Residence Renewal Campaign

Windows To The Future

Grebel’s residence is one of the most recognizable buildings on the University of Waterloo campus, thanks to its distinctive saw-toothed roofline and iconic windows. Those enormous windows flood residence rooms with natural light, and have offered our students wonderful views of the world for sixty years.  

Anyone who has lived at Grebel knows that our windows are not only famous–they’re infamous. These windows cause ‘solar gain’ that drastically amplifies summer heat waves. And in winter, cold air flowing through uninsulated frames and double-paned glass can cause the curtains to freeze to the condensation. 

The windows and frames are original from 1963, and no longer meet expectations for comfort or energy efficiency. A recent third-party review of Grebel’s buildings recommended replacing residence windows as a high priority.  

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A Plan For Our Students

New windows are the largest item in a package of improvements that we propose for Grebel’s residence. We will also install heat pumps to provide air conditioning and supplementary heating, and upgrade our residence washrooms–which have not been substantially renovated since 1963.

Taken together, these projects advance the following goals at Grebel:

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Modern triple-pane windows, combined with air conditioning and improved climate controls will greatly improve student comfort during the hottest and coldest times of the year. New single-use washrooms will meet current expectations for privacy and comfort, and will also enable more flexibility in operating the residence.

Our engineers expect that window replacement alone will reduce space heating energy consumption by up to 44 percent every year. Using heat pumps to supplement existing natural gas boilers will further drive down our greenhouse gas emissions. Grebel’s goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 35% by the year 2030.

The lack of air conditioning in our residence impacts our occupancy levels from May through August. In addition, the existing shared washrooms are a barrier for conference groups and other short-term guests. We expect to improve summer occupancy and revenues by making these improvements. 

Good building managers anticipate issues and make regular investments to resolve them before serious problems arise. Grebel has worked to renew its facilities over the past several years, and the residence is the next space we need to address. Making these improvements now will ensure that future generations can experience the transformative impact of life as students at Grebel.

What We Need To Raise

We estimate at least $3,500,000 needs to be raised to complete all of the projects.

Current conditions make it difficult to estimate construction costs, and we are still developing the scope of the project.

This $3,500,000 must be raised from private donors. Grebel does not receive capital funding from governments. Moreover, the entire Ontario university sector, including Grebel, is currently challenged by a multi-year freeze on operating revenues. This means that there is no operating surplus from which capital projects could be financed.

At our 60th anniversary Gala on October 11 we announced that we have raised $1.77M in the “quiet phase” of a capital campaign. Having reached the half-way mark our campaign advisory committee will coordinate a public campaign in the spring of 2024.  We hope to have most of the gifts pledged before the campaign is publicly launched.  

Would you consider making a lead gift to this critical campaign?  

Marcus Shantz, President 
Fred W. Martin, Director of Advancement 

Campaign Advisory members: 

Anita Tiessen (1981 BA - Board)
David (2001 BA) and Leanne Lobe (2001 BES)
Kirk Schmidt (2004 BMath)
Caleb Gingrich Regehr (2012 BASC)
Jim Tiessen (1987 BASC - Board)
Donny Cheung (2001 BMath - Board)

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maya morton





Maya Morton Ninomiya
4th Year Health Studies

“This is a critical time at which we get to decide how much we want to reduce the harm that is currently befalling our planet. As a student, I am surrounded by people who either are, or who have the ability to influence the next generation. Educating on climate change and instilling passion in students is an extremely potent and necessary opportunity that must be taken advantage of.” 






Paul Penner
Director of Operation
Green Team Chair

“Our students expect Grebel to be a responsible leader in promoting environmental sustainability. We need to show that we’re taking responsibility by taking real steps to reduce our carbon footprint.”