Sustainability

Conestoga continues its efforts in sustainability by taking the necessary steps to reduce waste and energy consumption. Our developed structures and practices help our buildings run more effectively and efficiently.

Learn more about our achievements in sustainability by selecting an area of focus below:

Infrastructure

LEED accredited building 

Built in 2011, Conestoga’s Cambridge campus was designed and constructed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver accreditation, an internationally recognized certification. The 260,000 square foot facility has a passive energy design to promote sustainable energy management. 

Interior and exterior windows provide natural light which reduces energy consumption and has a positive effect on personal health and academic performance. The building exceeds the regulated accessibility standards to better meet the needs of students, staff and visitors. 

Waterloo campus expansion 

This expansion is designed to achieve 35 per cent better efficiency than the OSB SB-10 2017. The OSB SB-10 (Ontario Building code version 2.0) refers to energy efficient requirements; specifically a list of regulations that Ontario builders must follow to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and make improvements on energy conservation in buildings.

Some features of the new expansion include:

  • solar photovoltaic cells,
  • chilled water storage, 
  • LED lighting, and
  • low flow water fixtures. 
Landscape architecture

The Cambridge campus has an innovative system that improves the quality of water discharge. The campus discharges water to Blair Creek, one of the last cold-water fisheries in Kitchener. We have constructed a process comprised of bio-swales, infiltration galleries, detention ponds, oil-grit separators, and a cooling trench to ensure there is no impact on the receiving system.

These measures allowed for enhancement of ground water quality while preserving the natural floodplain hydrologic functions. This installation is part of a five-year monitoring program to assess performance and provide documentation for future water projects by others. 

Biodiversity

The college's main campus (Doon) is located on the southern side of Kitchener, Ontario. This geological and climatic region has wet-climate soils and deciduous forests, which is home to various birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other species. The Grand River flows north and south of the campus meandering through parks and creeks monitored by the Grand River Conservation Authority. At the back of the complex is a large pond in a park-like setting surrounded with deciduous trees and draught-tolerant perennial gardens that require no watering system.

The Walter Bean Grand River Trail weaves through the south area of the campus, providing opportunities for education and recreation activities for students, community members and visitors. The protection and improvement of these green spaces is integral to providing a healthy learning environment. 

Energy management

Our energy management strategy includes demand response ventilation, load shedding, and installation of digital control, rooftops and air compressors. This reduces our energy consumption, operation and maintenance costs, as well as optimizes life-cycle economic performance. 

We also use a variety of energy efficient fixtures and building systems in our renovation and new construction projects as part of our priority to reduce energy consumption.

Energy projects

Roofing

All roofing upgrades since 2015 have been completed with calcite materials. Calcite roofs, also known as white roofs are light in color and reflect more solar energy back into the atmosphere. 

Demand Control Ventilation (DCV)

We have retrofitted our pneumatic Variable Air Volume (VAV) boxes with Digital Data Control (DDC). By converting the VAV boxes to DDC and installing the room thermostats with motion sensors, we can reduce the heating/cooling when the room is unoccupied. The amount of fresh air ventilation in many buildings is maintained at a constant level for peak occupancy, regardless of the actual number of people. During lower occupancy periods, over-ventilation results in wasted electricity and money. Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) ensures the optimum amount of fresh air based on occupancy level, reducing operating costs and increasing comfort. 

LED lighting

All new construction or renovations include LED lighting with motion and daylight harvesting sensors to help conserve energy.

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Roof Top Unit (RTU)

New HVAC RTU’s are more efficient. All new RTU’s installed are ultra-efficient. The economizers connected to the HVAC RTU are controlled when outside temperature is below 20⁰C. The economizer controller will shut off the compressor and bring cool air from outside if the outside temperature is below 18⁰C. 

Water-softeners upgrade

New water softeners installed reclaim brine water which reduces water consumption to regenerate and the amount of salt water going down the drain. 

Demand Response

Demand Response reduces electricity voluntarily in times when the electric grid is facing extreme conditions. Conestoga College became a participant in the Demand Response program for the Doon campus in 2017. We have committed to use less energy during critical times to lower the potential for brownouts and provides an attractive alternative to constructing new power plants. 

Utility sub-metering

Conestoga College has installed electrical sub-metering at the Doon campus. This allows for more detailed information gathering. 

Solar panels

Conestoga is installing solar panels on the roof of the new Waterloo campus; the capacity will be 150 kW.

Recycling

Conestoga is committed to taking action on responsible management of waste. Reducing, reusing and recycling brings us closer to reaching our sustainability goals to reduce our negative impacts on our built and natural environment. As the college continues to grow, so does its waste footprint. But with diligent effort by all we can reduce our individual contribution.

Conestoga has a legislated goal to achieve and maintain at least a 60 per cent waste diversion rate.

We aim to achieve this goal through:

  • advancements and innovation on our recycling and diversion programs,
  • improving our waste bin monitoring,
  • ongoing education, promotion and community outreach,
  • increases in capital towards the purchases of waste management technologies and improved diversion programs, and 
  • ongoing research and development into waste reduction best practices. 
Waste management

Waste audits 

Conestoga is legislatively required to conduct a waste audit and waste reduction work plan each year. This report focuses primarily on reducing, reusing and recycling. This audit is conducted by collecting all required waste haulage records as well as performing a waste audit sort at Doon campus and at four of its satellite campuses: Cambridge, Waterloo, Guelph and Ingersoll.

Waste Reduction Work Plans 

Conestoga’s waste audit must include a waste reduction work plan. This plan lists recommendations to decrease waste consumption and increase waste diversion through recycling, reusing and composting.

The work plan focuses on three key areas: 

  1. improving waste infrastructure,
  2. advancements in recycling and composting, and
  3. education and promotion.

Waste diversion

The college is continually improving its waste diversion rate by participating in additional programs to prevent certain items and materials from being sent to landfill. The 2016 waste diversion rate was 73 per cent. This percentage represents the amount of materials that are diverted from the landfill stream each year.

Waste management reports

Conestoga’s waste audits and waste reduction work plans are available upon request. Reports are available from 2009 to present. Please email  Facilities Management  for a full copy of the report.

Energy management & greenhouse gas emissions reports

Under law, Conestoga is required to provide energy consumption reports. These reports include a summary of the annual energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.