease congestion, which can also lower stress levels while driving. The social benefits that come with carpooling include riding with friends during your commute. It has been proven that your likelihood to carpool drastically increases when it’s with friends or people that you already know (Pan & Sharkey, 2017). Not only does carpooling bring people together and help the environment but it also makes financial sense as commuters can split on travel expenses and also reduce the wear and tear on your vehicle by alternating vehicles. Carpooling can also provide a more convenient option as bus schedules are often rigid and do not accommodate with everyone’s schedule. Carpooling is even better for your health, as air pollution caused by vehicular travel is linked to a number of health concerns including respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, allergies and neurological effects. By carpooling, you help reduce these health risks for yourself and everyone else.  



    Demissie, M. G., de Almeida Correia, G. H., & Bento, C. (2013). Exploring cellular network handover information for urban mobility analysis. Journal of Transport Geography, 31, 164-170.  

    Statistics Canada 2017. (2017) Commuters using sustainable transportation in census metropolitan areasRetrieved from https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016029/98-200-x2016029-eng.pdf 

    Pan, F., & Sharkey, J. (2017, July 5). The key to successful carpooling? Ride with people you actually like, say researchers | CBC News. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/university-waterloo-bissan-ghaddar-carpool-drive-road-congestion-1.4190682 

    Categories: Carpooling, Electricity, 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.


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

    Categories: Electricity, Energy, Student Contributor, Sustainability