With over 60 local universities belonging to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Canada’s long-standing environmental history has grown stronger in recent years, thanks – in large part – to the country’s higher education sector.
For more than 100 years – beginning when the University of Toronto first converted its coal-fired energy system to a district heating-cooling loop – Canadian educational institutions have continuously proven their strong environmental commitments. Local universities have integrated sustainable living into the day-to-day lives of their students by importing locally-grown sustainable food choices, fundamentally changing students’ waste management routines and even providing the heat for showers via solar panels.
These lifestyle changes, among many others, are integral to the success of green living on campuses worldwide. Throughout the process of sustainable improvements, renovations can also be a key to success. Through furniture asset management solutions, higher education institutions, hotels and government edifices alike can update existing furniture assets to like-new conditions using eco-friendly materials and low-VOC lacquers. Through solutions such as furniture refinishing, remanufacturing and re-upholstery, renovations can be completed under budget while creating zero landfill waste and significantly reducing carbon footprints.
“We may have a small energy footprint, but we have a 100 percent educational footprint,” said Niles Barnes of AASHE. In spite of the fact that the higher education sector accounts for only 3 percent of environmental users worldwide, the learning element within these communities makes them one of the most promising and successful sectors.
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