The SCE created eight workgroups composed of various official and guest members
of the SCE meetings. The workgroups met outside of formal SCE meetings to develop
recommendations on their subject matter. The groups were to provide groundwork
as preparation for policies or priorities onto which McGill units could potentially sign
on to.
WORKGOUPS
Recycling (Gestion des matieres residuelles - GMR) workgroup
Members : Elena Bennett, McGill School of Environment Academic Staff; Marc
Dozois, Building Services; Rachel Laurin, Environment, Health and Safety; Kathleen
Ng, Environment, Health and Safety; Bill Pageau, Food Services; Gabriela Pinto,
Building Services; Saima Sidik, Greening McGill
Mission: To develop an action for the overhaul of the recycling facilities on campus.
The scope of the overhaul is limited to glass, metal and plastic (GMP) since the
building services department indicated that the amenities for paper recycling were
already well established.
Actions: Based on recommendations from the Environmental Office and the gardens
and grounds department, priority locations were determined for outdoor recycling
stations. Approximately 15 stations for outdoor use were purchased and are to be
installed in the summer 2007.
Building Services supervisors and an Environment, Health and Safety worker had
been assigned to building walkthroughs with CAD blueprints to identify the locations
of current recycling stations (pro-bins) as well as identify potential locations with
appropriate degree of priority. The information was entered into a database by Anne
for development of a cost analysis.
After discussion with stakeholders it was determined that the new stations would not
be multi-compartment stations, but individual bins for GMP – preferably green since
blue bins are already associated with paper recycling and black bins with garbage.
It was agreed that the University could align its new campus signage to RecycQuebec’s provincial standard - customized to suit McGill.
The final cost projections for the recycling overhaul would include not only the bins
themselves, but the additional operating and human resource costs as well as a
budget request for the annual clean and green project.
Waste Management (Consumption/Procurement) workgroup
Members: Trevor Fraser, SSMU Environment Commissioner ; Normand Laguë,
Purchasing Services; Saima Sidik, Greening McGill; Wayne Wood, EHS (Vice-Chair)
Mission: To develop a list of priority actions to reduce McGill’s waste and
consumption by looking at the beginning of the procurement cycle rather than at the
end (which will be looked at by the Working Group on Recycling – GMR workgroup).
1
Actions:
-
-
Given that the University does not have a formal purchasing policy on which
to base its operations, Purchasing Services has drafted a Purchasing Policy
that is being reviewed by higher management (see appendix).
Purchasing Services has drafted a Socially Responsible Purchasing Practices
that is to be included in the Purchasing Policy.
Recommendations:
-
-
-
-
-
Having a limited number of catering service providers since this could
facilitate the adoption of sustainable practices (for example using reusable
dishes, glass wears, cutlery, etc…).
Consult with various faculties to reduce or bypass consumption of bottled
water
Consult with Building Service to install toilet paper dispensers that limit the
abuse of paper consumption, as well as new hand paper dispensers or air
dryers, again, to limit the over-consumption of paper
Consult internal mail services to communications to promote the use of
MOARDS – the online system that was created to allow redistribution of used
assets within the McGill community
Promote the Returned of Used Toner Cartridges and the Use of
Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
Send departments who are still ordering non-recycled paper a package
containing 1 stack of Eco-Logo paper and I stack of 100%PC paper with
ordering and pricing information and a letter from the chair of the SCE. If
1000 units are considered as potential candidate for this campaign and each
package is estimated to cost $10.00, the estimated Budget for SCE is
$10,000.00
Consult with the Provost office to communicate to all academics and staff the
paper use policy
Communication and Education workgoup
Members: Kyle Bailey, MSE student; Elena Bennett, McGill School of Environment
Academic staff; Helene Richard, Office of the Provost; Saeed Mirza, SCE chair;
Kathleen Ng, Environment, Health and Safety office; Finn Upham, SSMU vice
principle
Mission: To develop recommendations on how sustainability could be better
integrated with respect to three aspects: curriculum development, campus life and
marketing.
Some recommendations:
-
Implement one compulsory course on sustainability.
Compulsory viewing of the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”
-
Build/establish an environmental center to foster education and awareness
2
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Promote sustainable teaching methods such as virtual lectures, COOL McGill
lectures, or non-printed course notes
Link to McGill GreenWeb from homepage
Instate a student “green fee” for sustainability projects
Introduce Building Directors to the Sustainable Lifestyle Guide and the
Administration Handbook
Develop an online discussion forum (like a wikipedia) where discussions
related to sustainability could be held (this was accomplished in winter 2007)
Advertising in the Zoom Media format would raise awareness (this was
accomplished in winter 2007)
Energy/Water Use workgroup
Members: John Henning, Madonald campus academic staff; Caitin Macleod, Campus
Climate Coalition; Sarah Pike, Environmental Residences Council; Chris Wrobel,
PGSS environmental committee
Mission: To provide recommendations and priority actions to reduce energy and
water use on campus. See appendix for detailed report.
Water - Recommendations:
-
-
-
Install water meters in the remaining buildings at both campuses with priority
being given to those with high traffic and/or high usage. Note that Macdonald
campus bears meters in only 2 of 82 buildings.
Meters should be tracked to enable to gauge the success of any implemented
conservation measures and to motivate consumers to alter their habits.
Fix leaking pipes across campus. These can be identified by doing pressure
testing – which is currently not being done at Macdonald campus.
Students and other users should be made aware of the existence of the
Facilities Call Centre at McGill for reporting leaks in the system and the
importance of doing it immediately. Notices could be posted in all bathrooms
and kitchens.
Install low-flow showerheads in all residences and gyms in the University.
Installing other high-efficiency fixtures such as low volume toilets, low flow
faucets, and automatic flush sensors.
Establish guidelines to ensure that the lawn is cared for to minimize its water
requirements
Energy – Recommendations:
-
Install energy meters in all buildings at McGill and Macdonald Campus.
Install more thermostats with the ability to individually adjust those that may
be in place in order to allow more control of temperature in individual rooms.
Install motion detector sensor systems in target areas to reduce light and
heat energy used in unoccupied rooms.
Energy Star equipment should be prioritized in purchasing decisions.
Install VendingMiserTM on all vending machines on campus.
Replace all incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent ones.
Repair heating and pipe insulation where possible.
Install energy management software on all McGill computers.
Communicate the importance of conserving energy to the community through
posters and other communications.
3
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Perform an energy audit on one of McGill’s buildings, ideally in collaboration
with Hydro-Quebec.
Replace old and under-insulated windows and frames with newer ones.
Sustainability Policy/Planning workgroup
Members: Martin Lechowicz, at-large member of SCE and professor in Biology
department; Elena Bennett, McGill School of Environment Academic Staff; Saeed
Mirza, SCE chair.
Mission: Research ways and provide recommendations as to how the University
could re-affirm its commitment to the environmental policy. As such, the workgroup
should review existing University policies that may have implications with
sustainability, all the promised actions that the University has committed to, and
other universities’ policies (via AASHE website).
Discussion: Most of the items discussed under this umbrella are listed in “other
items discussed” since they were not addressed by the workgroup in question. This
group has yet to meet and develop its recommendations.
- It was proposed that the University set up an opt-in staff fund, or a matching fund
for the students’ contribution (effective this fall) of $1.25 per term per SSMU
student: while this would be an opt-out system, it was anticipated that this would
result in approximately $50 000 annually (versus the $7.50 per student at
Concordia). The idea of matching funds was raised, for the central administration to
pay subsidies (up to 50%) to “reward” departments who were legitimately serious
about implementing environmental projects, similar to capital alteration funds
already available for assistance with regards to health and safety, fire safety,
accessibility and other projects.
Evaluation System workgroup
Members: Radu Juster, Planning office; Saima Sidik, Greening McGill; Jessica Ward,
Biology graduate student.
Mission: To develop evaluation system for identifying and setting priority projects.
Projects would be evaluated based (1) environmental benefits, (2) social benefits,
and (3) economic benefits.
Recommendations: All projects will be evaluated on conformity to the University
Master Plan and the relevant policies, mission statements, or code of ethics
pertaining to the three aforementioned benefits. See appendix for detailed report.
Projects will be evaluated based on:
Environmental Benefits
(i)
whether they are completely beneficial to the environment, or have tradeoffs in different environmental categories (e.g. noise, water, energy, waste,
etc),
4
(ii)
the magnitude of the environmental benefits in each category (e.g. positive,
negative, or neutral),
(iii) the projected reduction in the University’s ecological footprint.
Social Benefits
(i)
the level of project visibility (e.g. to the community, the city, etc),
(ii) the level of participation within the University community (e.g. how many
people will participate? be affected by? benefit from?)
(iii) whether the project benefits the physical or mental health of its
participants, and of the university community in general
(iv) whether the project improves relations with University partners, neighbours,
social groups, community groups, other universities, and the city of
Montreal.
Economic Benefits
(i)
cost and resources required (e.g. people, space, etc), on a life-cycle basis
(ii) whether the project has the potential to be self-sustaining (e.g. does it
require volunteers, training, or special knowledge or skills?),
(iii) whether the project will result in long-term financial savings or is revenuegenerating,
(iv) whether the project will improve University operations.
Green Buildings workgroup
Members: Radu Juster, Planning Office; Anthi Mimidakis, Macdonald campus
Sustainable Project; Saeed Mirza, SCE chair.
Mission: To evaluate and recommend provisions or amendments to green building
guidelines.
Discussion:
- It was noted that little action had taken place since the policy was changed
since the fact that a building was certified to be “green.”
- It was noted that the first phase of the University master plan – where
sustainability, not only green building practices, was at the fore - was nearing
completion, and would be made public after the approval of the Board of
Governors.
- It was suggested that that the SCE budget include provision (approximately
$10,000) for a feasibility study from an external engineering/architectural
firm for the conversion of one existing building (to be determined in house) to
have a green roof.
- It was mentioned that SSMU was interested in having a greenroof on their
building.
- In April, it was confirmed that the Santropol organization would use the
rooftop of McGill’s Burnside Hall building to set up a garden. There would be
signage indicating that this was a community garden to better educate
passersby, bolstering support from the community. There would be both
flowers and vegetables grown on the site.
Environmental Center workgroup
5
Members: Elena Bennett, McGill School of Environment; Trevor Fraser, SSMU
environmental Commissioner; Graeme Lamb, Gorilla Composting; Adela Macieiewski,
Sustainable McGill Project; Nadya Wilkinson, Sustainable McGill Project.
Mission: Provide a report on the feasibility of creating an Environmental Center for
the University with accompanying recommendations on the nature and structure of
the center.
Discussion: Four different models were proposed for the establishment of a center
- Student-driven
- Administration led
- Coordination focused model
- Research-based model
The EC report included the following:
- Its mission is to enable McGill to strive towards leadership in sustainability,
promoting and coordinating environmental research, integrating university
operations and involving all members of the McGill community.
- Its organizational structure would entail members reporting directly to AVP
Services (Jim Nicell). Strong links to Facilities, Ancillary, Rethink office, and
the SCE. Sustainability coordinators (FT) are needed for planning and
implementing research results into operations, collection and organization of
information, monitoring, guide aspects of curriculum development, and
maintain contact with sustainability coordinators at different universities.
- A faculty/staff opt-in fund, student opt-out fund, administration operating
budget, and external grants would be sources of funding.
- The EC would include offices, a library, a conference room, and space for all
to come in and work. Members would collaborate with the student diversity
office.
OTHER ITEMS DISCUSSED
Governance. G. Lamb had submitted a report to S. Mirza about issues with regard
to the existing governance structure – for example, that the SCE reported to Senate
(via the SCPD) instead of the Board of Governors. After discussion on the various
amendments proposed, the consensus was that there would not be a request to
move the SCE to be a Senate committee at this stage.
Green Fund. Chris Wrobel submitted a proposal (see appendix) to Ron Henry,
Macdonald Campus’ development officer, for a green fund at Macdonald campus.
This fund would provide money for environmental projects that will (a) reduce the
greenhouse gas emissions of the campus and (b) stimulate further research. The
projects proposed for the fund were:
(1) A McGill designed bioreactor in-vessel composter
(2) A solar panel installed on one of the houses on campus
(3) A sub-surface flow constructed wetland
The first two projects were approved for funding in May and the last one was still
being discussed with various stakeholders.
Website overhaul. ??
6
Sustainability Officer for Macdonald Campus. While the funds for the position
were already included in the budget request for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, there was
some discussion about the ideal reporting structure for any incumbent.
Letter of support for SYC Y. Louvel‟s request for a letter of support from the SCE
for the SYC‟s grant funding request was considered, and it was agreed to proceed,
for signature by Mirza.
Recycling & Cleaning Operations. Pinto stated that cleaning classrooms of litter
took one hour, instead of just 10 minutes if everyone had only used the facilities
available for proper waste disposal. The effectiveness of workflow redesign could be
examined; for example, the Université Laval model where cleaners were picking up
waste only from corridors instead of individual offices, so that occupants would
empty their waste and recyclables in the appropriate containers in the hallways.
Pinto stated that the Ferrier building would undergo this new operating procedure in
the summer 2007 as a pilot project.
Ville de Montréal Plan de développement durable (PDD). The University was
once again asked to be a partner in the municipal sustainable
development plan: each partner would be requested to undertake at least five (5) of
the actions proposed, of which one should be an “action vedette”. WHAT DID WE
CHOOSE?
National Waste Reduction Week. Two waste audits were performed: one in
Burnside Hall and one in the Shatner building. The results of waste audits showed
that 50% of waste produced by both buildings could have been recycled or
composted. The environmental office plans on continuing monthly audits in various
buildings throughout the fall and winter terms. See report submitted to RecycQuebec for more information on the events of this week.
Energy Week of Action. The Environmental office enlisted McGill University in the
Energy Action Coalition’s Week of Action, and thus providing a public screening
license for the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. Showings were held January
29 – February 2 on both campuses.
Sustainability Pledge. As part of Week of Action on Climate Change (January 2529, 2007), McGill’s environmental officer announced the launch of the Rethink
sustainability pledge, this was later customized so that staff members can register on
behalf of their departments.
We had 769 signatures as of May 25, 2007, without including the commitments of
entire departments such as University Safety (39) or the School of Architecture
(300)!
GHG Reductions Strategy. The SCE formed a workgroup with the mission to
actively investigate measures by which the University could reduce its greenhouse
gas emissions. Measures proposed were:
- Alumni Green Fund. The student members of the group had approached Ron
Henry of Development and Alumni Relations to assess the feasibility of
7
-
-
including environmental projects in the capital campaign. As Henry was
amenable to the idea, work is now focused on identifying potential projects of
interest. GHG reduction projects were later approved in May – a bioreactor invessel composter and a solar panel installed on one of the houses on campus
Million Monitor Project. This project, originally proposed in 2004, was revived
to address unnecessary energy consumption in what appears to be increasing
numbers of computer labs on campus. The free software was developed by
the EPA to facilitate computer power management. Macdonald Campus
Computer Centre staff have expressed an interest, but this may be something
for consideration by the Senate Committee on IST.
Methane digester. Professor Robert Kok (Chair, Bioresource Engineering)
showed interest in working on a methane digester project so that the manure
tank could potentially be used to generate energy.
VendingMisers. Installed on vending machines, the apparatus would reduce
energy consumption when there was nobody present, without reducing
temperature. Bill Pageau, Manager of Food Services, has expressed interest in
this project; however, the cost of fitting campus vending machines with these
devices has yet to be determined.
Transportation (E-bus). A group of relevant McGill responsables met with André
Lefebvre, the President Directeur of the Oka Express. The company is in the process
of manufacturing hybrid electric buses which would be suitable for McGill’s
intercampus shuttle service. Lefebvre proposed that the University could be useful
for testing two of these new buses when they are completed in 2008 – the Oka
Express would handle maintenance and engineering, while McGill would be expected
to be responsible for finding a driver. Ancillary services would be investigating
operating and human resource costs in the mean time.
Rethink Conference. This year the focus was on sustainability and student
life/learning. The half-day event included the usual annual reports from the SCE and
student groups, as well as a panel discussion with speakers as Provost Anthony Masi
and Morton Mendelson, Associate Provost of Student Life and Learning. Please see
the conference report for more details on this event.
Sustainability Policy. At the Rethink conference Provost Anthony C. Masi
committed to bringing forth a sustainability policy for the University by the same
time of the following year (i.e. March 2008). University sustainability policy, as the
objectives of the institution should be inherent therein. Salient points included:
- The existing environmental policy was but an extension to a broader
sustainability policy.
- The obstacles lay not only in communicating the current policy, but more
importantly in the development of a sustainability plan – this would be more
feasible if there was financial support that made the University’s commitment
more tangible.
8
APPENDICIES
Proposal for Green Fund at Macdonald College
Re: This is an official request for a green fund at Macdonald College
Mission Statement: To create a green fund to provide money for environmental
projects that will (a) reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the campus and (b)
stimulate further research.
Background: Many colleges and universities across North America have begun to
address the climate change issue. For example, undergraduate students at the
University of Guelph recently accepted a $10 per semester fee increase for the next
twelve years to go to energy conservation measures on campus. Faculty and staff at
Guelph have also been invited to contribute to this fund, all of which will be matched
by the University. This account will be monitored by a Senate Committee on
University Planning, with representatives from faculty, staff and the student body.
Macdonald College has also begun a move toward a more sustainable
campus. There are alumni within and outside our college community that would be
interested in helping to attain this goal by contributing to a green fund. Such an
entity would fund particular projects that would lower the College’s greenhouse gas
emissions, attract research funding and demonstrate the College’s commitment to
the environment to the community at large. A sustainability fee could be added to a
student’s tuition that would offset each student’s carbon imprint (amount to be
determined). Faculty and staff could also be invited to contribute to this fund. As at
Guelph, this fund could be monitored by a committee comprised of students, staff
and faculty. Furthermore, any money raised could be matched by the University.
Possible projects:
(1) A McGill designed bioreactor in-vessel composter
(2) A solar panel installed on one of the houses on campus
(3) A sub-surface flow constructed wetland
The following pages describe each project.
A Bioreactor In-Vessel Composter
Background: Greenhouse gases generated by landfills account for 6% of the total
CO2 generated gases in Quebec, with organic waste comprising a significant
component of this.1 The year 2008 will be the deadline for municipalities under the
jurisdiction of the Quebec government to compost a minimum of 60% of their
organic waste loads. The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that
composting food waste diverted from a landfill can decrease carbon dioxide release
by 0.82 metric tons per ton of food waste.2 Methane generation (a gas 23 times
more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas) is zero.
Description: A bioreactor in-vessel composter is a long drum that rotates organic
waste, reducing it in volume by 50-70% through decomposition. It can absorb a
9
considerable amount of food waste each day – approximately 200 kilograms. With
expert attention it can digest every type of food waste. A prototype was built by
McGill University for the Eco-Cartier Jeanne-Mance Mile End. During an eight month
period, 30 tons of food waste could generate 30 cubic meters of fertilizer, worth
about $6000, and save several thousand dollars in landfill disposal costs. An
industrial composter would be required to efficiently deal with the introduction of
biodegradable cutlery and dishware in cafeterias across the University.
Cost: With a mixer/shredder unit and an automated loading service, the price would
be approximately $52,200.3 Currently a proposal has been prepared by Dr.
Sotocinal of the Bioresource Engineering Department to have the city of Ste. Anne de
Bellevue join in a composting project with McGill University. This would allow the
two entities to share in the cost of the project. Dr. Sotocinal has offered to provide
free training to the personnel that would operate the in-vessel composter.
Research opportunities: These would be generated in a number of Faculties, as
outlined in the Gorilla Compost Report to McGill in 2005 1:
Biology: Natural pest and odor control, micro and macro life present during
composting.
Mechanical Engineering: Containers, chipping, processing, loading and unloading
devices.
Chemistry: Analysis of ingredients added, decomposition process, finished product.
Management: Advertising, system logistics, cost-benefit and investment analysis.
School of Environment: Environmental and social impact in the local and global
context.
1
Spitzberg, D. and Gell, K. 2005. Gorilla Composting – Organic Waste Recycling at
McGill University. 48 pp.
US Environmental Protection Agency. 2002. Solid Waste Management and
Greenhouse Gases: A Lifecycle Assessment of Emissions and Sinks, second edition.
160 pp.
2
Santocinal, S. 2007. Composting of Ste. Anne de Bellevue Restaurant Waste. 11
pp.
3
An Installed Solar Panel
Background: Buildings in Canada account for 31% (17% residential) of energy
consumption, along with approximately 50% of electrical consumption.4 This results
in 28% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. A typical Canadian home
consumes 23,367 kWh. Solar energy incident on 40 square meters of roof area
would generate 50,000 kWh annually. On most houses a roof area of about 40
square meters could easily be found to enable the installation of a 3-5 kW PV
system. About 10% of solar radiation can be converted to electricity, while 40-70%
can be recovered as thermal energy. The more thermal energy recovered, the lower
is the cost of solar electricity, which is currently at 16.6 cents per kWh (electricity
from a public utility is approximately 8 cents per kWh). Every kWh of photovoltaic
generated energy would offset 1.58 metric tonnes of CO 2 if replacing coal, 1.3 if
replacing oil and 0.73 if replacing natural gas.
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Description: A 40 square meter solar energy panel could be installed on one of the
houses (e.g. Rowles House, Harrison House, etc…) on the lower campus.
Cost: The cost of a 40 square meter solar panel system would be approximately
$40,0005.
Research opportunities: The cost of photovoltaic modules has been cut by five times
in the last twenty years. The cost of energy generated by these will be cost-effective
for Canada by 2020. However, the goal may be achieved sooner with research.
Installing a solar panel on campus would attract research funds as well as provide a
research facility for members of the surrounding community to tour and examine.
Athienites, A. 2005. The Zero Energy Solar Building. In: “The Food for Thought”
lecture series at Macdonald College of McGill University, Ste. Anne de
Bellevue,
Quebec, Canada. November 1, 2005.
4
5
personal communication, Dr. Andreas Athienitis, (Building, Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Concordia University).
A Sub-Surface Flow Constructed Wetland
Background: Constructed wetlands are artificial wastewater treatment systems made
of shallow (usually less than 1 m deep) ponds or channels which have been planted
with aquatic plants, and which rely upon natural microbial, biological, physical and
chemical processes to treat wastewater. They are often less expensive to build than
traditional wastewater and storm water treatment options, have low operating and
maintenance expenses and can handle fluctuating water levels. Nutrients from
fertilizer application, manure, leaking septic tanks, and municipal sewage that are
dissolved in the water are often absorbed by plant roots and microorganisms in the
soil. Other pollutants stick to soil particles. In many cases, this filtration process
removes much of the water’s nutrient and pollutant load by the time it leaves a
wetland. Wetland functions also include floodwater storage, fish and wildlife habitat,
aesthetics, and biological productivity. According to one assessment of natural
ecosystems, the dollar value of wetlands worldwide has been estimated to be $14.9
trillion.6 The number of constructed wetland projects filtering wastewater from
municipal and industrial treatment sources has increased in the United States to
more than 600 active projects.7
Description: Storm drainage water flows unfiltered from Macdonald College campus
into Lake Ste. Louis. A subsurface flow wetland would be constructed to filter out
nutrients and pollutants from the drainage water flow before it enters the lake.
Cost: A survey in 1992 indicated that the capital costs of a subsurface flow
constructed wetland system averaged around $US 200,000 per hectare ($US 87,000
per acre)8. The major cost (about 53% of the total) is in the expense of procuring
the rock or gravel media, taking it to the site, and placing it. For a survey of systems
using this system, the unit cost was $US 163/m3 ($US 0.62/gal) of wastewater
treated8.
Research opportunities: Constructing a wetland on campus would attract research
funds as well as provide a research facility for members of the surrounding
community to tour and examine. Research could be done by a variety of disciplines
11
into such things as the role of plant roots in maintaining desirable conditions,
removal mechanisms for metals and pathogens, optimum selection of media type
and size, optimum plant species to be used, possible desired end products if a plant
harvest is done, etc…
Constanza,
Limburg,
van der
capital.
6
R.R., d’Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B.,
K., Naeem, S., O’Neill, R.V., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R.G., Sutton, P., and
Belt, M. 1997. The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural
Nature 387:253-260.
United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2000. Guiding Principles for
Constructed Treatment Wetlands. Office of Wetlands, Oceans and
Watersheds. Washington, D.C.
7
8
Reed, S.C. and Brown, D. 1992. Constructed wetland design – the first generation.
Journal of the Water Environment Federation 64(6): 776-781.
Position on sustainable development 1 and action strategies
Purchasing managers at Quebec universities recognize that, through their mission,
their institutions contribute to the betterment of society—thus, they have a
responsibility to ensure their use of resources and their activities are in line with
sustainable development objectives.
Through group purchases and activities specific to their establishments, the
members of RGAUQ intend to favour products and solutions that will allow them to
maintain and improve the quality of the environment. Moreover, in order to
maintain leadership in sustainable development, the members of RGAUQ will support
the following actions whenever possible:
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

1
Favour the acquisition of products or the adoption of solutions that allow
maintenance or improvement of the environment.
Favour the purchase of goods and services that are designed and delivered in
an ecological manner.
Favour packaging that is compact, recyclable and picked up after delivery.
Seek products and solutions that have a high recycled materials content that
can be reused or recycled.
Favour products or solutions that comply with various environmental
certification programs, such as Energy Star®, EcoLogo, ISO 14000
certification, etc.
Seek out and favour products and solutions that are energy efficient or use
renewable energy sources.
Encourage the evaluation of bids as part of life cycle analyses specifying
environmental and social impacts.
Limit calls for tenders to products that protect the environment, or give
reasonable preference to such products.
The standard definition of sustainable development is taken from the Brundtland report.
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The members of RGAUQ also support the sustainable development awareness and
training role of higher education establishments as follows:
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Encourage purchasing teams and internal requestors to become informed
about the environmental impact of products and solutions.
Encourage purchasing teams to understand and promote new products,
solutions, techniques and policies in terms of sustainable development.
Set up an information source for strategic monitoring of sustainable
development issues.
Provide a general or specific account in its annual report of the action
strategies implemented for sustainable development in each grouppurchasing file.
Ensure its actions and decisions are in line with the Quebec government’s
sustainable development policy and the Quebec policy on waste management.
Make suppliers aware of the need to adhere to sustainable development
principles and support the Responsible Supplier Code of Conduct below:
RGAUQ Responsible Supplier Code of Conduct
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2
As a supplier, we support the following commitments:
Propose, on an ongoing basis, products and solutions that
help to maintain and improve the quality of the environment.
Obtain certification in the EcoLogo Environmental Choice
Program to provide “environmentally preferred” products and
solutions.
Implement a manufacturing approach to protect the
environment based on ISO14000 standards for plants located
here and in other countries.
Favour packaging that is compact, recyclable, made of
recyclable materials, and picked up after delivery.
Offer to pick up used goods and equipment that was sold in
the past and can be re-used.
Provide information about the potential recycling, re-use and
environmentally responsible disposal of goods sold.
Encourage the production of environmental and social
assessment reports.
Promote and comply with fundamental labour rights, such as
those recognized by the International Labour Organization
(ILO)2, particularly with respect to the following areas:
a) Work hours
b) Minimum wages
c) Minimum age
d) The worst forms of child labour
e) Weekly rest
f) Abolition of forced labour
g) Right of association, union freedom and collective
bargaining
h) Occupational illness
i) Prevention of major industrial accidents
j) Old age pensions
http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/
13
k)
l)
m)
n)
Disability insurance
Pay equity
Maternity protection
Promotion of employment and unemployment protection
Preliminary Report of the Energy/Water Workgroup of the Subcommittee of
the Environment at McGill 2007
The following are preliminary recommendations of the energy/water
workgroup. This document is only a working paper that should serve as a basis for
further discussion. The committee acknowledges the enormous amount of work that
both the Sustainable McGill Project and the Macdonald College Sustainability Project
did in their sustainability reports. Many of the ideas outlined in this document
originated from these reports.
Water
Canada has the second highest per capita water consumption in the world.
The Montreal Urban Community has an average per capita water consumption of
over 1000 L per day. On average, water use tends to be from 18 to 25% lower
when meters are used. And a leak of the amount of one drop per second amounts to
about 10,000 liters of water wasted per year. A water tax for all residents,
businesses and institutions in the Montreal area is inevitable. This would allow the
city to repair its leaking infrastructure. This is why it is important for McGill
University to take the necessary steps to reduce its water consumption. It would
also serve as a model for the rest of the community.
The committee has identified the following priorities that the University should
pursue in its pursuit of reduced water use:
(1) Most buildings at the downtown campus of McGill have water meters 2.
However, at the Macdonald Campus there are only two meters – one at Laird
Hall and one for the Centennial Center. There are no water meters in any of
14
the buildings at John Abbott College which shares the same water system
with Macdonald College 1. That means that only 2 of 82 buildings at
Macdonald Campus have water meters. Meters should be installed in the
remaining buildings at both campuses with priority being given to those with
high traffic and/or high usage. Meters should be tracked to enable to gauge
the success of any implemented conservation measures and to motivate
consumers to alter their habits.
(2) Sustainable McGill has identified fixing leaky pipes as the most effective
means to reduce water consumption at McGill. Any conservation measure will
be ineffective without this being done. For example, pressure testing is not
being done at Macdonald College (pipe leaks can be recognized by a water
level change in the water tower). Pressure testing must be implemented,
along with the speed with which leaky fixtures should be reported by students
and staff and subsequently repaired. Students and other users should be
made aware of the existence of the Facilities Call Centre at McGill for
reporting leaks in the system and the importance of doing it immediately.
Notices could be posted in all bathrooms and kitchens. It can take five
working days or less for a repair to be done 2. A response time of 24 hours or
less would be ideal in the future.
(3) Installing low-flow showerheads in all residences and gyms in the University
could save 7.5 L/min of clean potable water 1. With water-saving
showerheads throughout Laird Hall in 2003-04 it was estimated that 331,200
L of water per month would be saved 1. With less hot water being used, it
was estimated at Middlebury College in 2003 that a low-flow showerhead in
residence would save $US 26 per year, along with 0.5 metric tonnes of carbon
dioxide equivalents annually 3.
15
(4) Installing other high-efficiency fixtures would save thousands of liters
annually. Ultra low volume toilets use 6 L of water per flush compared to 1519 L for standard toilets 2. And standard faucets have an average flow rate of
13.5 L per minute compared to low flow ones with 2 L per minute. Automatic
(self-closing) faucets shut off when the user movers away, while urinals with
automatic flush censors use an amount of water dependent on frequency and
length of urinal use. All of these fixtures have been installed in 17% of
campus buildings in the University 2. The University should continue to install
such fixtures in the residences and other high traffic areas on campus.
(5) Lawn watering needs to be researched to determine how often and when it is
watered, along with whether it is done whether it is raining or not 1. Another
question that should be addressed is whether a more efficient drought
resistant landscape can be utilized. And another question that has to be
answered is whether the lawn is cared for to minimize its water requirements
(eg. frequency of cutting and cutting height).
(6) Students and staff can be educated about the importance of conserving water
through posters, theme days and ads in places like bathrooms. The
importance of reporting fixture leaks along with other information on water
could be added to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
course that all McGill students and staff must take to be able to work in a lab
at McGill.
(7) Pilot projects at McGill can be conducted on collecting storm water,
establishing a roof top garden and increasing storm water retention in the
soil.
Energy
16
Canada has the highest per capita energy consumption in the world. Global
carbon dioxide emissions are expected to increase in the next twenty years from 50
to 60% while fossil fuels will be depleted many times faster than they are made. Yet
there are many things that the average individual can do to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and save energy. For example, it is estimated that if every American
changed one of his incandescent light bulbs for a compact flourescent one, there
would be enough electricity saved to power all of Delaware and Rhode Island while
cutting 1.3 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
The committee has identified the following priorities that the University should
pursue in its pursuit of reduced energy use:
(1) Energy meters should be installed in all buildings at McGill and Macdonald
Campus. This would help measure the success of any implemented
conservation programs, along with making students and staff more aware
of the benefits of energy reduction schemes.
(2) Heating and cooling are controlled centrally at Macdonald Campus, for
example. Because certain labs and rooms have different amounts of heat
emitting equipment, this causes certain areas to be colder or warmer than
others within the same building. In the summer, for example, some use
space heaters around their working areas since it may be too cold. This
causes an unnecessary use of electricity. More thermostats and the ability
to individually adjust those that may be in place would allow more control
of temperature in individual rooms. Regulations regarding window opening
should be made clear to residents to ensure that more energy is not spent
to cool a building in the summer if certain windows are opened by
residents.
17
(3) The installation of motion detector sensor systems can be initiated in
certain target areas. These would close lights and reduce the heating in an
unoccupied room, thereby saving energy.
(4) With respect to purchasing decisions on appliances and office equipment,
the maintenance and energy efficiency features should be prioritized over
the purchasing price. Where possible, Energy Star equipment should be
chosen.
(5) VendingMiserTM should be purchased and installed on all vending machines
on campus. They cost about $165, cut electricity consumption in half and
have a pay-back of about 1-2 years 1. Savings obtained with Vending
Misers are shown in Table 1. Carbon dioxide emissions per year are cut in
half (from 2.26 tons to 1.12 tons) using a vending miser.
Table 1. Savings made with the installation of Vending Misers
Electricity Usage Of One Vending
machine w and w/o a Vending Miser
1
Without
Vending
Miser
With
Vending
Miser
3468 kWh
1716 kWh
2.26 tons
1.12 tons
--
$165
$381
$189
--
--
--
less than 1
year
Electricity Use Per Year
(this number was estimated, after a
energy consumption of a vending machine
was measured for one week in an
occupied dormitory)
CO2 emissions per year
@ 1.3 lbs/kWh
Cost of vending miser
Cost over 52 weeks
Cost of electricity @ $0.11/kWh
Cost of installation
Payback
Not including installation costs
18
(6) Compact flourescent light bulbs can use up to 70% less electricity and last
ten times longer than incandescent ones. All incandescent bulbs should be
replaced with compact flourescent ones where possible. Replacing one
regular light bulb with a compact flourescent light will save 45 kg of carbon
dioxide per year.
(7) Heating pipe insulation should be repaired where possible. At Macdonald
College, for example, there is a heat loss of 10-15% 1. This would cost
approximately $20,000 to fix and has a payback of about 10 years.
Eventually the boilers will have to be replaced and could be done with
Energy Star certified ones.
(8) Computers at McGill could be put on computer energy management
software available from the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) that
would put them in a deep sleep mode, permitting the saving of an
enormous amount of energy if all computers at McGill are put on this
system. This system is being used at companies like General Electric and
Universities such as Harvard. Computer users at McGill would also be
encouraged to download this software. It was reported that if only one
third of the 2350 undergraduare students at Middlebury College reduced
their computer usage from 15 to 5 hours by using the computer energy
saving software provided by the EPA, carbon dioxide emissions would
decrease by 29 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalents 3. The EPA
estimated that providing all the computers in the United States with their
energy saving software (reducing energy use by 60-70%) would save
enough electricity annually to power Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,
cut electric bills by $US 2 billion, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by
the equivalent of 5 million cars 3.
19
(9) Students and staff can be educated about the importance of conserving
energy through posters, stickers in appropriate places like light switches,
and theme days. The importance of reporting rooms that are too hot or
cold, closing the sash on a fume hood (this can save up to two thirds of the
annual cost of these 1), closing lights and computers when not in use,
switching off printers and buying energy efficient equipment could be added
to the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System course that all
McGill students and staff must take to be able to work in a lab at McGill.
(10)
Research and course work on renewable energy projects such as solar,
wind or biomass energy should be encouraged.
(11)
An energy audit could be done by Hydro Quebec on one building at
McGill. There is a cost associated with such an energy analysis. Certain
buildings at McGill could fall under the Building Initiatives Program. This
would allow optimization projects such as repairing pipe insulation to be
partially funded by Hydro Quebec.
(12)
Substantial greenhouse gas reductions (along with associated costs of
energy) could be achieved by simply turning down the thermostat in
campus buildings. Students, staff and faculty would be made aware of the
decreasing building temperature and positive environmental consequences
two weeks before. Space heaters might be provived to people in target
buildings. At Middlebury College, for example, it was reported that lowering
the campus thermostats to 20 oC would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by
400-500 tonnes annually 3. At the University of Buffalo the temperature is
reduced to 12.78 oC during off-hours, weekends and holidays 3.
(13)
Windows in certain buildings that are old and inefficient should be
replaced while others should have caulking applied to them. There would
be less demand for heating and cooling by air-conditioners. At Middlebury
20
College it was reported that an old wooden framed, single paned window
loses approximately 1.2 BTU/hour 3. Double paned, argon insulated, vinyl
framed windows will reduce this loss to 0.34 BTU/hour. The carbon dioxide
emissions associated with newer models would be reduced by 75%.
References
1
Ecosystem Sustainability Assessment Macdonald Campus. Macdonald College
Sustainability Project. October, 2006.
2
The Sustainable McGill Project. Ecosystem Sustainability Assessment of McGill
University – Trees, Toilets, and Travel. February, 2006.
3
Carbon Neutrality at Middlebury College: A Compilation of Potential Objectives and
Strategies to Minimize Campus Climate Impact. Hanley et al. June, 2003.
Sub-Committee on Environment (SCE)
Working Group: Waste Management (Consumption/Procurement)
Members:
Trevor Fraser – SSMU Environment Commissionner
Normand Laguë – Purchasing Services
Saima Sidik – Greening McGill
Wayne Wood – EHS (Vice-Chair)
Progress Report as of January 24, 2007
1.0 Mandate of the Working Group
Our mandate was to recommend ways to reduce McGill’s waste by looking at the
beginning of the procurement cycle rather than at the end (which will be looked
at by the Working Group on Recycling and Composting).
We have developed a list of potential actions that will help reduce our
consumption, conserve natural resources, reduce the volume of waste generated
by our institution, and provide guidance to adopt sustainable responsible
purchasing practices.
We acknowledge that the University has already taken positive steps toward
these goals but the challenge remains with communicating, implementing, and
monitoring these practices.
21
We have grouped our recommendations in three parts:
- Actions to adopt sustainable responsible purchasing practices;
- Actions to reduce our consumption;
- Actions to communicate existing policies, tools and guidelines.
2.0 Adopt Sustainable Purchasing Practices
2.1 Adopt a Purchasing Policy
Considering that the University does not have a formal Purchasing Policy, it is
rather difficult to generate changes in the procurement practices.
 Proposed Action: Purchasing Services has drafted a Purchasing Policy that is
being reviewed by higher management.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
2.2 Develop a Sustainable Responsible Purchasing Practices
Purchasing Services has drafted a Socially Responsible Purchasing Practices that
is to be included in the Purchasing Policy.
 Proposed Action: The document is attached for SCE review. It is noted that since
the document is already at the review stage with higher management, it might
be too late to receive further comments.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
2.3 Contract Catering Services with Sustainable Responsible Practices
Currently various catering services are used by the McGill community, including
McGill’s internal service providers and external vendors. McGill’s Catering
Services should set a high standard for sustainable catering. Having a limited
number of catering service providers could facilitate the adoption of sustainable
practices (for example using reusable dishes, glass wears, cutlery, etc…).
 Proposed Action: SCE to approach AVP Services Jim Nicell.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
3.0 Reduce our Consumption
3.1 Water Consumption Analysis
The proliferation of bottled water has not only a detrimental impact on the
world’s water resources but the empty bottled have also contributed greatly to
the increase in waste. An ENVR 401 project comparing the different brands of
bottled water to McGill’s tap water could be of interest.
 Proposed Action: At the next SCE meeting, consult with SCE members how we
can approach the related faculties.
 Estimated Budget: TBD
3.2 Install New Toilet Paper Dispenser
Many of our current bathrooms are still equipped with toilet paper dispensers that
do not prevent the abuse of paper consumption.
 Proposed Action: Contact Marc Dozois, Director Building Services and Grounds to
evaluate feasibility
 Estimated Budget: TBD
3.3 Install New Hand Paper Dispenser or Xcelerator Hand Dryer
Many of our current bathrooms are still equipped with either old hand paper
dispensers and /or old hand dryer.
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

Proposed Action: Contact Marc Dozois, Director Building Services and Grounds to
evaluate feasibility
Estimated Budget for SCE: TBD
4.0 Communications
4.1 Promote the Reuse of Used Assets
Promote the use of MOARDS (McGill Online Asset Redeployment and Disposal
System) that was created to allow redistribution of used assets within the McGill
community. MOARDS operates like eBay.
 Proposed Action: Normand Laguë to contact Internal Mail Services to see if they
could distribute the post-card flyer already printed.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
4.2 Promote the Returned of Used Toner Cartridges and the Use of Remanufactured
Toner Cartridges
Inform the McGill faculty and staff members that they can return their used toner
cartridges when ordering remanufactured toner cartridges with the McGill
contracted vendor.
 Proposed Action: Purchasing Services will include an article on this topic in their
next week Newsletter coming out this spring.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
4.3 Promote the Purchase of Eco-Logo and 100% PC papers
Following the practice of Greening McGill, we will send departments who are still
ordering non-recycled paper a package containing 1 stack of Eco-Logo paper and
I stack of 100%PC paper with ordering and pricing information and a letter from
the chair of the SCE.
 Proposed Action: With the assistance of Purchasing Services, we estimated that
close to 1000 units should be considered as potential candidate for this
campaign. Each package is estimated to cost $10.00.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: $10,000.00
4.4 Promote the Paper Use Policy to Academics and Staff
Students have reported that many Academics still insist on having single-sided
assignments. At the beginning of each fall and winter session, an email could be
sent to all academics to reinstate the Paper Use Policy. Since this seems to occur
across whole departments, McGill staff member should also be informed of the
Policy. Academics should also be encouraged to post syllabi on WebCT.
 Proposed Action: SCE to contact Provost Office.
 Estimated Budget for SCE: Zero
SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT EVALUATION WORKING GROUP
McGill Subcommittee on Environment
Proposed sustainability projects will need to conform to the followinggeneral
requirements
(1) Project supports, or does not contravene, University Mission and policies.
(2) Project is well defined regarding the goals, resources required, timeframe,
and has built-in project evaluation criteria.
University Mission
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The Mission of McGill University is the advancement of learning through teaching,
scholarship and service to society: by offering to outstanding undergraduate and
graduate students the best education available; by carrying out scholarly activities
judged to be excellent when measured against the highest international standards;
and by providing service to society in those ways for which we are well-suited by
virtue of our academic strengths.
The projects will be evaluated based on the following Criteria
(1) Environmental benefits
(2) Social benefits
(3) Economic benefits
Environmental Benefits
Prerequisites:
1. Conforms to University Environmental Policy.
2. Conforms to the University Master Plan.
Projects will also be evaluated regarding:
(iv) whether they are completely beneficial to the environment, or have tradeoffs in different environmental categories (e.g. noise, water, energy, waste,
etc),
(v) the magnitude of the environmental benefits in each category (e.g. positive,
negative, or neutral),
(vi) the projected reduction in the University’s ecological footprint.
Social Benefits
Prerequisites:
3. Conforms to University statements on diversity, student rights, fight against
harassment and discrimination
4. Conforms to the University Master Plan.
5. Conforms to the McGill Code of Ethics.
Projects will be evaluated regarding:
(v) the level of project visibility (e.g. to the community, the city, etc),
(vi) the level of participation within the University community (e.g. how many
people will participate? be affected by? benefit from?)
(vii) whether the project benefits the physical or mental health of its
participants, and of the university community in general
(viii) whether the project improves relations with University partners, neighbours,
social groups, community groups, other universities, and the city of
Montreal.
Economic Benefits
Prerequisites:
6. Is within the means of the University.
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7. Conforms to the University Master Plan.
Projects will be evaluated regarding:
(v) cost and resources required (e.g. people, space, etc), on a life-cycle basis
(vi) whether the project has the potential to be self-sustaining (e.g. does it
require volunteers, training, or special knowledge or skills?),
(vii) whether the project will result in long-term financial savings or is revenuegenerating,
(viii) whether the project will improve University operations.
Other Considerations/Future Tasks:
- How to compare quantitative versus qualitative criteria?
- How to ensure that the assessment is not biased towards one set of criteria. Or if it
is biased, that the bias is appropriate.
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The SCE created eight workgroups composed of