UBC redefines urban sustainability with aggressive new GHG reduction targets
I received an email yesterday from University of BC President Stephen Toope that caught my eye. UBC is already one of the most sustainable post-secondary institutions in the world, however, Toope announced at the Globe 2010 conference being held in Vancouver yesterday that it wants to go even greener.
Let me first declare that I work at UBC (not for UBC) and as result I am aware of the many efforts being undertaken to go green on campus. In fact, the building I work in (which is leased from UBC), is one of the most enviro-friendly on campus. Whether it's the no-flush urinals or the effective use of natural sunlight, you can't escape the building's many green features. From the outside it looks like a normal office complex, but inside you can sure tell it's a lot gentler on the environment.
According to UBC, they have already met international targets established by the Kyoto Protocol for their core academic buildings, which required a six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012. The university will now aim to:
- reduce GHGs an additional 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2015
- reduce GHGs to 67 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020
- eliminate 100 per cent of GHGs by 2050
In his address to the Globe 2010 delegates, Toope stated:
We are undertaking this initiative because, as a leading research university, we believe it’s important to set ambitious standards to address the realities of climate change and show it can be done. UBC has the expertise and passion to make its commitment to sustainability a continuing reality through the integration of teaching, learning, research and operations and through innovative technologies and partnerships.
Even the Premier weighed in an applauded the university for its contribution to the overall Provincial goal of being one of the most green jurisdictions on the planet:
British Columbia has set the ambitious goal of becoming one of the greenest and cleanest economies in the world, creating new jobs and wealth for all British Columbians in a new and innovative economy. By setting these targets and pursuing new and exciting projects, UBC is playing an important role in meeting that goal.
I've written before about my friend David Helliwell who owns Pulse Energy, and I'd like to acknowledge that he is working with UBC to help them accomplish their targets. This is a big coup for him and his BC based company that is on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
I'm thrilled that UBC has announced even more aggressive targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions moving forward. It's this kind of leadership that I hope will be replicated at every campus around the world. If you want to learn more about what UBC is doing, check out this video.