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York celebrates Earth Day in style as one of Canada’s greenest employers
published May 7, 2014

green2014Green is the new red at York! For the second year in a row, the University has been named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers. The achievement was announced on April 22 as York celebrated Earth Day at a special ceremony held in the Keele campus’ Life Sciences Building.

“I’m delighted to announce that we have just been named one of Canada’s Greenest employers once again, thanks to York’s commitment to sustainability research, education and action,” said President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “This consistent recognition of our global leadership in sustainability reflects the strong commitment of our students, staff and faculty to be green innovators.”

York takes sustainability seriously

The University was named alongside 54 other organizations in the Canada’s Greenest Employers competition, which is organized annually by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. Now in its eighth year, employers who make the “green” list have developed exceptional, earth-friendly initiatives and are actively attracting people to their organizations through their environmental leadership.

Mamdouh Shoukri announces York University’s designation as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers during Earth Day celebrations on April 22

Mamdouh Shoukri announces York University’s designation as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers during Earth Day celebrations on April 22

York was recognized for a number of sustainability projects, including the creation of the President’s Sustainability Council, the Green Office and Sustainability Ambassador Programs and the “Res Race to Zero” competition, where student residences compete in an attempt to reduce energy consumption (find out more about why York was chosen as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers).

York’s notable achievements in sustainability include:

  • A more than 25 per cent reduction in energy use since 2007,
  • A 66 per cent waste diversion rate,
  • Some 80 per cent of the University community commutes to campus by alternative transportation, including public transit, carpooling, on foot or by bicycle, and
  • A commitment to phase out the sale of bottled water on campus by September 2015.

The external recognition, added Shoukri, reinforces the University’s determination to continue to reduce its ecological footprint. “By succeeding in our efforts to be a sustainability leader, not only are we protecting the natural environment for future generations, but we’re also saving the University money through more efficient use of resources—and that is money we can put back into academic programming.”

York’s Life Sciences Building – LEED certified!

Richard Francki (left) with Don Hastie during the reveal of the Life Sciences Building LEED Silver Certification plaque

Richard Francki (left) with Don Hastie during the reveal of the Life Sciences Building LEED Silver Certification plaque

The good news continued with the announcement that the Life Sciences Building had received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Designation. LEED is a rigorous set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings.

Don Hastie, interim dean, Faculty of Science, thanked the building’s faculty for their ongoing commitment to sustainability, as well as the building’s planning committee and construction teams, all of whom worked within a strict and precise series of LEED guidelines to achieve the prestigious silver designation.

Hastie’s comments were augmented by Richard Francki, assistant vice-president, Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO), who outlined the building’s technical innovations. These include a white roof to reduce the heat island effect, low emission finishes, bicycle parking racks, showers and change rooms for cyclists, and a bubble deck floor that reduced the need for huge amounts of concrete.

Recognizing our own green leaders

Above: The recipients of the inaugural President’s Sustainability Awards with York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

Above: The recipients of the inaugural President’s Sustainability Awards with York President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri.

Recipients of the inaugural President’s Sustainability Leadership Awards were also recognized as part of the Earth Day event. The 2014 recipients are: Brad Cochrane, director, Energy Management, Campus Services & Business Operations (CSBO); Tim Haagsma, manager, Grounds, CSBO; Helen Psathas, senior manager, Environmental Design & Sustainability; the Osgoode Sustainability Committee; and the Planning & Renovations Unit, CSBO.

“These awards honour members of the York community who have demonstrated outstanding and ongoing commitment to making our University one of the greenest universities in Canada, and indeed the world,” said Shoukri. “We are incredibly proud of their achievements.”

For more information on York’s commitment to sustainability and the environment, visit the Sustainability @ York website.