April 5, 2005

Suzuki praises McMaster for its ‘green’ campus

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David Suzuki signs a book for Sunci Avlijas, a second-year honours biology student at McMaster. Several people lined up to have their books signed following Suzuki's lecture. Photo credit: Chantall Van Raay

Hamilton, ON - Environmentalist/ broadcaster David Suzuki helped McMaster University celebrate the midway point of a comprehensive campus initiative to make the University’s buildings and grounds more environmentally healthy and energy efficient. McMaster is the only university in Ontario to embark on such a large-scale rehabilitation project.

At his lecture on Rediscovering Our Place in the World, attended by more than 500 people, Suzuki had praise for McMaster’s initiative.

“McMaster University is showing leadership by doing good for the earth while protecting the economic bottom line. I hope other universities will follow suit,” said Suzuki.

“It is the efforts of people like David Suzuki who have brought environmental stewardship to the fore,” said Peter George, McMaster University president. “Through our partnership with Ameresco, we’ve developed innovative solutions to issues involving some of our older buildings. It’s gratifying to see such bright results for those efforts. We’re proud to be a trailblazer for other institutions.”

McMaster’s Campus Renewal Partnership, developed in concert with energy partner Ameresco Canada, is expected to lower energy costs and consumption on campus by 23 per cent. To date, the program has seen energy savings of $776,000, and the improvements have enabled the campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 per cent (beyond the Kyoto Protocol’s requirement of 20 per cent). Once the program is completed, energy savings are expected to be $1.5 million a year.

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David Suzuki poses with members of the McMaster Solar Car Project. From left to right, Avery Yuen, Jonathan Lannan, David Suzuki, Pat Livingstone, Karleen Dudeck, Misha Lelli, Yanhan An. For information on the McMaster Solar Car Project please visit www.solarcar.mcmaster.ca.

The Campus Renewal Partnership is the largest undertaking of its kind in Canada, based on a capital investment cost per square foot. The renewal work encompasses 5-million square feet on campus, with a total cost of $28-million.

“It is all about partnering, and great leadership that produces results,” says Tom Klajnerman, project manager, Ameresco. “This event with David Suzuki, a partnership amongst the Faculty of Engineering, the department of Physical Plant and Ameresco, is a great example.”

As founder of the Campus Renewal Partnership™, Ameresco Canada works closely with universities and colleges to carefully structure the best possible utility solution aimed at funding building renewal. The energy savings from these measures can be re-directed to meet campus renewal needs and improve operational processes. The overall goal is to create “better campuses” – improving the learning and working environments for students, faculty and staff while reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Ameresco has been the premier energy services company serving the education sector for more than 30 years, completing more than 150 projects creating more than $450 million in energy and operating cost savings in more than 3,000 buildings across Canada. McMaster University is Ameresco’s first university client in Canada.

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 23,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.