This year, Grebel officially joined Sustainable Waterloo Region’s Regional Sustainability Initiative. As a member, Grebel will share and learn best practices with other like-minded organizations. Members work to understand the impacts of their operations on environmental sustainability and aim to build a culture of sustainability among employees and engage employees as sustainability advocates while also adapting policy and reducing impact through realistic sustainability targets.
“The issues facing our community and society are all intermingled and Conrad Grebel joining the Sustainable Waterloo Region network is evidence of that,” said Tova Davidson, Executive Director of Sustainable Waterloo Region. “Addressing climate change and other environmental issues all works in partnership with the creation of a better, more just world. This is a great addition to the network and we are so excited to be working with them.”
Motivated by student concerns, Grebel commissioned WalterFedy to prepare an Energy and Water Audit. The lead engineer on the team was recent Grebel alumnus Max Chute (BASC 2021), who brought expertise and familiarity to the job. The final report identifies many opportunities to reduce carbon emissions through equipment upgrades and facility improvements, complete with a $2.5 million cost estimate. This report will be the first major agenda item for Grebel’s new Green Team to begin its work.
This new team includes students, staff and faculty and will meet regularly with Sustainable Waterloo Region advisors to form a plan for reducing Grebel’s carbon footprint. Further concerns the group will address include larger campus culture questions like: Why is climate change an important issue? Should we change what we eat? How much should we travel? Should we use air conditioning?
“It is so inspiring to see the passion our students have to fight climate change as we work together as a college community to make our campus more carbon neutral,” said Grebel’s Director of Operations Paul Penner. “Our students, administration, board, and alumni are committed to implementing the suggestions that come from our newly-formed Green Team with support from Sustainable Waterloo Region.”
TIMELINE OF PAST ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION
Recycling was introduced by students before the Blue Box recycling program even came to UWaterloo.
Student Council created the position of Environment Representative on the Larger Leadership Team.
Students initiated the installation of three solar panels on Grebel’s roof to pre-heat hot water.
Grebel was Waterloo’s first participant in a highly successful pilot project that tested institutional-level organic waste collection.
Grebel installed UWaterloo campus’s first electric vehicle charging station in the College parking lot.
A team of five Grebel students applied for and were awarded grants to add a green roof to the College’s kitchen expansion.
Students requested that Grebel join Sustainable Waterloo Region as a method of accountability and as a resource. Soon after, Grebel’s Green Team was formed.